Yesterday, an update for Thunderbird 2 was released, and I was wondering if anyone really cared. I say that because no one I have spoken to recently, uses it.

But then I got to looking about, to see how much the mail client landscape has dwindled. I knew it had, because the last time I looked around, there was not much in the way of them that were still being developed. I know everyone likes the convenience of web mail, but the limitations are such that I still use POP3 or IMAP accounts. In fact, I treat my GMail account as POP3, so many of the changes I read about I am not aware of, until I read about them.

It seems as though Thunderbird is the only free, non-crippled, mail program left, other than Windows Live Mail. As I have said before, Windows Live Mail is very nice, but development seems to have stopped, with a couple of glaring problems left unresolved. Because these problems occur on my machines which are unicore processor equipped, I can only assume that the problem is one of threading, as the dual and quad core machines I own run the same versions, and have no problems. Microsoft seems to ignore any difficulties with this, as they must be certain that no one uses machines like mine any longer.  The other problem is one that is intermittent, and usually can be cured with a shutdown and restart of the program.

This brings me to Thunderbird, which, the last time I used it, had a big problem with the newly added RSS feeds module. The mailer itself worked well, but I was growing tired of having the updates kill the add-ons I used – exactly the same reason I stopped using Firefox. (I never had a complaint about the memory usage, I don’t tend to keep browsers open for extended periods, but instead open and close many times per day.)

I found a site called freemailguide, and saw that my old favorite, Pegasus, is still available, but when going to the author’s site, it seems that it may be taken away soon.  The author wants sponsors to contribute a small amount for a number of years, but in this age of recession, I’m not certain how successful he will be. Better get your archival copy soon!

There are two other mail programs listed there, EurekaMail and BlackBox. EurekaMail is free, but the author is a bit deceptive, on one page the brag is that the program’s free version does not time out, yet when looking further, the prospective user finds that the program uses the lure of multiple accounts and printing of messages to entice the user to buy. The project looks very nice, and is probably worth the price, but I abhor deception, so I’d steer clear of it. BlackBox is very spare, and though it might be very sturdy, it seems less than spectacular.

Pegasus is a very nice program, but can be complex to set up for some users, and sometimes also has difficulties with HTML-formatted stuff. If you can set it up, and tolerate the more than infrequent, yet not very frequent mashing of HTML messages.

So, Thunderbird would seem to be the ticket for those that have unicore machines, or are easily bothered by the quirky behavior of Windows Live Mail; who don’t want to pay for the extra unneeded features of Outlook, and don’t own a copy of the now unavailable, non-crippled Eudora 7 (which was my favorite).

What program do you use, or have you left it up to the web mail providers?



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