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Linux Software Technology

Linux Desktop Email Key to Success 478

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-wait-a-minute dept.
littlepill writes "It looks as though email clients are vital for Linux to succeed in the desktop battle. ZDNet says, "the lack of a powerful email application could hinder the adoption of Linux on the desktop". So, even though Novell's Evolution is one viable and valid product, it seems that there is a clear "message to application vendors to focus on developing a quality email application for the Linux desktop"." I'm unconvinced- I think webmail will soon be replacing client side readers for all but power users.
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Linux Desktop Email Key to Success

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  • by daeley (126313) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:09PM (#14159388) Homepage
    Mozilla developers are already addressing this issue. The Mozilla Foundation recently published an initial roadmap for 'Lightning', the project to integrate its calendar application Sunbird with its email application Thunderbird.

    Soooo, it's not so much that there's any hindering going on. And like the Magic 8 Ball, Ask Again Later.
  • E-mail or more? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:09PM (#14159390)

    Do they really mean just e-mail, or do they mean a replacement for Outlook? There are many decent e-mail clients on many platforms, but IME it's the lack of things like calendars and Exchange connectivity that get in the way at the office, and cause things like Thunderbird to be rejected even though there's a Windows version.

    • Re:E-mail or more? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ironsides (739422) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:27PM (#14159634) Homepage Journal
      Do they really mean just e-mail, or do they mean a replacement for Outlook?

      Full replacement for outlook, including contact sharing, one central server where everything is stored on, calendar and appointment scheduling and so on. Once they have that, businesses will start adopting it. Assuming it is as usable (for users and administrators) as the current MS Outlook system is.
    • Re:E-mail or more? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NardofDoom (821951) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:09PM (#14160083)
      That's also BS. My boss was amazed that, for the first time ever, someone accepted the 'invitations' that get sent out when he schedules meetings in Outlook. Why? Because I was running OS X and Mail opened the event, added it to iCal, and responded to it. I tried the same thing in Thunderbird with the Calendar extension, and it worked the same.
      • Re:E-mail or more? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by div_2n (525075)
        Which version of Thunderbird and Calendar? Last I checked (last night), the Calendar extension AND iCal weren't compatible with the latest and greatest versions including 1.5.
      • Re:E-mail or more? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tim C (15259)
        My boss was amazed that, for the first time ever, someone accepted the 'invitations' that get sent out when he schedules meetings in Outlook.

        Your boss is an idiot. He's paid money for Outlook and Exchange licences and isn't even using the single feature that makes Outlook a half-way worthwhile piece of software (because dog knows, it sucks arse compared to every single email client I've ever used; that's not really its fault though, it's not email client, it's a groupware/calendaring app with email thrown i
  • by Daimaou (97573) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:10PM (#14159395)
    Windows doesn't have a decent email client either but they seem to be doing okay on the desktop.
  • I've itched about this before as well - Thunderbird very well could blow away Outlook in many organizations, but the CALENDAR *SUCKS* - Sorry, Sunbird sucks more ass than anything that has even sucked ass before. The last time I tried it, it was incapable of recognizing its own calendar files, instead they were opening as plain old text in Mozilla.

    Here's my idea: Ditch flippin Chatzilla. Put a lot of effort towards the calendar.

    The Calendar is one of the big reasons (that I have found) that people stick with Microsoft Outlook.

    It doesn't even have to be the whiz-bang calendar like Outlook has, but it'd be nice if it would actually work worth a crap.
    • I've itched about this before as well - Thunderbird very well could blow away Outlook in many organizations, but the CALENDAR *SUCKS*

      It's not just the calendar. Can you maintain a shared contact list or multiple lists on a server using Thunderbird? Before someone mentions an LDAP directory keep in mind that you can't modify those LDAP contacts from within Thunderbird itself. Unless I'm missing some hidden feature.


  • The key to Linux not failing is email.

    Without it, it will fail. Not failing != success.

    I do agree in thinking webmail is the future.
  • by suso (153703) *
    Eh hem, at the risk of being marked as flamebait, I would like to say that it should have been "Intelligent people are Linux Desktop's key to success". For someone to say that Linux has a lack of powerful email clients is just absurd. People just don't know where to look or realize that sometimes, programs like mutt, fetchmail and all the other "do one thing well" programs are a better solution than having a large bloaty email app. If you don't believe me, look at the state of Internet email as caused b
    • That's exactly the sort of mentality that keeps Linux off the desktop at companies. Sample question you'll hear at the company-wide mandatory mutt training session:

      How do I set up a meeting, viewing everyone's schedules at a glance, reserving an available room and projector, with mutt?
      • by Seumas (6865) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:27PM (#14159639)
        How do I set up a meeting, viewing everyone's schedules at a glance, reserving an available room and projector, with mutt?

