Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Eulogy for Eudora

Ernie Smith (tweet, Hacker News, TidBITS):

Welty once wrote a story called “Why I Live at the P.O.”; Dorner was inspired by the idea of a mailbox that comes to you, rather than the other way around, which inspired the name.


And while Andreessen moved to California, Dorner stayed in Illinois, telecommuting for Qualcomm, which eventually acquired his work from the university, for years. Dorner’s main job for many years was maintaining Eudora.


He got a long-term gig out of the move, obviously, but it meant that his idea was at the whims of a large company that was better known for designing communications hardware than email clients. Eudora was a loss leader of sorts—while it had a shrink-wrapped version, most people used the free one, and the success of the free app gave Qualcomm name recognition at a time when it was still pretty obscure.


In a 2015 interview with blogger Joe Clark, Dorner made the point that later internet users were less interested in customization than something that worked out of the box. Combined with the growing flood going into our inboxes, our collective philosophy around email had simply changed.

I always respected what Eudora could do, but my favorite 90s mail clients were Emailer and Mailsmith.

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