San Diego's Qualcomm has announced that the next version of its Eudora email client is going to be released as a free, open source application built upon the same code as Mozilla Thunderbird. Programmers from both Qualcomm and the Mozilla Foundation will work together to develop future versions of the client.
The company hopes that the Mozilla open source community will extend the feature set of Eudora (which is currently commercial software) much in the same way that they have done for Thunderbird. It's a great development for the open source productivity space. Will it kill Microsoft Outlook? No, but it's going to make millions of users who prefer alternative email clients very happy.
When the open source version of Eudora is released in the first half of 2007, Qualcomm will discontinue selling the commercial version of the client. Right now, Eudora costs $19.95 per license, and that price also buys you six months of tech support. The new, open source version of the client most likely won't come with tech support, but users will be able to turn to community resources for support. Qualcomm says it plans to honor all paid technical support commitments for Eudora until the paid licenses run out.