Before They Spoiled the Software

And Two More Previous Favorites

These two applications are popular--but are the current versions the best?

Adobe Reader

This widely used program is designed to do one thing, and one thing alone--let you read Adobe PDF files. Once upon a time that meant a svelte program. Today it means a sumo wrestler. Don't believe us? Just take a look at the file sizes. Version 2.0 was a 1.4MB download. The current version 8.1 weighs in at a hefty 22.3MB.

The best earlier version of this classic, says one visitor, is Adobe Reader 5.0.5. "The bloat showed up in version 6," he says, "and even though it started disappearing in version 8, there's still a splash screen, annoying updater, and so on."


Lots of long-time PC users have fond memories of this e-mail client; indeed, for many old-timers, it was the first e-mail software they ever used. But some of the changes the program introduced over the years, such as a feature that read your e-mail to warn you if it was potentially insulting, seemed less than necessary to lots of users.

Good news may be on the way. Eudora has gone open source, and future versions are being developed by the Mozilla Foundation. You can get the current version here or pick up an earlier version.

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