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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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  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Pine (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:10PM (#14159403)
    What's wrong with pine? :) At least you are safe from worms and viruses.
  • by suso (153703) * on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:10PM (#14159407) Homepage Journal
    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 by large GUI email applications. I'm all for more intuitive interfaces and GUI apps that make

    People, computers are not cars, they are not toasters, they are not televisions.... they are anything that you want them to be, and this is fundamental reason they are hard to use, change so often and are prone to crashing.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • evolution issues (Score:1, Insightful)

    by maryjanecapri (597594) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:13PM (#14159437) Homepage Journal
    I think this article has some very valid points. I will add that one of the issues surrounding Evolution is that:

    a) it's future? who knows what's going to happen to it. Novell isn't making some of the best decisions with regards to it's Linux future. Who knows what they plan to do.

    b) evolutions' inability to be updated. What the heck? I'm still having to run version 2.2.3 because there's no way to update unless I want to compile from source. Yes, I know how to compile from source but the dependencies of that app are a nightmare! and the average joe isn't about to start compiling from source just to update an applicaiton. this is really a show stopper considering tools like yum and apt-get. Why on earth are the evolution developers not making it possible to update their product with the most used tools to do so? makes no sense.

    c) buggy. evolution still has some issues. from random crashes, to the spamassassin daemon issues, to odd UI changes. these are problems that will continue to plague this application.

    don't get me wrong, i've been using evolution since it's beta days and it's come a long, long way. but there was a time when i could solve a lot of the above problems on my own. now i can't.

    but to be honest, i don't see many changes happening in the future. and with Mozilla Thunderbird growing like it is, and the hopes of a calendar integration into Thunderbird, I just might know what my next mail client will be.
  • bah to webmail (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ed 'g3' (231005) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:15PM (#14159461) Journal
    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 solution and not the preferred method of access.
  • Re:HUH? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Intron (870560) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:17PM (#14159503)
    What's wrong with Connector? Evo seems to work as well with Exchange servers as Outlook. I use meetings/calendar all the time.
  • 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.
  • by generic-man (33649) * on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:18PM (#14159506) Homepage Journal
    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 grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy@tpno[ ].org ['-co' in gap]> 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.
  • Re:HUH? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcshum0 (935428) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:25PM (#14159613)
    ...and that can be fixed with a backend change to decent groupware servers running open protocols. Oh, is that it? Well then, I'll just email the admin of my university and insist that he/she immediately take down that exhange server and replace it. Same goes for the admin at my enormous company, whom I'm sure will be more than happy to make a simple backend change to a decent groupware server from MS exchange, nevermind all the management being dependent on MS products.

    the email clients should conform to the backend that is being used in reality, not the other way around.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 cmholm (69081) <(gro.mlohiuam) (ta) (mlohmc)> on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:31PM (#14159684) Homepage Journal
    "Only" power users? Power users were the drivers for the bloat of office applications over the last 15 years. If the power users in which ever office environment aren't satisfied with the amount of crap in an application, the word will get around that it's "crippled". Face it, if a mail client doesn't match or exceed Outlook's feature set (minus the security hassles), the closest it'll get to the mass of business desktops is as a bullet point on C/Net.
  • Re:HUH? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by max born (739948) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:32PM (#14159690)
    Agreed.

    I use mutt [mutt.org] and vim [vim.org] for email. Other than emacs, it doesn't get more powerful than that.

    I think they probably meant easy-to-use.
  • by simong_oz (321118) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:37PM (#14159745) Journal
    "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 never genuinely compete with windows or macos as the OS for Joe Average.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:40PM (#14159775)
    Why is it that no one ever defines their criteria in those articles? Once you do that, it becomes easy to evaluate the current apps. Here's my list.

    #1. Shared email folders. I should be able to share a folder with anyone else in the company. (Totally amazing would be the ability to do so, securely, with anyone on the Internet).

    #2. Shared calendars. Same as #1.

    #3. Send appointments/meeting requests to people via #2.

    #4. Delegation. I should be able to assign various rights to my email to other people so they can check the business crap when I'm on vacation.

    #5. Alias/Roles. I should be able to send items as "webmaster" and "postmaster" and myself.

