The ability to quickly send antivirus killer lite receive messages without having to be online at the same time created a new form of human communication. By now billions of people have used email. US government’s AUTODIN in the early 1960s.
Eventually many email clients were written for personal computers, but few became as successful as Eudora. Available both for the IBM PC and the Apple Macintosh, in its heyday Eudora had tens of millions of happy users. Eudora was elegant, fast, feature-rich, and could cope with mail repositories containing hundreds of thousands of messages. In my opinion it was the finest email client ever written, and it has yet to be surpassed. I still use it today, but, alas, the last version of Eudora was released in 2006. It may not be long for this world. With thanks to Qualcomm, we are pleased to release the Eudora source code for its historical interest, and with the faint hope that it might be resuscitated.
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I will muse more about that later. I started Eudora in 1988, at the University of Illinois, about four years before I came to Qualcomm. We began it because the internet was a growing and burgeoning place, but email was not really established on the desktop computers that people were using at the time. It was something that you logged in to some mainframe computer to do, and with the ease of use that the desktop operating systems brought, that just wasn’t the right way for people to do email anymore.
It took Dorner just over a year to create the first version of Eudora, which had 50,000 lines of C code and ran only on the Apple Macintosh. Like many university-produced programs, it was available to anyone for free. Why did he call it Eudora? Why I Live at the P.
I felt like I lived at the post office. In 1991, Qualcomm, a communications company in San Diego famous for CDMA cellular communications technology, licensed Eudora from the University of Illinois. Dorner was eventually hired by them to continue to develop it, working remotely from his home in Illinois. They knew that the internet would fuel the need for wireless data, and they thought that email would be one of the drivers. They also thought it prudent to diversify beyond ICs for wireless technology into software applications. But Eudora as a Mac-only product wouldn’t cut it. Qualcomm project manager John Noerenberg assigned Jeff Beckley and Jeff Gehlhaar in San Diego the task of making an MS-DOS and then a Windows version of the program.