        What the hell do any of those things have to do with email?!

        I guess that's the one nice thing about working for a UNIX company. Or corporate calendar is a calendar app. Our corporate email is an email app. Our corporate browser is a browser app. Not really any need to combine them all, increasing the concurrent footprint and complexity posing additional stability risks.
        • by masklinn (823351) <<slashdot.org> <at> <masklinn.net>> on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:32PM (#14159689)
          What the hell do any of those things have to do with email?!

          The fact that the ZDNet guys are to journalism what China is to freedom, and couldn't understand the difference between an Email client (Thunderbird, Mutt, Pine, Outlook Express) and a Groupware application/client (Outlook) to save their lives.

        • From: generic-man
          To: Seumas
          Subj: Meeting tomorrow at 5?

          Are you free tomorrow at 5?
    • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:27PM (#14159633)
      People just don't know where to look or realize that sometimes, programs like mutt, fetchmail and all the other "do one thing well" programs are a better solution than having a large bloaty email app.

      That kind of bullshit doesn't fly in a corporate environment. Perhaps you've never worked in a corporation that uses groupware effectively.

      And "mutt" being better than Outlook? What are you smoking! 90% of the people in a corporate environment can barely use Outlook - there is no way that you are ever going to get them to use mutt.

      How about things like HTML email, shared calendaring, or any of the other things that you can do with Evolution / Outlook?

      Before you go pissing all over the IS departments of major corporations, you should at least have the courtesy to think why Exchange/Outlook might be so popular:

      - Active Directory integration
      - Single server / desktop program for calendaring, email, contacts, etc.
      - Distribution lists, polls, meeting requests and other features that are simple enough for the typical office user to use
      - Integrated server solution (don't need different programs for IMAP, SMTP, webmail, etc.)
      - Excellent webmail experience using AJAX
      - Contact / Calendar / Task / Mail integration with PocketPC, Palm, and BlackBerry

      After spending multiple hours mucking with different (poorly documented) configuration formats, multiple different daemons, mucking with the DB - it's really clear that Linux just isn't there. Exchange is easier to install, easier to configure, and easier to manage.

      • Scalix (Score:2, Informative)

        by NINJacob (88686)
        It appears Scalix [scalix.com] offers all of this. Anybody have any experience with it?
      • by suso (153703) *
        Perhaps you've never worked in a corporation that uses groupware effectively.

        I have and I am. Worked in a few of them for long periods of time. Sure, being ignorant in such an environment may be the status quo, but that doesn't make it a good goal or example to set. The other day I about smacked an executive because of the attitudes they had towards their password. It is that kind of attitude that makes it so easy to hack corporate networks nowadays.

        If we continue to make applications that appeal to stu
    • You're not going to get adoption, particularly by business, by saying "suck it up and drop your email and group management software under one hood and use half a dozen apps of varying degrees of interoperability instead."

      It's a major piece of the Linux puzzle still missing. We need an Exchange/Outlook set of apps. If you can produce a unified groupware package that functions well and is reasonably easy to administrate, then I guarantee you, businesses will really perk up and take notice. Like it or not,

    • "Intelligent people are Linux Desktop's key to success"

      "Intelligent people" are not the majority of internet users, or even email users. The majority of the market just wants the application to look pretty and work. They don't want to configure anything - moving the mouse to the start button is enough of a challenge thanks. They don't want to have to remember keys, etc etc. And to be perfectly honest, they shouldn't have to. It should "just work" (TM). Until the linux community understands this, it will nev
  • thunderbird? (Score:5, Informative)

    by 5n3ak3rp1mp (305814) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:11PM (#14159409) Homepage
    was mozilla thunderbird [mozilla.com] completely overlooked in this FUD [wikipedia.org]-filled article?

