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Exchange Comes To Linux As OpenChange 249

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the native-not-emulated dept.
joesmart writes to tell us that new work on OpenChange and KDE seeks to bridge the gap between groupware compatibility and open source. KDE developer Brad Hards spoke at the Linux.conf.au conference and said the goal of OpenChange is to implement the Microsoft Exchange protocols as they are used by Outlook. "OpenChange has client and server-side libraries for Exchange integration and relies heavily on code developed for Samba 4. It is open source software licensed under the GPL version 3. Hards said more work is being done on the client side and 'we have code for the server,' but estimates another 12 months of development is required to produce an OpenChange server ready for production."
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Exchange Comes To Linux As OpenChange

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  • by wintermute000 (928348) <bender@pl a n e t e xpress.com.au> on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:32PM (#26674665)

    The goal is laudable but strategically speaking: do we really want to focus more OSS efforts to replicate MS protocols and methods?

    Whilst a million enterprises out there shrug their shoulders and think 'why would I want to wrestle with this when I could just go along with the AD stack that I know, trust and my MSCE admins love'

    Of course they may come out with a fantastic 100% interoperable and virtually bug free product and I'll have to eat my words. But history is not on their side.... also will this have to plug into openldap/kerebos/samba nightmare?

    • by Beached (52204) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:44PM (#26674703) Homepage

      Yes, I believe the MS gamebook says to Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish. Or as their competitors liked to say EEE!!!!

    • by fotbr (855184) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:44PM (#26674711) Journal

      Its been my experience that IT and admin types are more open to change than end users. Sure, they bitch and moan amongst themselves, but they usually don't raise the type of hell that results when the rest of the staff has to adapt to a change.

      So a business might be more open to dropping their (quite pricey) exchange server in favor of this, IF their end users don't see any difference while using Outlook, which they already "know".

      • by devman (1163205) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:47PM (#26674721)
        Also worth noting this will be nice for people like me who work in windows shop but would like to run a Linux and actually use exchange functionality from a native client.
      • by wintermute000 (928348) <bender@pl a n e t e xpress.com.au> on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:55PM (#26674757)

        Well at least if its OSS then its zero cost to try it out in the lab, except for time of course.

        I'd be interested to see how well it plugs into an otherwise stock MS active directory domain. If it wants to take on MS in their home turf it must get this bit absolutely right.

        Also note as MS's embrace extend extinguish approach has brought us all sorts of 3rd party apps that plug into exchange e.g. voicemail to email for VOIP stacks like Cisco CCM, I can only foresee lots of pain

        Another point, sure us IT types are more open to this kind of change. We are also (at least those of us in Dilbert corporate land) very wary of the consequences of messing with core systems that are working fine. Despite what Cisco QoS teaches you, email is regarded by your users as tatamount to electricity and plumbing. Until this project gets to a critical mass here like say apache or mysql its an easy sell to management, you will find it hard to justify ripping exchange out for this unknown quantity

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by scamper_22 (1073470)

          here we go again... missing the key point.

          "Well at least if its OSS then its zero cost to try it out in the lab, except for time of course."

          Yes, it is the time and labor cost that is the move expensive. What kind of staff do you think it is going to take to truly evaluate and support this kind of project? Let's not even get to the training the staff, installing new software on servers... You're looking at several hundred thousand dollars...

          or you can just pay microsoft their regular fee and be done with

          • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @05:49AM (#26675905)

            Except Exchange costs a lot more than the $50 copy of Windows. I mean, you've got a valid point. But the example you give completely fails to make it.

            And, by the way, a sufficiently large installation of Exchange is going to require quite a bit of work to get right as well.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by EvilRyry (1025309)

            How many exchange admins do you have that it would cost "several hundred thousand dollars"? We have tens of thousands of users around the world and a single exchange admin that keeps up just fine (plus a few on/off folks that pitch in when he's out).

            Would this transition require anymore testing than upgrading to a new version of Exchange? For us, upgrading exchange meant setting up new VMs in a test environment, testing everything, new VMs in production, and then make it start seamlessly migrating users to

        • by mlts (1038732) * on Saturday January 31, 2009 @03:58AM (#26675631)

          There is also Sarbanes-Oxley and other issues. Part of the costs of keeping "Due diligence" valid by doing Exchange is that Exchange comes with a lot of the features needed for compliance built in. For example, with E2007, it is almost a no brainer to set up archiving and retention so incoming and outgoing E-mail is retained as per laws... laws that are a bad thing to break.

