12 January 2006

Thunderbird, Firefox and OpenOffice.org Are Go

Version 1.5 of the open source email client Thunderbird is now available for download. This is a major release of an important program, even if it tends to be overshadowed by its bigger sibling, Firefox.

Thunderbird matters because it forms part of the key trio of browser, email and office suite that together satisfy the vast bulk of general users' computing needs. Now that Firefox is widely accepted as the best browser around, and with OpenOffice.org 2.0 increasingly seen as on a par with Microsoft Office, the only missing piece of the (small) jigsaw puzzle is email.

Like the other two, Thunderbird is available for Windows, Macintosh and GNU/Linux. This platform-independence means that users can start using the three programs on Windows or Macintosh, say, and then be discreetly slid across to running them on GNU/Linux when they are ready. They probably won't even notice.

I've been running Thunderbird for some time now, and I find it powerful yet easy to use. It's got intelligent spam-filtering built in, and takes a safe approach to displaying dodgy images and attachments. It works with POP3, IMAP, Gmail and other email services, so there's no excuse not to switch - now.

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