Missing Mozilla Thunderbird? Here are five email alternatives

Missing Mozilla Thunderbird? Here are five email alternatives

Summary: Mozilla has put Thunderbird out to grass, halting development on the venerable desktop email client. Here are five multi-platform, open-source alternatives for fans looking for a replacement

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  • With the news that Mozilla will no longer be developing its long-standing email client, there will undoubtedly be a lot of disappointed Thunderbird users out there. Worry not: ZDNet has put together a list of five alternative desktop email clients that can be used in place of the venerable software.

    In general, we've gone for similarly open-source multi-platform clients, eschewing native options such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail. All testing was done a Windows XP machine, so the clients may look slightly different depending on which platform you are using.

    Opera Mail

    Opera Mail comes integrated into the Opera web browser. It provides a powerful collection of integrated options for organising messages. For example, it can identify all emails with attachments and display these in a separate box on the side of the screen, and even sub-divide them according to the kind of attachments they contain.

    Like all self-respecting email clients, it will sync with Outlook and Microsoft Exchange, as well providing a very easy set-up and sync of web-based services like Gmail and Hotmail. It also supports shortcuts, allowing you to skip through a loaded inbox with ease.

    We also liked the speed with which it imported our old emails, something competitors like Sea Monkey took, much, much longer to do.

    Opera Mail is available for free for Windows, Mac and Linux.

    Screenshot: Ben Woods/ZDNet

  • emClient

    Unlike some of the other software on this list, emClient offers a paid-for version for commercial use, in addition to the version that's free for home users. The commercial emClient costs around £32 ($49.95) for a lifetime licence, with 12 months of free upgrades.

    emClient is closer to Opera Mail and Thunderbird than Sea Monkey. As well as providing support for syncing multiple accounts, it offers calendar, tasks and widget tools, and has a way to link into instant messaging.

    Screenshot: Ben Woods/ZDNet

  • Sea Monkey

    Sea Monkey was born out of the Mozilla Application Suite, using community-driven software to continue its development.

    It's not as fully featured or easy to set up as Opera Mail or emClient, but once it's up and running, it can happily handle your daily email chores. It'll also sync Microsoft Exchange accounts or other web-based email accounts such as Gmail.

    While functional, it's not the best looking of the clients, and it did take the longest to import messages. It also failed to respect my Gmail folder structure when dealing with other email accounts rerouted to Gmail.

    Nevertheless, it's free forever and is available for Mac, Windows and Linux, so could be worth a look.

    Screenshot: Ben Woods/ZDNet

Topics: Software, Open Source

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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27 comments
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  • Outlook

    Im using Outlook 2010 and works like a charm, all my pop and hotmail accounts in one app :)
    DJK2
  • Opera is not open source,

    it is, however, free and multi-platform.
    wizard57m-cnet
  • Thunderbird hasn't gone anywhere.

    People complain about Mozilla making too many changes to Firefox,
    people complain about Mozilla making too little changes to Thunderbird... I am not jumping ship just because they're not going to be making changes to their mail client anymore! It works fine the way it is.
    Mesh24
    • Exactly

      It took me a while to find such an amazing email client as Thunderbird is. There seems to be quite a bit of misinformation in this regard. The reality is that Thunderbird will continue receiving software updates, just only of the SECURITY type. That's no problem. The latest version is 17.0.3...which just occured over the last two weeks.

      The only angle I'm looking for are "OTHER" email clients since I always like to keep things fresh...and to keep myself aware of what's out there. In the end, Thunderbird will continue as my main email client, and it doesn't appear that Mozilla will be fully halting development any time soon...
      GSystems
  • Pegasus Mail is still around.

    Web based email has killed its popularity, but Pegasus Mail is still around as well. Although its development seems to be glacial. 5.0 has been in development for a long time, but hasn't shown up yet.

    The Bat! also seems to still be around. Never tried it, but it was popular back in the day.

    Personally, I still despise web based email, even though I use it. To this day, I still don't know of a single web based email client that can match all of the features of the more sophisticated offline clients. It was promised, but never happened.
    CobraA1
    • AGREED!

      Absolutely. Web-based email just isn't enough...especially when, like many people, you have more than one email account. It doesn't matter how many "application tabs" and "bookmarks" you make, nothing beats the automation of an email client with the right, baseline features. Period.
      GSystems
  • mailwasher alternative

    Is there an alternative to Mailwasher out there that checks your mail from multiple accounts and deletes any you don't want before you download messages onto your computer.

    I don't like the new version I am still using the old 6.5.4 pro version when it was a one off fee before it became a yearly subscription.
    PeteStan1
  • You forgot Windows Live Mail?

    It's not Open Source, is only for Windows but it is free and is excellent on Windows XP (Windows Live Mail 2009) or Vista/Win7/Win8 (Windows Live Mail 2011).

    Mozilla Thunderbird would get my third vote after Windows Live Mail in second place and Outlook (2010) in first place. Nothing beats Outlook for PIM.

