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13 August 2008, 11:56

Thunderbird 3 email client makes alpha progress

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Mozilla Messaging, the Mozilla subsidiary that took over responsiblity for [ticker:uk_1110149 Mozilla's Thunderbird email client] in February, is making progress with the development of third version of the Thunderbird email client. It has now made an Alpha 2 release of Thunderbird 3, code-named "Shredder", available. This is not a release suitable for production, as the codename broadly hints; it is intended for testers to exercise new features and stability in the email client.

Shredder is based on the Gecko 1.9 rendering engine, which is hoped will improve performance and stability while simplifying the code. A new add-on manager is included, intended to improve the overall experience of finding and installating extensions. Thunderbird now operates as a native Cocoa application for Mac OS X. When finished, Thunderbird 3 also promises to feature an integrated calendar, a vastly improved search function, and a large number of revisions to the user interface.

The developers say that Alpha 2 fixes more than 300 bugs that were in the first Alpha version and that many of the bug fixes "lay the groundwork for future changes". Among other things, they claim that Shredder has been better matched to the look of Mac OS X, the delete and undo functions with IMAP work faster, and the system for classifying emails as spam has been improved. Details of the changes have been published in the release notes and the change log.

Shredder Alpha 2 for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux is available to download with twelve different languages supported. The final release of Thunderbird 3 is currently planned for the fourth quarter of this year, and the code for a first beta version is scheduled for 9 September.


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