The point of Thunderbird - as with Firefox, the new standalone Mozilla web browser component - is to take real steps toward simplifying all the great stuff that comprises the Mozilla project, allowing you to download what you need and nothing more. After Mozilla 1.4 came out, new implementations of the two main Mozilla components (web browser and newsreader/email client) have been be offered as separate downloads. Mozilla Thunderbird is the standalone email and Usenet newsreader client, available for Mac OS X.
Thunderbird is now a mauture, stable, and very capable email and usenet client, offering just about every major feature you might expect, from message and junk filtering to spell checking and beyond. Part of Thunderbird's maturity is due to the fact that Thunderbird really isn't new; it's based upon the email client and newsreader that have been included in Mozilla for quite some time. However, Thunderbird benefits from the same streamlining and interface improvements that are making Firefox so desirable: by focusing solely on standalone mail, the development team can make some dents in the overall footprint and performance of the mail client by removing components and user interface elements that they don't need. On top of that, the UI becomes much cleaner in the standalone application as opposed to being part of the Mozilla suite.
In addition to the feature set found in Mozilla Mail, Thunderbird has several new features and improvements to make your mail and new experience better. Highlights include:
Apart from fixing a large number of bugs in the 2.0.x release, Thunderbird 3 made the following major enhancements:
Version 3.1.1 provides additional enhancements:
"After being totally frustrated with Eudora, Netscape, and the various of MicroShaft Outlook, I tried Thunderbird. This email client is the absolute fastest, cleanest, most stable email system I have ever used in my 15+ years online. I use Thunderbird on my home system and on a business email system where it collects email from several different email addresses, all flawlessly. Outgoing mail is easy to compose, attachments just Work, and I have never had a complaint from anyone who has ever received and email generated from Thunderbird. This is the only/last email application you will ever need."
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Can't find what you're looking for? Try a search:
Also, if you have an older Mac, be sure to check out the "Classic" applications page for more options.
Finally, take a look at ALEMIA if you think you know that name of an application, but aren't quite sure.
Andrew Starr has another marvelous page about Usenet newsreaders that you simply must check out.
There are several Usenet newsgroups dedicated to Macintosh-specific topics. Here are the most essential ones:
comp.sys.mac.announce is a moderated newsgroup that contains important general announcements to the Macintosh community.
comp.sys.mac.apps is the place to go when you have questions about specific Macintosh programs.
comp.sys.mac.comm is the place to discuss all things involving Macintosh telecommunications and Macs on the Internet.
comp.sys.mac.printing is for all printer- and printing-related discussion.
comp.sys.mac.hardware.misc is for discussion of all other Macintosh hardware-related questions.
comp.sys.mac.system is the place to go for MacOS-related discussions.
comp.sys.mac.misc is the place to post when other Macintosh-related newsgroups don't fit the bill.
Note: If you'd like to search the Usenet for Macintosh-related information, you really only have one option (but it's a good one): Google purchased the old DejaNews (Deja.com) Usenet archive, and now offers sophisticated searching of all mainstream Usenet newsgroups, both past and present.
These are applications that are newer and of potential interest, but which I haven't yet selected for permanent inclusion. Have a look, and let me know if you think they deserve to be part of the permanent collection!