    Agreed about Webmail not being a patch on an Offline Mail Client. Hotmail and Gmail have perfectly okay interfaces (and I use them when I have to) but they don't come close to Outlook/Windows Live Mail/Thunderbird for features or efficiency.

    Use IMAP, Exchange ActiveSync (if possible) or the Hotmail Connector in Outlook and e-mail is sync automatically from offline mails apps to webmail too.

    Besides Webmail has only become popular because there's no setup involved (ironically offline e-mail apps are still popular on smartphones and tablets), which is odd because any modern e-mail app just requires your username and password too.
    bradavon
    • WLM

      Used WLM for years before finally getting fed-up with the lack of features. I didn't even realize how limited WLM was until I ventured over to Thunderbird. One thing that initially caused me to look elsewhere was the poor handling of desktop notifications. Meaning that my main email account was the only one that induced a notification and the pop-up left a lot to be desired. This didn't make sense to me given how Outlook handled this operation just fine.

      As time went on, I realized that my other email accounts were not getting the same treatment as my main account, and those did not receive a pop-up...only that mail icon in the System Tray/Notification Tray. Being that I spend a ton of time at my computer, it didn't make sense that after receiving an email that I then had to go search through all of my email to find which one actually received the message. Not to mention that once you click the icon, it goes away, regardless of whether or not you actually opened the email...so the icon comes back again during the next cycle.

      Although WLM is very easy to use, I strongly encourage you to move up to Thunderbird to have a more complete, efficient email experience...but that's just my nickel...
      GSystems
  • Mailbird Alternative Email Tool

    It is a shame that Thunderbird is ceasing any further development. In addition to the 5 alternatives, another alternative is Mailbird for Windows users, and it should be a lot cleaner and simple for those of you who like the design of Mac, but the usability of Windows. Beta sign up notifications are at www.getmailbird.com
    Andrea Loubier
  • Evolution for Linux users

    I used Evolution until i moved in 2009 to Thunderbird. I guess Evolution is still worth of try. Zimbra is of course another one.

    However, i won't be worry about Thunderbird. I guess they still continue to send security updates for Thunderbird in future.
    Matsi66
    • Evolution

      Evolution was grounded some time ago because it will accumulate messages - does not handle rules properly that "MOVEs" messages. But has this been solved then great. TB has not been maintained the last 3 years, it has been hacked to pieces by incompetence and lingered with inconsistencies in the iSql interface. It looses messages - just the opposite of Evolution.

      It is sort of arguing which pest is worse, making Opera and Seamonkey worth looking at.
      knuthf
  • EudoraOSE is dead

    This article loses some credibility when it mentions EudoraOSE as an alternative to Thunderbird. Firstly, EudoraOSE is based on Thunderbird and secondly EudoraOSE has not been updated (as far I can see) for more than a year. It's not a viable alternative to Thunderbird.
    smithberry
    • EudoraOSE is dead

      EudoraOSE is still at 1.0, is still based on the now very old Thunderbird 3.x and has not had an update since it was first released in 2010. I have been using it for about a year and find that its UI has some very annoying bugs. Its basic functionality seems to work and it has not lost or screwed up any email messages. But the lack of interest in development sure looks like it has no future and should not have been included as one of the alternatives.

      Also, the article should have addressed ease and accuracy of conversion from Thunderbird to one of the replacements.
      acetoo
  • Beware of eM Client

    I've used eM Client primarily for over a month, and I have found that it is beta quality software and not a good alternative to Microsoft Outlook. Its developers prefer features and marketing hype over quality. Don't be surprised if you lose data, miss appointments, see hundreds of error messages and find their representatives getting defensive and ignoring important customer feedback.
    Poobah1
    • em client

      @Poobah1

      I've had quite the opposite experience with em client, on my machine its been rock solid, haven't had any of the issues you describe... I use with free version with a few IMAP accounts.
      bwat47@...
  • FastMail and Yahoo!

    Even if "eM Client" can be used for free for home users or for personal use, you still can't use it if you don't have a paid account in Yahoo! or in FastMail. The email messages can't be pushed to the email client if you are using a free account. [video, videos, depot.wen.ru]
    Othelo Kindred
  • Classic Eurora still works

    I am still using Eudora (7.1.0.9) with Windows 7 and it works nicely.
    Main reason is that Classic Eudora places mails attachments in a separate folder (where they can be directly accessed, copied, or moved), while others mail clients, including Eudora OSE, store attachment inside of the mail file itself.
    I also like the possibility of sorting messages by sender, addressee, topic etc. ( a feature which is an equivalent of the conversation grouping in Gmail).
    Plus so many other UI features which I never found elsewhere...
    Nouroog
    • Classic Eudora

      Nouroog, I used this for years but had my computer stolen. I have Windows 7. Do you know where I can get a copy of Eudora7.1.0.9

      Will it work on Windows 8 ?
      Thanks to you and anyone else for help on this
      gdomm
      • It's available

        Classic Eudora is at http://www.eudora.com/download/

        Seems to work in Windows 8
        karlovau