    Okay, those are my 5. Anyone got anything I missed or any reason why one of those should not be there?
  • Re:thunderbird? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:40PM (#14159780) Homepage Journal
    . . . 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.
  • by suso (153703) * on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:42PM (#14159790) Homepage Journal
    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 stupidity, then we will create nothing in the end but stupid applications that create more stupid users and create a stupid society (because we depend so much on computers). Big applications that do everything lack flexibility and don't evolve.

    And don't ever try to tell me or anybody that just because everybody is stupid, that we should expect nothing but stupidity out of them. We need to try to improve and be a balanced society at a higher level.

    In a few weeks you are going to see me release a piece of software that will not appeal to stupidity, but help to prevent it by encouraging people to do what is best. THAT is what we need in applications.
  • by bafarmer (741199) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:43PM (#14159798)
    I *know* this will be perceived as flamebait....

    The key to Linux's success is for the developers to get smarter. The major problem, IMO, with corporate adoption of Linux is the lack of enterprise-level applications. There are lots of talented people working on lots of great OSS applications that completely miss the mark for mainstream adoption. Developers too often concentrate on getting the basic features of an application working extremely well and completely ignore the advanced features that are crucial for a large enterprise. Can my CIO delegate permission on his mailbox/calendar to his two secretaries to read and reply to emails on his behalf while he is traveling? Can these secretaries change items on his calendar from their office so that they will automatically be synced to his PDA while he is half way around the world? Can I actually teach these secretaries how to do it? If there is a OSS product that can do these things, please let me know so that I can start using it.

    The Linux community is working very hard to create the world's fastest, most fuel-efficient mo-ped and then wondering why Fed-Ex isn't using them in their fleet. Change the target audience from the developer to the corporate user and then develop products for which there is actually a demand.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:57PM (#14159935)
    Hey, two questions:

    1. How much does MS pay you to astroturf?

    2. Where can I get some of that action?

    SBS for home!
  • Re:Pine (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SilverspurG (844751) * on Thursday December 01, 2005 @03:58PM (#14159942) Homepage Journal
    I like reading the forum posts to keep track of the prevailing popular opinions and sometimes to add my own point of view. In this case, after clicking Read More, the first thing I did was search for pine.

    Attachments: check.
    Address book: check.
    Managed folders: check.
    Menu-driven interface: check.
    Configurability: check.
    Full headers: check.
    No bloat: check.
    Secure: check.

    While pine has the option to launch external apps for custom content I don't subscribe to that group. If a file is sent to me I'd much rather save it to the HD so that I can dissect it from there.

    Want to send me an HTML e-mail? DON'T. It's stupid. Send a link to a page if you must or, preferably, use a LART and rewrite the e-mail in plain text.

    Imagine a world where the most prominent communication platform is speech or plain text. Oh the horror. One wonders how man managed to not die out prior to 1995.
  • by Brushfireb (635997) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:01PM (#14159963)
    First, let me preface this by saying that when I was in the consulting gig (for 5+ years, just got out 3 mo's ago), I set up a number of Windows 2k3 SBS servers, and they do have advantages.

    BUT

    Outlook Web Access is just plain crap. Its slow, requires oodles of bandwidth, and is only about 20% that Outlook 2003 really is. Dont believe me? Try to open 3 shared calendars in OWA. It doesnt work. SBS makes up for it in other areas.

    I think there is something to Webmail replacing Desktop email, but not for a long, long time. How many people read IMAP email in Offline mode while travelling? I know I do. I'm not giving up my thunderbird anytime soon, until I can use Webmail in offline mode (which doesnt seem really feasible). Granted, I am a power use, so Taco wasnt speaking to me.

    Brushfire
  • Re:E-mail or more? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Arandir (19206) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:12PM (#14160110) Homepage Journal
    I agree. I use KMail and it's a great email client. But even as a part of Kontact, it's still not going to replace Outlook.

    The problem isn't the email client, the problem is the email server. For whatever stupid reason, Exchange has become a business standard. Companies are even more locked into Exchange than they are MSWord. It doesn't matter that there are plugins and shit for Kontact, Evolution, etc., until there's a no-config drop-in replacement that works seamlessly with Exchange, big businesses won't switch.

    The only thing that will change this is for Exchange to stop being the standard. That means something else will have to trickle-up from small businesses. We should stop trying to convert the Fortune 500 and start selling Open Source to the mom and pops.
  • by ewe2 (47163) <ewetoo@gmail. c o m> 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.