    I second the webmail thing. Before I quit my last windows-dominated job (to try my hand at this [rubyonrails.com] full-time), it was common for me to use the IE-based Outlook Web Access client since Outlook itself was often buggier.
    • Re:thunderbird? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WTBF (893340) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:17PM (#14159504)
      I use Thunderbird as my mail client on my desktop and I think it is great, however it is lacking one big feature: calendar. I know there is Sunbird however it is (IMO) complete rubbish. Outlook may be lacking in some areas, however until thunderbird gets a decent calendar (as well as calendar sharing, todo lists etc) then it will not be suitable for the majority of businesses running Outlook.
      • Re:thunderbird? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kimvette (919543)
        . . . and that's been holding me back from punting Windows completely off all our servers. :(

        Whether or not you want to admit it, Microsoft has a great offering where groupware is concerned.
    • Not really, the issue here is that the hordes of mindless ZDNet goons can't tell the difference between an Email app (Mozilla Thunderbir) and a Groupware suite (Outlook).

      To these failures of the journalism world, if you can get emails through it it's an email client.

      So the headline should really state "ZDNET Fails To Grasp That A Groupware Application Is Not An Email Client"

  • In fact, there's not much I need a Windows machine for.

    Mutt works far better than any email program I have used on Windows -- including Outlook, Eudora, and Thunderbird.
    FireFox is all I need for web browsing.
    GAIM is all I need for IMing.

    But, I haven't found a replacement for Agent for USENET access. Everything I've used on other platforms is inferior.

  • by ChipMonk (711367) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:12PM (#14159420) Journal
    It doesn't let you work on email off-line. Also, bringing your messages to your local machine makes them somewhat easier to protect. Are you worried about someone reading your email? Disconnect from the 'net.

    (No, it isn't the perfect solution. But I trust my system more than I trust my ISP.)
    • Your mail still goes through your isp. If someone breaks into your isp they can simply read the mail spool files or add a redirect to keep a copy. They could also install something to sniff for outgoing emails. I do know people who got burned when smaller isps get rooted.
  • The only thing missing from Thunderbird in my opinion is built-in calender/meeting functionality, which exists as extensions and standalone apps, albeit in beta.

    What are the downsides?
  • by garcia (6573) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:13PM (#14159434) Homepage
    I'm unconvinced- I think webmail will soon be replacing client side readers for all but power users.

    Why? Webmail is slow at times and your Internet connection could be unavailable or only available at intervals. GMail, while great and all, isn't something I'm comfortable with even though I have 100s of labels and filters to make it readable. It's extremely slow on older CPUs and just b/c Google thinks that you don't need the "Folder concept" doesn't mean I don't want that.

    With Webmail I can't get my e-mail to my machine and HOLD IT. I like the feeling that my e-mail is stored on *my* machine. I choose to archive my e-mail at GMail but it's not something I *must* have. In fact, depending on their future choices, I may remove all that e-mail and go back to just having it archived on WORM media.
    • Business travellers especially like to have their email stored locally, so they can work on a plane, for example. Although some airlines are starting to offer wireless connectivity on their flights, it's going to be a while before it's ubiquitous.

      Sure, eventually we'll all have a high-bandwidth connection all of the time. But until that happens, a useful offline mode is a critical feature for many users.

    • Why? Webmail is slow at times and your Internet connection could be unavailable or only available at intervals.

      And...what about people with multiple email addresses? It isn't that hard to set up Thunderbird/Mozilla Suite, and it saves you having to open like 3 browser windows (or ideally tabs) to check your webmail.
    • If you use Google Desktop, it can save a copy of your Gmail for offline searching.

      Unless you are on a Mac or Linux that is.
    • by courtarro (786894) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:28PM (#14159650) Homepage
      You're a power user; that's why the editorial made the distinction. I have two close friends who use Gmail and refuse to entertain the idea of checking it using POP with an app like Thunderbird. They love the webmail interface and don't seem to mind setting it as their homepage to facilitate easy checking. Offline browsing used to be a necessity when you paid hourly for internet access, but so many people consider their internet connection a permanent fixture and don't worry about the negatives of downtime or a possible catastrophic host failure that deletes all their archives. Besides, with all the spyware worries and people's distrust of their own computer, non-power users are probably more likely to trust Google or Yahoo with their email data anyway.

      In most cases, I've had a pretty difficult time explaining the POP paradigm to less tech-savvy folks anyway. Before I manage to fix things, they don't understand why their friends are getting bounced emails about "full accounts" when their local inbox in OE is empty. Gmail and other webmail services remove that confusion and additionally provide the feature that the email-checking experience is roughly identical on any machine they use to check their mail. Non-power users simply don't consider it worth the effort to use a local mail reader.

