The end of Eudora

I’ve used hundreds of different programs in the 20+ years I’ve owned a Mac (I’ve got 15 running right now), but the two I’ve used most consistently, for more than a decade have been the word processor NisusWriter and the email package Eudora. I’ve just downloaded the last commercial version of Eudora for the Mac (6.2.4, the Windows version went to 7.1.

The pill has been sweetened by the announcement that the Eudora code will be released as open source, but I can’t see anyone stepping forward to work on this, at least for the Mac, given that Mail is freely bundled with OS X and there are several excellent free or low-cost alternatives.

Of course, the program still works, so there’s no need to change it any time soon. And Nisus made a successful transition to OS X quite a while ago, with the new name Nisus Writer Express.

23 thoughts on “The end of Eudora

  1. I’ve been a Eudora user, mostly on PCs, since it was first distributed freely when I got on the net in the early 90’s. Despite having tried almost every other email program on offer, and being forced to use a few daily in work situations like, Lotus, Outlook, pine, I have remained with Eudora. I don’t think this is just because I’m used to it, I really think it is a superior (and correct)email client.

    Good to see them going Open Source – after all Lite started out free. I just hope the Penelope Project doesn’t end up just absorbing Eudora into Thunderbird.

    One great thing about the Eudora people is that they have always made older versions of Eudora available for downloading.

  2. Going open source is a good thing for the future of your (no doubt considerable by now) email archive. Just resist the opportunity to transfer your mail to a closed source client such as Apple’s, it only takes one upgrade for them to lock you into their software forever (see this post by Mark Pilgrim for more). Also I understand that Thunderbird imports Eudora pretty effortlessly.

  3. A close friend lost all of her e-mail a few days ago as a consequence of malware or a virus. With open source I have not even had to think about viruses for years.

    This is not to say that open soiurce does not have its own problems. This is largely due to the absurd number of competing Linux distributions (see and none of them seeming to have suffiecent resources to allow a truly easy to use user frendly product to be made available.

    This could be fixed almost overnight if, for example any Australian Government were to adopt Linux (or, fo that matter a BSD variant) and support it properly. This would create a critical mass of users that would, before long, ensure that proprietary operating systems would only be used by diminishing minority of Australian users. The savings in foreign exchange would be enormous.

  4. Yes James thats right. If only governments took the lead then utopia would be just around the corner. I’d prefer that they stick with a basic TCO assesment rather than try and solve all our problems with idealistic purchasing policies. Open source has it’s place but free software is not necessarily cheap.

  5. surely gmail’s email, word processor and spreadsheet makes all this fussing and bothering with proprietorial platform-based programs look rather quaint and old-fashioned?

  6. James, I think Ubuntu and its variants are pretty much there. Pretty nice. (I strongly like the ideas behind gobolinux, but dunno if it’ll really go anywhere). Ubuntu has developed a bit of a reputation for winning over mac users as well as windows users – not surprising given it’s ease in application management. Stretching it a bit now, the windows world is a little like the catholic church of the middle ages, groaning under it’s own weight and obsessed with worldly power. Open source is a little like localised proddy upstarts causing mayhem at the fringes, and not adverse to a little splintering and evangelical zeal, but evolving into a very viable product. (Mac folks are the Eastern Orthodox!!)

    I digress. Back to watching the repugnicants getting pounded in the mid-terms. Joy.


  7. Jack is right about web based apps. And about time too. gmail is a very nice piece of work, and integrates nicely with any conventional mail tool. The google spreadsheet, ahem, has some waaaayyyy to go.

    But don’t worry John. Thunderbird is very good and simple, and I’m sure the eudora code will find a good home there. Have you tried it? There’s a universal binary OS X installer at


  8. To use Nisus, one has to get a Mac first.

    I like Mac very very much: the mouse, the screen, the interface. However,I cannot afford it up to my financial status. The mouse of mac is so cute,although it does the same job as almost the others, some of the Mac notesbooks are white and so fashionable, although the white color cannot help it to be protected from the stains. And even I owned the Mac, I have to almost pay for the software one by one to make it really COOL.

