E-Mail / Newsreader
Microsoft Outlook (along with its more limited cousin Outlook Express) is full of gee-whiz flashy features, with little thought given to security, making it responsible for most of the virus traffice on the internet today. It has several security holes that make it easy for crackers to infect your computer even without you knowing about it. It then helps spread viruses even further by letting them use your Outlook address book to target all your friends. And as if this mess weren't bad enough, the next version will also let other people delete messages they send to you and restrict what you can do with them. Fortunately you can avoid this disaster-waiting-to-happen by instead using a mail program that doesn't support these "features", and instead focuses on serving your needs.
[Some of the following programs handle e-mail mail, some handle Usenet news news, and some do both.]
close match high quality low price challenge MS mail news Mozilla Thunderbird is a stand-alone mail client developed alongside Firefox using much of the same technology. It supports the IMAP protocol which allows much more flexible managing of your e-mail from multiple locations, including the sort of filtering that Outlook Express refuses to do in this mode. Furthermore, it's capable of smart filtering, learning what you consider trash and either flagging or disposing of it for you. Identical versions are available for all the major operating systems. my choice Windows Mac OS Unix-like
close match high quality low price challenge MS mail news Netscape Messenger contains a pretty impressive set of features, and it's included free as part of the Mozilla and Netscape packages. It also supports IMAP and smart filtering. You can plug in digital certificates that allow you to encrypt messages you share with your friends/coworkers. Windows Mac OS Unix-like
close match high quality low price challenge MS mail Ximian Evolution would effectively be "Outlook for Unix", except they neglected to duplicate the security problems. {grin} It's a free open-source mail/calendar/to-do/information-management tool that supports all the standard and popular protocols (IMAP, iCalendar, LDAP), so it works with most other communication systems. With the optional Ximian Connector module (a commercial product), it can fully integrate with MS Exchange just like the commercial version of Outlook. Unix-like
high quality low price challenge MS mail Pegasus Mail is one of the original and classic full-featured free e-mail programs, created to work with the also-free Mercury mail server (but works fine with any standard server). It has a lot of capabilities, including support for multiple users on the same machine, filtering, form letters, IMAP, spell-checking, and best of all it's entirely free. Available for Windows, Mac, and reportedly the last fully-supported e-mail client for good old DOS. Windows Mac OS DOS
high quality low price mail Incredimail is e-mail with all the pizazz you could hope for, designed to look as cool as e-mail does in the movies. You'll probably annoy the hell out of anyone whose e-mail doesn't support all these bells and whistles (or perhaps even more if it does), but at least you'll be having fun. And it's free. Be advised: Incredimail is "spyware": it is known to report information - presumably about your activities online or software installed - back to Incredimail. Windows
high quality mail PMMail is a powerful program that can track multiple e-mail accounts, filter messages based on complex criteria, import your saved messages from various other e-mail programs, spell-check your messages, and (for a little extra money) encrypt/decrypt messages with PGP. Available for Windows and OS/2. Windows OS/2
high quality low price news XNews is a popular, feature-rich newsreader (formerly known as News Xpress) that's been resurrected, and still offered by its developer for free. It features easy, intuitive browsing and reading of articles, an advanced "scoring" system for filtering out jerks and topics you're not interested in, and has won the Good Net Keeping Seal of Approval. It's constantly being improved. Windows
high quality low price news TIFNY is a newsreader designed for people who are more interested in downloading pictures, music files, and other binaries, rather than discussions. Not only does it offer filtering of incoming files, assemble multi-part files automatically, and show thumbnails of the files you've downloaded, it has a built-in AVI, MPEG, and MP3 players. And it's free, courtesy of on-screen adverts. The bad news is that you need MS Internet Explorer 4 or later installed on your machine for it to work. Windows
See also: Mail Transport Agents, Usenet News servers
close match a close match or substitute for Microsoft's product
high quality an especially high-quality alternative
low price an inexpensive (or even free) alternative
challenge MS offers a strong challenge to Microsoft's influence
my choice my personal selection
Runs on: Windows Windows, Mac OS Mac OS, Unix-like Unix-like systems, Java Java-compatible systems, Symbian Symbian OS, Palm OS Palm OS, Netware Netware, OpenVMS OpenVMS, BeOS BeOS, OS/2 OS/2, Amiga Amiga, RISC OS RISC OS, DOS DOS
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