Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mailforge v Eudora

As I mentioned in an earlier post (for details read the comment thread), I recently switched my email program from Eudora, which I had used for many years but which is not supported by Lion, the newest version of OSX, to MailForge, a Mozilla email program designed to feel like Eudora. Lion is being released today, so it seems an appropriate time to record the result of the experiment.

When MailForge works it works better than Eudora did, but there are a variety of minor ways in which it doesn't work, although none so far that is a real killer. Having downloaded mail once, it refuses to do it again until I quit and reload the program, at which point it turns out that there is additional mail to be downloaded. I have it set to automatically open a mailbox with new mail in it, but it doesn't. It has an address book to which I can add a group of email addresses with a nickname but as far as I can tell doing so has no effect; the new group does not appear in the address book thereafter.

To be fair, some of these problems might be due to Eudora files that I imported into MailForge; after most of twenty years of copying files from one machine to another, some—I am thinking in particular of some of the filters I looked at—pretty clearly had been corrupted in one way or another. Initially filtering didn't work; after I went through the filters removing the corrupt ones it did. I should do something similar with my address book and see if it fixes that problem.

And, to be fair, when MailForge works it is faster and smoother than Eudora was. With my old Eudora, if I selected a group of emails and hit delete, sometimes they vanished, sometimes I got an error message. With MailForge they vanish. And I am pretty sure that the actual download of the email is faster. 

But I expect that there are more glitches waiting to bite me, that the reports which made me initially unsure whether MailForge was the right solution—roughly speaking that it wasn't yet quite ready for prime time—were correct. Whether I would have been better off with my alternate plan of converting to Thunderbird, a better developed fork off the same open source project but one not designed specifically for Eudora users, I don't know.

Next project: Take a look at Lion and see whether I want the upgrade. If I do, wait a few weeks on general principles and get it. While resisting all temptation to replace my perfectly good, indeed beautiful, elegant, amazingly tiny, MacBook Air, with the faster model Apple has just released—this time with a lighted keyboard.

I don't suppose my son needs a slightly used ultralight to take off to college ...  .


sconzey said...

Wikipedia says "Penelope" is Qualcomm's officially sponsored successor to Eudora, a plugin for Thunderbird, promoted as a package called "Eudora Open Source Edition"


RKN said...

I've used Eudora for many years and like it so much I continue using Windows OS, all versions of which run the latest version of Eudora I have (v7.1.0.9), the last version before Qualcomm dropped support. Even on my current laptop running Windows 7 (64-bit), Eudora installed and runs well.

Zacaman said...

sconzey, the Penelope project is just window-dressing on a Thunderbird clone. It doesn't come close to comparing with the feature set of the original Eudora.

Many of us have pinned our hopes on MailForge as the only likely successor - and I was one of those who bought into the MailForge launch with real cash to help move the project forward.

Sadly, the two-person programming team at Infinity Data Systems just keep missing deadlines (one wonders why they bother to say "We're releasing version X.x on Thursday!" when they never, ever make it).

But with Lion becoming a much-desired upgrade, we're in a bind. I may take the plunge, clean up my Eudora mailboxes prior to a MailForge import (even in it's' current less-than-serviceable incarnation) and just use it as a way to get at my email archive... and finally just give in and embrace Apple's own Mail program, which from all accounts has become quite mature under 10.7 Lion.

Eric said...

I think the best solution is to use MailForge to view old Eudora email, but to make a clean break from the Eudora format going forward.

Every email client has its strengths and weaknesses, but in my opinion Sparrow is the best out there right now for Mac. It's fast, stable, easy to use and its conversation view works very well. The developers regularly update the client with bug fixes and new functionality quite painlessly through the App Store.

And it runs under both Snow Leopard and Lion.


Anonymous said...

I installed Lion andf ound that most of my old files and programmes didn't work, which meant files, records, writings, etc. effectively shut off forever. It took me two days to get rid of Lion and get my old system up and running and the process meant several programmes which didn't work on Lion now didn't work when I went back to Snow Leopard. I strongly advise thinking very carefully about Lion unless you have a new computer with all new files and don't care about your past files.