Ehhh, no big deal, it’s only email.  Right?  Not so fast.  On one hand it’s true that email is not quite rocket science and is a well established internet technology. Yet not all platforms handle, or save it, the same.  Fortunately in my case I was using Eudora on my PCs which stored email in a much more friendly ascii text type of file rather than a .dat file or some other proprietary format.

Thunderbird I discovered immediately that Eudora, which was a dying application, wasn’t available to me on the Mac.  I looked at the Mail application that’s part of the Mac OS X stable and decided that it wasn’t going to work for me as it was too simple, at least at the time.  I had a copy of Entourage, a Microsoft product, and while it looked similar to Eudora there were several things I didn’t like about it including the license.  After quite a bit of searching I ran across a Eudora plug-in (called Penelope) for Thunderbird, the open source brother to Firefox.  So that’s what I settled on.  It was a fairly simple installation and the best part was all of my existing email folders and files were readily imported.  The GUI was similar enough to Eudora that I had little trouble adjusting to it.  There were some quirks though but nothing that prevented me from using it.

With the passage of time I saw Thunderbird developing in to a really nice email client yet the Penelope plug-in seemed to have stalled, without any bugs being fixed much less actual progress.  When Thunderbird 3 was released I looked it over very carefully and discovered the GUI was very much like everything I remembered Eudora having that I preferred.  So I uninstalled Penelope and now use just Thunderbird 3 on it’s own.

One feature I particularly like is how Thunderbird handles numerous email accounts, allowing you to send messages from any account with differing signatures.  The filters also are excellent at placing incoming messages in different folders allowing you to separate personal from business.  I’ve also added a few plug-ins that increase functionality and today am quite satisfied with it as an email client.

What about Gmail?  Many are using Gmail for their email now.  I have moved all of my domain email to Gmail and am very pleased with how well their spam filters work.  Thunderbird will happily interface with Gmail, either as a POP or IMAP client, and has account set up functions that guide you through it in only a few minutes.

In the end, it was a very successful transition of email from PC to Mac but did require some research to find what I wanted.

But what if you use MS Outlook for email?  Well you can consider purchasing MS Entourage for the Mac, which I do use at work.  It’s not exactly the same as Outlook but somewhat close and is a fine email client.  If you’re not one to shy away from trying something new or would prefer not paying for an email client, Thunderbird will import your Outlook email and folders rather successfully which I have also done recently.  Yes there are many other clients out there but I can’t speak on them at the moment since I’ve decided I’m very pleased with Thunderbird.

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