          An OSS product is going to have to not just grok the Exchange 2007 protocol, but be able to support features that Exchange offers, from OWA, to replication and clustering (larger installations have one Exchange server on their DMZ and a cluster for their mailboxes.) Most importantly, companies will need to rely on the solution to be able to archive and audit. If a solution can't produce logs when auditors come by, people go to prison, as per HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, or CALEA.

          Maybe RedHat could do something like this and get it FIPS/Common Criteria/whatever certified so people have an alternative to Exchange, but until then, a lot of companies will remain tied to it and Active Directory.

          • by bit01 (644603) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @07:36AM (#26676157)

            There is also Sarbanes-Oxley and other issues.

            Sarbanes-Oxley applies to the USA only. 95% of the world's population don't give a damn about Sarbanes-Oxley.

            IN any case archiving is trivial and there is no need to duplicate system functionality in yet another application. Email logging is built into almost all email systems. Clustering is available in all major OS'. Setting up country applicable audit trails is trivial.

            You're just FUD [wikipedia.org]'ing.

            ---

            Adopt an astroturfer [wikipedia.org]. Make their life hell.

            • SOX only applies to publicly traded companies. A huge number of US companies do not give a damn about Sarbanes-Oxley.

              • by sphealey (2855)

                > SOX only applies to publicly traded companies. A huge
                > number of US companies do not give a damn about Sarbanes-Oxley.

                The US Federal Courts adopted a new discovery rule as of January 1st, 2007 which essentially requires any entity that might be involved in a federal lawsuit to have e-mail archiving. Most non-public companies I have dealt with are not complying with this (and many may not even know about it), but it is gradually becoming an item for the annual audits that most companies need to get

            • by vrmlguy (120854)

              Sarbanes-Oxley applies to the USA only. 95% of the world's population don't give a damn about Sarbanes-Oxley.

              So, what? 75% of the world's population don't give a damn about email, so 79% of the world's email users do give a damn about Sarbanes-Oxley. (Here's the math: US population = 0.3e9, world population = 6.7e9, world email users = 1.2e9. Thus the US population is 4.5% of the world's, a little less than your estimate, but still pretty close.)

              Actually, the 79% is totally bogus, I just divided 75% by 95%. According to http://www.internetworldstats.com/top20.htm [internetworldstats.com], the US has 15% of the world's Internet users.

            • C'mon, you just made that number up.

              The original poster makes a valid point; forget about SOX, all major organisations, everywhere, views their email as an essential 'utility', and recognise the need for 'world-class', (whatever that means), uptime, security and auditability.

              So, it'll take a while, IMHO. Just like it took a while for Linux & Apache...

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Kjella (173770)

              Sarbanes-Oxley applies to the USA only.

              And to any company that is on a US stock exchange, or is linked up through corporate ownerships to a US listed company or is a company that is considering the possibility of being bought by or merged with a company or is a joint venture with a US company or...

              Let's just say that I'm far from the US and I've heard SOX mentioned quite a few times anyway. Those that don't need to comply are usually thankful for that but even they will easily want "SOX-compliance" on any product featuresheet. It tells you that

        • by Mista2 (1093071) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @04:32AM (#26675729)

          What would be more likely to fly would be a feature complete client to exchange. Email - no problems but it is still a headache to get calendar and contact information. Where Exchange and Outlook rule is integrating this all into one place, and now Comms server brings in voice and chat/IM, yet more systems MS has tied into a Windows client by extending a set of open protocols so that noone else is compatible 100%

        • Also note as MS's embrace extend extinguish approach has brought us all sorts of 3rd party apps that plug into exchange e.g. voicemail to email for VOIP stacks like Cisco CCM, I can only foresee lots of pain

          You forgot to mention the only one of those that really matter, Blackberry Enterprise Server. BES is the only one that can actually dictate to Microsoft, as BES can actually affect the market penetration of Exchange.

          • by Bert64 (520050)

            Yes, but MS can also dictate to RIM... If blackberry stopped supporting exchange, i imagine RIM would suffer far more than MS...
            Also, MS are a competitor, they have their own, albeit inferior, mobile devices.

      • by Orion Blastar (457579) <[orionblastar] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday January 31, 2009 @01:12AM (#26675117) Homepage Journal

        Having Linux as a backend server for Windows workstations is a wonderful thing for a corporation.