  • by shic (309152) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:13PM (#14159436)
    I'm unconvinced- I think webmail will soon be replacing client side readers for all but power users.

    Bobbins. Even users who would join the luddites given half a chance, in my experience, prefer to use a proper mail client as soon as email becomes a part of everyday life.

    I'm a fan of Thunderbird (in its new 1.5beta form) - though even with that I'm frustrated by the lack of support for updatable LDAP (or other shared) address books. That and 'grammar checking' are the two things I wish FOSS could catch up with. Outlook & exchange have had these essentials covered for years. FOSS needs a lightweight feature-complete email client - I'm still waiting.

  • Prefer thunderbird (Score:5, Interesting)

    by viniosity (592905) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:14PM (#14159445) Homepage Journal
    I've used both Thunderbird and Evolution extensively. In fact, my company has asked me to recommend a mail client going forward if/when we do switch to linux. Hands down Thunderbird is the winner. Here's why:

    1. Evolution deletes mail by putting it into a virtual folder and hiding the original message in your inbox. This is ok and seamless to the end user UNLESS you happen to also use webmail. In which case your inbox will be cluttered by messages you thought you'd gotten rid of ages ago. The evolution team has flat out refused to address this issue and has been calling this 'not a bug' (which is true) since 2001.

    2. Same as above but for Junk Mail.

    3. Finding unread messages in Evolution is difficult. Sorting in general is more flexible in Thunderbird IMHO.

    4. Thunderbird is cross-platform. From a corporate standpoint this has let me train the entire staff on Thunderbird before installing linux on any workstation. Once linux is installed, they will be using all their familiar apps but without the viruses, spyware, and blue screens of death.

    5. Thunderbird will eventually get calendaring as part of Mozilla Lightning. While that's probably years away, I am patient and hopefuly that this will allow us to eventually get back full exchange-type functionality. Regardless, the calendar is not critical for our office.

    Evolution does have some great features, notably beagle integration which I would love love love to see in Thunderbird. Unfortunately I don't have the needed talent to make that happen..

    I always try really hard to use evolution because of beagle integration and I always end up going back to Thunderbird which I feel is a good enough client to satisfy the typical corporate desktop. At least for small businesses who don't need the calendar.

    • by loftwyr (36717) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:31PM (#14159677)
      6. Lack of easy spam filtering. Evolution uses server (if any) spam filters. Trying to hook up Evolution to spamassasin was a pain as you only got the yes/no filter option without the SA headers being used. If I wanted to autodelete spam with a high rating, I was out of luck. Add that to 2, which made training a pain, I got upset fast.

      7. Evolution Palm integration sucks. Without the simplest things like category exchange, you end up with XXX entries in the address book with no easy way to keep different types separate.

      I gave up on it until the dev team realize that they're needs aren't the needs of the general public and certainly aren't the needs of the business user.
    • by Coryoth (254751)
      3. Finding unread messages in Evolution is difficult. Sorting in general is more flexible in Thunderbird IMHO.

      Huh? This one I just don't understand. Finding unread messages is trivial in Evolution - just look in the "Unread Messages" virtual folder which contains all unread messages, and only unread messages. If for some reason your copy of evolution didn't come configured with such a thing, it's trivial to set up (Tools->Virtual Folder Editor create a new one and set "Status is not read" as the criteria
  • There is no way this person is thinking straight, with the features of Mozilla and technologies like AJAX the browser is becoming the app. Couple this with the growth of thin clients (think about where you work; how many people there *NEED* a full blown $2000 desktop computer to check email and trade word docs? Sure coders probably prefer a beefy box, but why not have them on a grid of computers to really get some performance? I'm getting off topic, but come on, Evolution has all the features that even '
  • bah to webmail (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ed 'g3' (231005)
    Why is there a preoccupation with webmail? It's an annoying buzzwordy type solution - oh look, we've got WEBMAIL - and is crap compared to a proper desktop client. And yes, i've got gmail. Why would I want to spend time jumping to the next screen of 20 messages (outlook webmail anyone) when i can scroll properly through thousands in a desktop client? I can't think of a *single* advantage of webmail except for the ability to access email from any pc on the web - which in my book relegates it to a backup solu
  • Some users suggested that end user training issues could be alleviated if Linux supported more common desktop application such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.
    Yo, Linus, are you listening? How come you don't support MS Office? Get with it, man!
  • Evolution (Score:5, Funny)

    by saskboy (600063) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:15PM (#14159469) Homepage Journal
    I got a chance to use Ximian Evolution once in a Linux computer lab several years ago at University, and I was impressed by how much better it was than Outlook Express, and felt a lot like Outlook. I'm not sure how good it is at the advanced calendar sharing that some offices seem to demand these days, but it strikes me as a worthy successor to Outlook.

