Email client to the stars

In an interview to the London Times, Ray Tomlinson, described as the inventor of e-mail, explains that he uses Thunderbird.

The more substantive comment in my mind:

Does he think, given the development of other forms of electronic communication such as instant messaging and social networking, that his creation will stand the test of time?

“I suspect possibly we’ll see a morphing of e-mail and other, more instant methods,” he says, “but there will always be a need for people to be able communicate asynchronously, that is, send messages that won’t be read or replied to immediately, and that’s what e-mail allows you to do.”


  1. It’s called ‘The Times’, not ‘The London Times’ – I’d love to know why the citizens of North America continue to get this wrong so often…

    Sorry for nitpicking – it’s obviously great news!


  2. @Doug: I wrote The London Times because “The Times” is ambiguous — it could either refer to The Times (published in London), or to the colloquial phrase commonly used to refer to the New York Times. But you’re right, it’s not the correct name.


  3. I’ve always assumed that North Americans tend to refer to UK newspapers with denominatives like “The London Times” because most US newspapers are named this way, generally being city-based rather than national (presumably because the size of the US and Canada made producing truly national newspapers impractical until recently, whereas in the more compact UK national newspapers have been possible since the spread of the railways in the nineteenth century).

    It’s still wrong of course (‘The Times’ has been called ‘The Times’ and only ‘The Times’ since 1788) and assumes a American-style newspaper market of influential local papers with extensive national and international coverage, which simply doesn’t exist in the UK. Pick up a local paper, like the ‘Derby Evening Telegraph’ or the ‘Liverpool Echo’, and it will be filled almost exclusively with local news. Aside from the London-centric perspective that afflicts all UK media, ‘The Times’ is a national paper (one of several). If there was a paper called ‘The London Times’, people would expect it to be about London.

    I suspect that the colloquial usage of “The Times” to mean ‘The New York Times’ is rare outside North America (and probably rare in some parts of North America: presumably a resident of Los Angeles who says “The Times” is referring to the ‘Los Angeles Times’).

    To avoid ambiguity, a phrase such as “the UK-based newspaper ‘The Times'” would be fine and avoids corrupting the name. Anything like ‘The London Times’ is like calling ‘USA Today’ ‘McLean USA Today’.

    The worst abuse of newspaper naming I’ve seen is when people refer to ‘The Guardian’ as ‘The London Guardian’, despite its historic Manchester roots (though London-based now, it began life as a local paper called ‘The Manchester Guardian’ and retained that name for many years after it went national).


  4. David, you can take comfort in the fact that BBC News variously refers to The Times as The Times in London, The Times of London, and, yes, even The London Times when it needs to distinguish that newspaper from other Times.


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