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Spicebird - the Outlook alternative

Posted by ClifNotes, Jun 2008, permalink E-mail Programs


Here's a great review of Spicebird from Jeff Needle. Jeff is a welcome contributor here and a knowledgeable member of the alt.comp.freeware news group.


From Jeff Needle, June 2008

For years, software authors have tried to put together a reasonable alternative to the bloated and expensive Microsoft Outlook. I don't know of anyone who has actually accomplished this, but Spicebird comes pretty darn close. And it's free!


Built on the Mozilla engine (it looks and feels much like Seamonkey and Thunderbird), Spicebird offers an e-mail client, a newsgroup reader, an RSS feed reader, a calendar and a to do list, all in one package. Here some of its strengths and some of its weaknesses:


First, when you start Spicebird, you're presented with a totally customizable "home page" that typically contains a calendar, a summary of things scheduled for the next few days, a clock and a series of areas to plant your RSS feeds. All of this is changeable by the user to either include or exclude any part of it. Components of Spicebird are found on tabs at the top of the page, making switching from one module to another very easy. (One of the bugs: you're given the option of including "to do" items with your calendar display, but this doesn't seem to be working right now.)


If you're familiar with any Mozilla mail project, then you'll be right at home with the mail/newsgroup capability. Quite nice and very easy to use.


Calendaring is also done easily, with a nice recurring appointment feature and lots of room to make notes about the appointment.


The address book will be considered pretty bare boned to some, but it is at least as good as the address book found in other Mozilla projects. If you hate Mozilla, you won't like Spicebird .


Instant messaging is also built in. I never use it, so I can't comment on it.


Unlike Seamonkey, Spicebird doesn't have a browser built in. I wish it did. But unlike other products, Spicebird keeps all its data in one place, making for a very easy backup and restore experience.


Spicebird is still in beta, so there are a few snags. I've managed to work around them; I'm hoping they'll be fixed in a public release due out soon. I have begun using Spicebird as my primary mail client. I've found it to be fast and easy to use.


The home page for Spicebird is http://www.spicebird.com/ . The product can be downloaded from here.