Mac and PC users are in the middle of a browser revolution with more browser choices than ever. Even better, they’re free, fast, and loaded with features.
Maybe we’re on the edge of an email app revolution. It’s not just Mail for Mac users these days. There’s a whole bunch of new and different email apps for the Mac. Like the browsers, they’re fast, loaded with features, and sometimes free.
That Blasted Name From The Past
My very first Mac email app was Eudora, circa sometime in 1995. For Mac users struggling back in the day to get online and get email, Eudora was the app that worked.
Through the years since then, email has become ubiquitous but email app choices have dwindled.
Even the venerable Eudora suffered through clumsy interface redesigns and bounced between open and free and commercial and now free again, thanks to Mozilla’s Thunderbird.
The Penelope Project came along with the objective of creating a new and open source Eudora (OSE – the open source edition) that would try to mimic Eudora’s functionality and memory. Instead of version 8.0, it becomes Eudora OSE 1.0.
Almost Ready For Prime Time
If you like plenty of features and you’re pining for the good old days, it’s likely you’ll have mixed emotions about using Eudora OSE. Features abound but so does the clunky Mozilla approach to a Mac user interface.
Step One asks you to Import Settings and Mail Folders. From Netscape, Mozilla, or SeaMonkey. Hello? Bad start already. Who uses Netscape?
Step Two is a pop up for Mail Account Setup. Easy enough. It’d be nicer to have Eudora import all that from, say, Mail. However, the pop up is nice and sets up SMTP and IMAP mail (with an option for a manual setup). Now I’m ready to go.
Eudora isn’t. Instead of a multi-paned user interface like Mail, Eudora OSE for Mac starts life by asking to become the default app for email, newsgroups, feeds. Uh uh. I’ll wait to see how well you do, Miss Eudora.
After that, Eudora looks like a modernized version of the Eudora I remember. Gawdy, over-sized Fisher Price icons (needs to default to icon plus text view). Preferences are reminiscent of Mozilla’s Thunderbird. Alerts can be changed, as can fonts, text color, and background color. Messages can be set up in text or HTML. Forwarded messages can be set up for inline or as an attachment.
A spell checker and address autocompletion are built-in, as are junk mail filters, phishing filters, and access to anti-virus apps to quarantine infected email messages. The user interface can be set up to two panes or three panes.
As with Mozilla Thunderbird, multiple accounts can be set up, but not by using Preferences.
Eudora has a separate account setup menu which is far more complex and cumbersome than Apple’s intuitive, user-friendly Mail, but offers more options for setup.
Other useful and different menu settings include Google, the Dictionary, a Thesaurus, Translator, and Wikipedia, which perform browser-based actions which are built into Apple’s Mail (love the right-click). Eudora has import capability, too and can pull in Address Book, Mail, as well as Settings and Filters from other Mac apps by using a built-in Wizard which walks you through the import steps. The options include Apple’s Mail, Netscape Communicator, and previous versions of Eudora, but largely ignore other settings.
Exercise some caution. Eudora’s import feature doesn’t give you options to import specific Mail accounts. It tried to import everything in Mail without any warning. Messy. But fast, even with the two dozen email accounts I maintain in Mail.
Then I found out why. Eudora said it was importing and converting but it placed all the Mail email in a separate Apple Mail Import folder. You’re left to set up the individual email accounts on your own. Import just doesn’t mean what it used to mean. What a mess. Mess? Yes, pop up window panes are all over the place. In the age of 27-inch Mac displays, it doesn’t take long to lose track of Eudora’s window spawn.
At the end of the day all I was left with was a fading memory of the easy-to-use Eudora experience of the late 20th century and another messy, clumsy, Mozilla-like email app that looks usable, has plenty of features, but doesn’t seem to understand that everyone is already using an email app, probably with multiple accounts, so importing accounts, folders, messages and attachments from a competitor needs to be easy and simple and work without surprises.
Eudora OSE 1.0 is just about out of beta, now in release candidate stage, but other than icons and a few settings, it still looks and feels like Mozilla’s Thunderbird. Memories are free, and so is Eudora OSE. For now, I prefer the memories.