Email client Eudora is going open source, its owner Qualcomm has announced.

The company is working with The Mozilla Foundation to base the next version of Eudora on Mozilla's Thunderbird email software. "Qualcomm and Mozilla will each participate in, and continue to foster development communities based around the open source Mozilla project, with a view to enhancing the capabilities and ease of use of both Eudora and Thunderbird," said both companies in a statement.

Qualcomm expects the first open source version of Eudora to be released in the first half of next year. In the meantime, it has released the final commercial versions of Eudora at a reduced $19.95 with a six-month tech support period.

Eudora was originally developed by Steve Dorner at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1988 and was the first popular Internet email client for the Macintosh in wide distribution. Qualcomm later acquired the software and released it commercially for Mac and Windows. Dorner is now vice president of technology for Qualcomm's Eudora group.

Dorner said he's excited to see the software returning to the open source community. "Using the Mozilla Thunderbird technology platform as a basis for future versions of Eudora will provide some key infrastructure that the existing versions lacked, such as a cross-platform code base and a world-class display engine. Making it open source will bring more developers to bear on Eudora than ever before," he said.