    Although I have a feeling it would never be too popular in Kansas.
    • by digitaldc (879047) *
      You could probably convince Kansans to start using it, as long as you explain in detail about how it was indeed intelligently designed.
  • Lack of a powerful email client? What?

    1. Evolution
    2. Kmail <-- my favourite, really nice filters & GPG, Cert handling
    3. Thunderbird
    4. Mozilla Mail

    This has got to be annother of those troll articles.
  • is mutt [mutt.org] or, better yet, mutt-ng [berlios.de] if you're using IMAP.
    No, really.
  • I think the downfall of Linux is going to be the lack of proper GROUPWARE software. There's 'opengroupware' but it's nothing worth writing home about. There might be a few stragglers here and there, but by in large, nothing competes with Exchange other than Notes.

    I for one am looking forward to seeing a true competitor to Exchange.
  • by algae (2196) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:17PM (#14159501)
    Much as I'd like to use Evolution, it's got a few show-stopping problems:

    * Leaving POP3 mail on the server is all-or-nothing. I'd like to see the "delete after X days", "delete after it's gone from the inbox" options that have existed in other POP3 clients for the past ten years or so.

    * Displaying large messages is slooooow. As a sysadmin, I regularly deal with 1-5MB log files in my email. If I have to wait 30 seconds each for them to display, I'm not gonna use that program.

    * No advanced search. You can't search more than a single mailbox at a time.

    On the upside, the GPG integration is better than any other mail client I've used. Still, until they can deal with these fairly basic problems/lack of features, it's a no-go.
  • "I think webmail will soon be replacing client side readers for all but power users"

    Your task is to go find me some email users who don't behave they're power users. This is kind of the line of thinking that drives many public transit programs; if we make it better, everyone else (not me) will use it...

  • ...as long there are corporate users and compliance/information security stuff to follow.

    For instance, would Microsoft or the FBI trust Google to hold its corporate e-mail system?

    Webmail here doesn't sound realistic.

  • It typically lacks a few features our users would never give up:

    -efficient search and sorting capabilities
    -spell checkers
    -document management (attachments folders)
    -good filtering

    There isn't a webmail I've seen that comes close to matching Tiger's Mail.app, or even the slow but useful Entourage 2004.
  • CmdrTaco said, "I'm unconvinced- I think webmail will soon be replacing client side readers for all but power users."

    This kind of thing hampers the ability of Slashdot editors to be good editors. Slashdot editors are very different people than average. In fact, many people who have little computer knowledge spend a half hour a day or more answering email, and those people need backups of all their email. Email is the preferred method of communicating with business people.
  • One thing that is nice about having people use web based e-mail is that there may be fewer points where information can leak out. If you're not using POP and SMTP to access your mail you don't have to worry about configuring your client to ensure security. It also means that people won't be running outlook express, and you don't have to update and patch all those desktops out there.

    But I don't know if that means that most business users will move over to web-based. There are too many convenience reasons to
  • The survey did not turn up e-mail as a weakness in Linux desktops! (Grumble, obscenity, grumble ...)

    What it turned up was that:

    • Applications availability was the #1 obstacle to adoption, and
    • The most critical application category in the survey was e-mail.

    After that there was a speculation that maybe e-mail is still the killer app, or maybe that Linux needs better mail apps, or something.

    It doesn't help that this is /. pointing to a hosed article in ZD citing coverage [desktoplinux.com] in desktoplinux.com

  • Jeepers, geeks get by in a pinch with: telnet localhost 25

    MAIL FROM: xxxx

    RCPT TO: yyy

    DATA

    The msg

    .

    QUIT

    What more does one need?

  • I find it hard to believe the forture 500 companies and the like are going to say "Let's use gmail" even if they have tons of shares in google. With all the litigation and IP wars going on, companies are going to want to carefully control what and where information is stored. I suppose corps could use their own internal web based email as opposed to "fat" clients, but IIRC Outlook/Exchange already have a web based interface...or at least they did a few years ago at a former company I worked.

