Mozilla has released the latest version of its open-source Thunderbird e-mail client, which comes with improved security and an automatic update feature.
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The new Thunderbird 1.5 client is also designed to be more user-friendly, said Mozilla, which recently launched version 1.5 of its increasingly popular Firefox browser.
Thunderbird 1.5 is a free download and is designed to compete with the likes of the Outlook Express e-mail client, which comes free with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.
Mozilla claims Thunderbird is also good enough to compete with e-mail clients already widely used in the enterprise environment, including IBM’s Lotus Notes and Microsoft’s Outlook client, which comes as part of the Office suite.
Previous Thunderbird versions have been downloaded around 18 million times by users, said Mozilla.
Among the new security features in Thunderbird 1.5 are Kerberos authentication and integration, with support for server-based spam filtering.
The new client also includes a built-in phishing detector to help protect users against e-mail scams.
Microsoft also plans to focus on greater phishing protection for its forthcoming Internet Explorer 7, due later this year.
In addition, Thunderbird 1.5 offers auto-saving of e-mails in progress as drafts, and automatic spell-checking as e-mail users type their messages.
There is also an automatic software update feature, so users don’t have to keep checking the Mozilla website for updates.
A similar update feature has been added to Firefox 1.5.