Mozilla, the company behind the alternative web browser Firefox has released the latest version of its email application, Thunderbird, offering a host of new features in usability and security.

“With a host of new and improved features, Thunderbird 1.5 provides users with a robust, free email alternative”, said Christopher Beard, vice president of products at Mozilla Corp.

Version 1.5 will now feature a new automatic update tool that like Windows and Apple's operating system will force push updates to your computer for you to agree to download the latest updates rather than require you to regularly check online yourself.

Other simplistic improvements include a spell check as you type feature and auto save as draft for mail composition.

The new version has also included support for podcasts and has improved general support for RSS.

Security measures come in the face of a built in phishing detector and support for server side spam filtering.

For a more detailed list of improvements, Mozilla has listed them at

Thunderbird has attracted more than 18 million downloads since its launch in December 2004. It is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X and the culmination of a year's worth of feedback from its users.