    I remember when I am young in the school, my parents always purify any lovely stuff from my desktop to help me concentrate for exam preparations.However, in the end it “help”ed me to develop a super circus skill around my fingers: i can circle the pen separately around my five fingers, clockwise and counterclockwise. This makes the school teacher feel extremely dizzy, coz there is always someone in my middle school class playing with the pen around the fingers when he is talking.

  9. John, I’m one of a number of experienced mac software developers I know who still rely on Eudora (which is an excellent client for people who, like most software developers, get an enormous amount of mail and like to filter most of it in various ways). I’m a little nervous about its future, but hopeful enough I am going to wait and see what happens, as so many developers rely on it (and conceivably I’ll even assist the project, it it looks like I’ll be useful).

    BTW feel free to contact me with Mac technical questions should it be useful.

  10. Eudora was about the only piece of software I missed when switching from Windows to GNU/Linux. But that was a long time ago by now, and I don’t know if I’d still like it. Still, I’ve never found an email client I liked as much as it, and I’m currently settling for GMail, which is okay. IIRC Eudora’s file format for emails was just a plain text file per box with each email separated in a more robust way than the standard From: line that means you often see emails that have an > before ‘From’ even tho it’s not in a quote.

    But as for such things, I think Jack Strocchi’s wrong when he suggests that fussing with proprietry and platform-specific apps is outdated by web apps. The problem with web apps as I see it is even worse than proprietry file formats. You don’t even have the file stored on your own computer, so if Google (or whoever) goes bust or is/becomes evil or whatever, you lose bigtime—you won’t even be able to try and work out the file format. Not to mention how bad it is from a security point-of-view. In terms of such things, there’s simply no alternative to having everything saved on your own computer in open file formats that can be read by software you can install on your own computer.

  11. alex – besides its non webby interface, a big plus, Eudora does store pretty much all its info, body of emails, addresses, mailboxes in files easily accessable by a text reader / editor. Very handy when things go wrong and ensures there arent any real legacy issues over the long term.

  12. I have used Pegasus Mail, freeware (and no ads or nags) to private users and written by in New Zealand by David Harris. Absolutely bullet proof email program that has lasted with me for around 10 years.

  13. I just recently built a new Windows PC and due to changes in companies I was without a license for Windows XP or MS Office. Wanting to make the PC totally legal I do not have MS office installed and purchased a copy of Windows XP x64.

    As I did not now have Outlook I am using Mozilla Thunderbird and it is really good. The interface is clear and easy to use and it has strong filtering. I have used Eudora in the past however I switched to Outlook a couple of years ago mainly because it supported multiple users with seperate profiles on Windows when Eudora at the time was much more clumsy in this regard.

  14. Peter Evans,

    I use Debian Linux. I might give Ubuntu another try or try gobolinux. However Ubuntu gave me no easy way of being able to connect a friend’s computer to Telstra’s Bigppond broadband service when I tried to install it so I evetually installed Debian instead. Even though Ubuntu is based on Debian, I here there are growning problems of compatibility between the two distributions.

    Debian also causes me some headaches, too.

    Terje wrote “Open source has it’s place …”

    The Internet would not operate without open source software. Where do you think we would be today if we had all relied on the proprietary protocols of Microsoft and IBM? How big would the www be if every web site required a license for Microsoft’s insecure and unreliable IIS instead of being able to use the open source Apache?

    Even Microsoft has been caught out using Linux servers because their own operating system is so unreliable and insecure.


    Couldn’t resist having a cheap shot once you spotted the word ‘government’ in my last post, could you? Why should taxpayers have to go on paying for endless software upgrades and the necessary hardware upgrades to suit proprierary software companies foremeost amongst them Microsoft? How can this possibly be cheaper than simply adopting Linux and perfectly good robust applications such as Open Office, KOffice etc?

    If Governments actually supported these projects with a fraction of the money they now give away to proprietary software companies, instead of allowing them to rely largely on unpaid volunteers, there is almost no limit to what coud actually be achieved.

    Had it ever occurred to you just how inappropriate the private for-profit business model was for software, and, in fact, many other forms of intellectual property? As a libertarian how do you regard the extraordinary and growing levels of technological and coercive measures employed to enforce software copyright? (see “Copyright Jails” and

    How do you propose that creators of intellectual works be fairly remunerated using the current for-profit copyright system, without such coercion?