    For Joe Public
  • In our case.

    Novell integration and NT server integration
    Virus protection (no system is immune from users)
    Automatic updates (push and pull).
    software management beyond updates (load/unload un/authorized software)
    5250 and 3270 emulation
    Office must run on it.

    Oh, and all of it must have support available 24/7 from known companies. Then to top it off we will need 3 vendors to provide versions of their software to run under linux which will never happen.

    E-Mail is the least of the worries. Its all the other piece
  • The problem, as the article states, isn't email but a "powerful email application" aka Outlook replacement with calendaring and groupware support.

    This has been a big hole for 5 years now. There are a many hurdles to be overcome before Microsoft's stranglehold on corperate infrastructres is loosened. It's nice to see some attention called to this, one of the biggest.
  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:24PM (#14159604) Homepage
    The key problem to mass adoption of a linux desktop is the lack of proprietary apps on linux.

    For example: I work in the dental industry. We use digital xrays and a computerized practice manager. There are few valid options for a practice manager running on linux, and NO digital xray apps.

    Hence, we use windows.

    I think if you go looking, you will see it's much to same for other industries.
  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:25PM (#14159617)
    Listen up gang, the morons at ZDNet will always be publishing a "Linux will fail because....." article. Trolling is all they are good for anymore. Evolution even comes with a FREE connector to talk to Microsoft Exchange and they still post trolls trying to divert development effort into unproductive pursuits.

    No, if you care about Linux on the desktop we need exactly two things.

    1. An open replacement for Microsoft Exchange, so Evolution's connector isn't forever chasing Exchange's taillights and so more shops can get the Exchange monkey off their back. In the same vein as OpenDocument, establish an open standard for the scheduling and calendaring features of Ecchange PHBs love so and ram them hard enough Exchange and Outlook must fully implement them.

    2. Pushing a wee bit harder for OpenDocument. Break MS Office's stranglehold on the world's data files and what OS is under your Office productivity app isn't nearly as important.

    This isn't hard, Microsoft understood it perfectly when they stated the key to victory was to decommoditize the protocols. So long as they succeed in that they keep winning. And just as obviously if we can commoditize everything important in IT, mail, calendaring, directory services, file sharing, etc, we win.
  • e.mail is not the key to victory, neither is plug n play, nor games, nor any of that other stuff.

    The key to victory is corps willingly adopting linux on the desktop, and furthermore, vendors *supporting* it (you know, as in writing drivers and recognizing when someone calls in with linux on their dell box.)

    Until that point in time, linux will be a niche player.
  • That is a really badly written and thought-out article. The survey doesn't say Linux needs "several powerful alternative email apps", just that it needs a powerful email app. Modifying that to "alternatives to Evolution" is the unsupported assertion of the writer, who doesn't even recognize that there are already alternatives. And their other conclusion, that businesses have "culturally shifted" to acccept "open source" has no backup, even if it's true: businesses are accepting Linux as an alternative to Wi
  • I enjoy linux, I really do. It's powerful, it does what you want it to do, and you can customize the hell out of it...and if you're not skilled enough to do it yourself, chances are that someone else has already had the same idea as you, meaning that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. For me, however, this was not always the case.

    I first began to interact with *nix environments in ernest while working for a now absorbed (by Earthlink) isp/hosting provider. There were growing pains, and when there w
  • At work, my email was recently migrated to an exchange server. I use Evolution, so I figured that this would be a good chance to test its exchange capabilities (not that I have used Outlook much).

    Initially, it didn't apply my filters to my new email There was no obvious way to modify server side filters from Evolution. No problem... I used Firefox to connect to the Exchange web interface, and logged in. Hmm... No way to modify server side filters. I called IT. They said "use IE".

    I figure a way to fire
  • 2007 will be the year of Linux on the Desktop! :-)
  • "the lack of a powerful email application could hinder the adoption of Linux on the desktop"

    Uh, what? The selection of email clients for *nix OSes is one area that isn't lacking too sorely. We have email clients for darn near every kind of user and situation. Evolution, KMail, Thunderbird, Pine, Mutt, Opera, /usr/bin/mail, you name it we got it. Most home and business users are happy to use webmail at any rate, so the availability of a native desktop client doesn't seem to me like something that would "hind
  • by demigod (20497) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:44PM (#14159820)
    Must we continue to follow Microsloths mistake of integrating calendaring with e-mail.