  • Scale (Score:3, Insightful)

    by charnov (183495) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:35PM (#14160321) Homepage Journal
    Take the example of a meeting I just got out of. A multi-departmental shareholders meeting with over 12,000 people in 70+ countries all in different time zones. It took 72 hours to set it up so everyone could be available. It all coordinated automagically via Exchange calendering. This is not an uncommon occurance although 100 people is more the norm for project or department meetings. Until you have actually worked for a large (think 10,000 or more employees) organization that has a high need for communication (which would be about any company), you wont get how essential this type of communication is. Also, remember it's not just people you are scheduling, but satellite or circuit time, rooms, video teleconferencing equipment, laptops, etc.
  • by Explodicle (818405) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:40PM (#14160373) Homepage
    I use Wine [winehq.com] on my computer a lot, and it seems to work pretty well. I think eventually, more developers will start releasing their products for Linux as well as Windows. For instance, as a mechanical engineer, I use Pro/ENGINEER extensively, and it's out for Linux as well as Windows.
  • by Dutchmang (74300) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @05:01PM (#14160601)
    Take a breath and read this before you Notes haters start slagging. If you really want a chance at removing Exchange for Linux you need to look at Domino. And don't bitch if you haven't seen version 6.5 or later.

    The reasons businesses deploy integrated e-mail is that they don't want to deploy multiple products or immature products or both. Domino is regarded by admins as far superior -- it's much more secure, scalable, reliable, runs on all sorts of different hardware and OSs. It just does. Companies run it on Linux (RH, SUSE, and zSeries Linux) with the same never-touch-it reliability as your Apache Web box. It's got all the policies and admin capabilities that you need to manage distributed organizations. I know a lot of people don't love the Notes client but it does a hell of a lot more than Outlook -- you can't live in Outlook if you've figured out Notes. BTW Domino also supports Outlook and a very nice cross-platform DHTML Webmail, supportied on IE/Firefox and Win/Linux/Mac.

    Sorry, if you are going to propose POP/IMAP and LDAP and iCAL as an Exchange (or Domino) alternative you will lose. Period. Each of those vendors has sold over 100 million seats. Even if you win 100 conversions, that's still over hundreds of thousands of customers for each of the two leaders.

    The real problem you face is that it's tough to get ANY enterprise messaging system replaced once it's deployed. The problem with Exchange is that all the users THINK they love Outlook because that's what they know, or worse, confuse it with that free Windows abomination known as Outlook Express.

    The only way to get Outlook and Exchange out is to create a client that is identical to Outlook (which is what Evolution and others attempt to do, with mixed succes), but more importantly works as well against Exchange as Outlook. Problem there is MS will immediately change MAPI so that it breaks.

    Look I'm with you guys but you're being impractical. Enterprise e-mail is unbelievably sticky. It can't break and it's got to have all the features people are used to. Exchange 2003 sucks a lot less than older versions -- if you use all of MS' other software and big horkin' machines, you might just get more than 250 users on a box (as opposed to Domino 7 on Linux which will easily get 1000+).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 01, 2005 @05:07PM (#14160662)
    That's just the most ignorant comment ever. I'm as anti-M$ as the next guy on /. (which is incredibly against), but even I admit that Exchange is phenominal, and if it weren't for Entourage having Exchange capabilities, I'd be lost. I am a grad student with four or five different groups working simultanously on projects while still going to class. Having meeting invitations based on my calendar availability and put directly into said calendar has made my life so simple, I've almost forgiven MS for errors like Windows ME (read, almost!). Its not perfect, but Exchange is one thing they got right. Yeah, we must continue to follow the calendar/email integration.
  • Re:E-mail or more? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tim C (15259) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @06:57PM (#14161791)
    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 in)

    Your coworkers are also idiots. They're (presumably) forced to use Outlook, they might as well actually use the calendar, not to mention have the common decency to actually accept the invitations they're sent.
  • 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.

  • by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumay.gmail@com> on Thursday December 01, 2005 @08:12PM (#14162270) Homepage Journal
    Not true! Windows has this excelent mail reader [mozilla.com] that seems to just lack a calendar...
  • by NoMoreBS (894632) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @10:10PM (#14162825)
    You've got it the wrong way around. Microsoft wants to sell stuff. To keep doing that every year or two, they have to keep adding "features" in each new version. Power users are the ones who (may) benefit, but it's Microsoft and other software companies who are driving the bloatware.

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