It’s here! Less than two weeks ago we gave you a preview of what was to come in the open source Spicebird application, and I’m happy to say that a public Beta is now available.

Spicebird, simply put, is Thunderbird with Lightning installed, plus a few other things. The most unique features would be the customizable homepage and the integrated instant messaging. The homepage lets users select from a limited number of applets, and arrange them in any fashion. Once there are more of these applets available it will be more worthwhile.

Here’s an overview of the features currently available in Spicebird 0.4 Beta:

  • Access email from their service provider using POP/IMAP protocols
  • Manage schedule using calendar and tasks applications
  • Subscribe to others’ public calendars
  • Read news/blogs using RSS subscriptions
  • Manage contacts
  • Chat with friends by using their gtalk or other Jabber accounts

It will take just a few seconds Gmail and Google Talk users to setup the respective accounts. The only thing that I would recommend for future versions of Spicebird is to give Gmail users an option between POP and IMAP access. Right now it defaults to POP, but you can manually setup a Gmail account to use IMAP if you would like.

Now it’s full steam ahead for the Spicebird development team. They are focusing on version 0.7 which will include better instant messaging capabilities, and a bit more polish. I would have to say that this looks very promising.

Download Spicebird 0.4 Beta (Windows & Linux only)
Thanks to Thomas for the tip!