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Mozilla Releases Thunderbird 2

A new find-as-you-type feature in the free e-mail client winnows displayed messages on the fly, making searches faster.

Mozilla Corp. today released Thunderbird 2, its free, open source e-mail client for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems in 30 languages.

The new release boasts improved security and a variety of new features. Chief among them is message tagging, the ability to label and categorize e-mail for easier searching and organization. In addition to default tags, users can create their own.

Thunderbird 2 also features message history navigation, similar in concept to the browser history feature in Firefox.

A new find-as-you-type feature winnows displayed messages on the fly, making searches faster. Thunderbird 2 also lets users save searches as folders. Re-executing that search becomes a matter of clicking on the saved search folder.

Thunderbird 2 can be easily extended with a variety of free add-ons that are available from, such as AdBlock Plus and the Lightning calendar.

Thunderbird's main shortcoming at the moment is its lack of a stable Outlook-compatible calendar, a key to enterprise adoption. Mozilla is working on a calendar that works both without Thunderbird (Sunbird) and with it (Lightning), but it's not quite ready yet.

Nonetheless, Thunderbird is being used by a variety of organizations. Though Mozilla Corp. doesn't track downloads, making it harder to identify corporate users, a spokesperson for the organization pointed to a 2006 article which says some 45,000 French police planned to start using Thunderbird that year.

And in an e-mail, Scott MacGregor, lead engineer for Thunderbird, said, "A U.S.-based Fortune 100 company with over 40,000 users has been using Thunderbird for several years."

Thunderbird includes security features such as S/MIME, digital signing, message encryption, and support for certificates and security hardware. It also doesn't allow script execution by default.

Thunderbird supports POP and IMAP mail servers. Communication protocols like WebDAV or HTTPMail require a plug-in.

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