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Mozilla hatches Thunderbird 3 release candidate

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Thunderbird 3 is nearly ready to leave the nest.

Mozilla Messaging on Wednesday conjured up the first release candidate for version 3.0 of their popular open source email and news client.

What's that mean to you, the reader who doesn't like plunking fledgling code on their system? Only that portentous feeling that the final product is nigh. For braver souls, the Mozilla team specifically wants testing and feedback on the software's new search tools, tabbed email, message archiving, new mail account setup wizard, and improvements for developers.

Checking the clock, the RC1 comes 15 days later than Mozilla's Thunderbird 3 schedule estimates. We'll forgive them because they say RC1 includes over 100 changes from the previous beta 4 release.

Thunderbird 3 is based on the Gecko 1.9.1.5 platform and includes what Mozilla calls some "major re-architecting" for improved performance, stability, and web compatibility. New toys in Thunder B3 include search with advanced filtering tools and auto-complete, tabbed email messages, a redesigned mail toolbar, smart folders, an improved address book, and a new add-ons manager. A more exhaustive list of new features can be found in the release notes - and you can also find known issues with RC1 there too.

Thunderbird 3 RC1 can be downloaded here for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. But note that version 3 no longer supports Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, or Max OS X versions prior to 10.4 Tiger.

A final release date for Thunderbird 3 has yet to be announced. Mozilla may pump out more release candidates if there's any trouble afoot. And of course, don't install RC1 on any production environments or evil spirits may haunt your IT network. ®

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