  15. James,
    I think you misunderstand Terje. He was saying (at least from my reading) that the government, like other consumers, should look at total cost of ownership, rather than just initial purchase price. The reasons why open source has not made it onto a lot of desktops are not simple, but do have a great deal to do with network benefits.
    The software may be free, but if the cost of re-training several thousand workers and tens if not hundreds of support staff are high enough the cost of the switchover would be more than the cost of the software.
    The more IT literate of us tend to use open source a lot (as I do), but trying to re-educate a worker who has no interest in IT and just wants to get their work done can be an expensive process.
    This is apart from any increased support costs that may result and any costs to re-write existing in house programs, VBA in Word or Excel etc. etc. etc.
    Open source might be free to buy, but it may be expensive to own.

  16. Andrew,

    Of course there will be costs associated with a transition to open source software, but surely this cost would be very quickly paid off once the transition has been made.

    Of course there will also be the problem of applications written in proprietary application development environments, but that should not be a barrier to commencing the transition. Open source developers bend over backwards to ensure that their applications are interoperable with proprietary applications, so it should be possible for proprietary based applications to exist side by side with open source applications during the transition.

    There is nothing inherently better in any of the standard proprietary applications than with their open source counterparts. If proper training and support were provided, I don’t see why open source software should pose any more difficulty to a worker not interested in IT, than would proprietary software.

    And they would not face nearly as many headaches from viruses, spyware, malware etc.

    Glad to know that you use open source software.

  17. I would put in a vote for Ubuntu. I was extremely impressed when I installed it on our second computer. It took a bit mucking around to use the windows drivers to get my wireless card working (ndiswrapper which was installed by default) however it was reasonably painless.

    What did impress me was the ease of install and the applications installed, including samba client. This meant I could connect to the shared printer on my windows box. CUPS had all the drivers for my printer and it installed as easy as a windows printer remotely.

  18. Terje – governments may not be universal panaceas, but they’re sometimes the only power we have to protect us against bullies. It’s surely well-established by now, if anything is, that Microsoft gained at least much of its latter-day power by dubious and frequently illegal means (I’ve witnessed this first-hand from within the IT industry). ‘Choice’ in the market means nothing if people aren’t even aware of alternatives. Governments probably should at least weight their decisions in favour of OS in the interests of diversity and freedom. I’m not sure “TCO” should be the single deciding factor: given that every single TCO study you ever see in the IT world comes out in favour of the views of the people doing the commissioning, they’re about as useful as environmental impact statements.

    James – if you’re an OS advocate, you probably should think carefully about stressing the cost argument. I’m not at all sure that OS is always cheaper. UNIXy experts are expensive, and many commercial-grade apps that run on UNIX/Linux are very costly indeed. Microsoft really does sometimes benefit from their experience of delivering stuff that works to clueless business owners, in that they have learned, in some instances, to create ‘commodity’ software that is good enough for the purpose at hand. Sometimes it’s cheaper than the more bespoke approach that OS tends to require. Also, your statement re IIS being ‘insecure and unreliable’ is pretty silly. Vast server farms run IIS with great uptime. IIS was insecure out of the box until about the time of NT’s SP4 (IIRC). Since then it’s been as good or bad as the administrators running it. Pretty much like Apache, in fact.

    Having said that, in my view, governments should indeed weight their IT decisions in favour of OS (ie. the opposite to Australian governments’ usual reflexively pro-Microsoft approach). And they should have no truck at all with proprietary file formats.

  19. Crispin,

    Thanks for the post. My information regarding IIS may have been out of date, although I sometimes wonder if some of the web sites out there which refuse to work with my Firefox browser may be IIS.

    If you read my posts carefully, I wasn’t saying that open source was a yet panacea.

    Your points about the advantage that Microsoft sometimes has over open source ring true, but much of that would change quickly in circumstances where governments and large organistaions got behind open source.


    thanks for the information about Ubuntu. the moment I am stumped trying to make the CUPS printer server work on my small home network. Can’t compehend it’s documetation of it’s authenitcation system and can’t get it to work with no authentication, so I should give Ubuntu a try.

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