First alpha of Thunderbird 3 available
Mozilla subsidiary Mozilla Messaging has released the first alpha version of the upcoming Thunderbird 3 e-mail client for download. Released for testing, the software is not intended for 'productive use' and has, therefore, been given code name "Shredder". English language alpha versions are available for Windows from version 2000, for Mac OS X from version 10.4 and for Linux.
Shredder Alpha 1 is based on the Gecko 1.9 rendering engine, which promises better performance and stability as well as a simplified code structure. It contains a new add-on manager to provide a better overview and easier add-on installation. Thunderbird is now a native Cocoa application for Mac OS X. Mac OS X users can now access their system address book from Thunderbird. However, the option is disabled by default and can only be enabled via the configuration editor. According to the release notes, full text search now provides accurate results.
That Shredder is a very early version is illustrated by the plans of Thunderbird's Chief Executive Officer David Ascher, who outlined in January that Thunderbird 3 is only likely to become suitable for productive use by the last quarter of 2008. The development of Thunderbird 4 is already scheduled to start while Thunderbird 3 development is still in progress.