    -- sas
  • by vertinox (846076) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:47PM (#14159849)
    Most of the companies I have contact with use Outlook because of its meetings and appointments.

    If a linux program can integrate with email to schedule tasks and meetings and have that information on a central server that everyone can view then that is all they really need.

    Well... They also need server side rules and out of office replies.

    Oh thirdly, they need the ability to recall messages and see if messages have been read by recipient. Its a corporate thing, trust me.

    Oh and delegation! All these corp suits have this administrative assistants who need to be able to modify their calenders, read, their emails, send on their behalf, and then schedule meetings and set reminders.

    Outlook can do all of the above, so can Groupwise, and so can Lotus Notes (well except the recall message and read receipt feature).

    If a Linux program (or OS X program for that matter) can do all of the above then companies will be able to switch without too much problem. Pop mail and simple Imap won't cut it.
  • by ewe2 (47163) <[ewetoo] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:14PM (#14160129) Homepage Journal
    It's got little to do with actual functionality and everything to do with the perception that you need an Outlook replacement for email.
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:17PM (#14160160) Homepage Journal
    To say that Linux (or any other OS -- hell, even my old Amiga kicked ass) is even a slight shred of a hint of a shadow of a suggestion of 1% weaker than MS Windows in terms of email clients, is wrong. I don't know of any platform where you can't get some perfectly good email client. Even Windows has had Sylpheed ported to it. ;-)

    They don't really mean email. They mean a lot of extra stuff, including things I would never guess is email-related, such as calendars. Well, a todo list isn't "email!" They should have said what they really mean: that the platform is weak on "groupware" or something like that. That may be debatable too, but at least then they would be saying something that isn't completely stupid, misleading, and insulting/flamebait.

    As for webmail, webmail is something I'll never take seriously, because you can't have privacy with webmail. Cryptography must be performed at a trusted endpoint, not a remote server. Webmail is a technological step backwards for email, simply one of those bad ideas left-over from the dot-com era, whose flashiness and "coolness" has allowed it to survive in spite of its fundamental flaws.

    It's only a matter of time until some well-written news story breaks where some government gets caught red-handed drift-net-fishing through lots of innocent people's email (maybe combined with the realization that someone's robot is reading your email to decide what to advertise to you). When that happens, more people will wake up to the fact that having email be unencrypted is just plain dumb. How many times that can happen before critical mass is achieved, I have no idea -- but the day is coming, and it will be death to webmail.

  • Uh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lewp (95638) * on Thursday December 01, 2005 @07:42PM (#14162095) Journal
    At present, Novell's Evolution, a groupware client for Linux, provides email, calendaring, tasks and contact management functionality and can connect to Microsoft Exchange, but there are few alternatives.

    I thought one of the major complaints about desktop Linux was its inability to back a single pony, so to speak. That there were so many alternatives and competing products that the whole landscape suffered. That used to be the line, at least.

    Now, apparently, it's the fact that there aren't enough choices. Well, guess what? That's wrong too. You've got the big names, the Outlook killers: Evolution, Thunderbird, KMail; and the smaller, more specialized ones: Sylpheed Claws or one of the eleventy billion other clients on Freshmeat; and if you need Real Ultimate Email Power more than anything, there's still nothing around that even comes close to the flexibility of Procmail+Mutt+Vim or Gnus.

    Truth is, though, that none of this matters. Huge companies are willing to give email away for free, make it highly available, and give you more storage capacity than you'd get if you were willing to pay (my Exchange account at work is limited to ~100MB, Gmail gives me >2GB). You get collaborative spam filtering, virus scanning, keyboard shortcuts for nerds like me who want to blow through mail, some of the best search algorithms in the world with near-instant speed, universal access from anywhere, and now hot new drag and drop UIs.

    In fact, probably the first thing AJAX will kill (and I'm not even *that* big on AJAX) is traditional email. Email has long been a pain in the ass, and offloading it to companies who can deal with its site-by-site issues in bulk (blacklisting, storage, availability) is a huge win for people without the resources of a Fortune 500 company. The day Gmail lets you point your own domain's MX record at their servers and deliver mail for your own domain to your Gmail account (making this a cheap, but for-pay feature would be a fabulous way to make money on the service) is the day I take my SMTP server down for good.

    Email client? Hah. I'm looking for ways to get email software and traditional email infrastructure as far away from my computers as possible.

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