Mozilla fans have been enjoying version 3.0 of the foundation's popular Firefox web-browser for some time - long enough, in fact, that the current stable build is version 3.5 - but its e-mail oriented brother, Thunderbird, has long languished at version 2.0.0.x.

Originally, the major version numbers of Firefox and Thunderbird - which are designed to fit together to provide web-browsing, e-mail, RSS, and newsgroup functionality - coincided, but some time ago the more popular Firefox project outstripped Thunderbird and has stormed ahead ever since.

Thankfully, Thunderbird appears to be catching up with the news - reported over on DownloadSquad - that Thunderbird 3.0 has finally received an official release, and brings some neat new toys with it.

Firstly, and most impressively, is the introduction of tabs. Long since a staple of the modern web-browser - heck, even Internet Explorer has tabs these days - Thunderbird's tab support mirrors big brother Firefox's, with the ability to open different views or folders in different tabs and easily switch between, with the software remembering what tabs were open on the last run and presenting them back next time you open Thunderbird up.

This latest release also promises better cross-platform support, with the latest builds of Windows 7 and Mac OS X fully supported - along with improved integration with Google's Gmail service.

Searches have been improved with the introduction of 'filtered searches' and a timeline, along with 'smart folders' - folders which can contain e-mail from multiple accounts. An easy way to archive old e-mail has also been added, along with an improved wizard for setting up new mail accounts.

The full release is available from the MozillaMessaging site now, for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Any Thunderbird fans rejoicing to see the project get a much-needed overhaul, or is offline e-mail dead in favour of web-based services like Gmail anyway? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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