        It saves them a lot of money. Do you know what 1000 Windows 2008 Server client and Exchange Server client licenses cost? Well use Linux with SAMBA and OpenChange for less than the cost of a bottle of water. Beat that, Microsoft, and managers who always try to justify Microsoft software over Linux software.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by SdotBrucato (1450093)
          How easy is it to find someone that is proficient in these software alternatives? Yes, licensing may be cheaper, but what about the training involved, the lost productivity in trying to figure out something that is different then your average AD stack? And the kicker... support. I know my boss likes to be able to say "heh, it's broken lets call * and have the remote in and see what the hell is going on. He doesn't want to hear "hey let me jump on the public forums and hope someone knows how to fix this"
          • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @01:52AM (#26675247)
            Wow, I guess you haven't been around long enough to pay Microsoft huge yearly amounts for support contracts to have them say to one of your problems "We have no idea. Good luck." Give me OSS anyday.
          • by PitaBred (632671)
            So... you're saying that because a lot of people pay through the ass to use something that still breaks and use suppose, you should pay for it and like it? Great logic there.

            Support costs money, true. May as well not pay for the product if you have to pay to support it anyway, right?
          • by jimicus (737525) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @05:47AM (#26675897)

            You are, of course, aware that the support available when you license Exchange is very limited indeed and you have to pay a substantial amount of money for further support?

          • by Bert64 (520050)

            Plenty of people are proficient in linux/samba based setups...
            As for support, take your pick, once samba4/openchange hit production you'll have all the major linux distributions supporting it so you can buy corporate support from them, and i wouldn't be surprised to see sun and apple supporting it too.

            Proprietary software gives you one option for support, open source gives you lots of options, choice is good.

        • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker AT gnu DOT org> on Saturday January 31, 2009 @11:27AM (#26677231) Homepage

          Do you know what 1000 Windows 2008 Server client and Exchange Server client licenses cost?

          No, but last I heard the Microsoft licensing is so hard to figure out that the lawyers who can tell you how much this would cost are almost as expensive as the software itself.

          (rimshot)

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        IF their end users don't see any difference while using Outlook, which they already "know".

        It always surprises me how much crying goes on from end users when they are forced to learn something new. Especially as it's their job to learn a new system if/when it is introduced.

        • by Dan541 (1032000)

          I would like to point out that it is normally a minority, but still.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jimicus (737525)

          It always surprises me how much crying goes on from end users when they are forced to learn something new. Especially as it's their job to learn a new system if/when it is introduced.

          Most people absolutely hate change. Change in computer systems doesn't really intimidate the average /.'er but for someone who doesn't really understand anything about their computer and just knows "click the third menu across, fifth item down" or "The document I was working on is stored next to the dog in the background's nose", change is a real pain.

          If you want a beautiful example of this, look at how people feel if their Windows profile gets corrupted.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by hattig (47930)

            Yes. You've explained how people are TRAINED to use software, not TAUGHT.

            Companies supposedly hire people with degrees who should be able to learn things, but instead they seem to give up on that and pick up the bare minimum in training ("click here to do this") to not get fired.

            I think Outlook is a pile of dross, not just interface-wise and speed-wise, but functionality-wise. The email features are acceptable, the calendar is okay, but the other stuff like ToDos is appalling, and nothing like the outliner/

            • by Bert64 (520050)

              I believe the purpose behind openchange is exactly that...
              You create plugins (or a proxy type server) to allow arbitrary clients to talk to exchange, and you create a server that supports the exchange protocols as well as the applicable standard protocols.

              If you have a standards compliant server, then you can gradually move users off of proprietary clients.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheLink (130905)
          "Especially as it's their job to learn a new system if/when it is introduced."

          But for most, that's _far_ from their main job. They may be good at sales/marketing/purchasing/managing people or projects/etc but not as good at learning new software. So change is disruptive and costly.

          If the change is perceived as being useless or pointless it is no surprise when end users protest.

          Another thing - there are valid reasons to use windows.

          For one, 5 years ago Desktop Linux was crap. Alternatives to Microsoft Office
    • by techno-vampire (666512) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:47PM (#26674723) Homepage
      The goal is laudable but strategically speaking: do we really want to focus more OSS efforts to replicate MS protocols and methods?

      If you want to telecommute, you need to be able to access your work email. If your company is one of the many who use Exchange, you have to use a client that can talk to it. Having a native Linux client that can do this would mean that you wouldn't have to run Windows, even in a VM box if you didn't want to, just to get your work email.

    • by Raul Acevedo (15878) <raulNO@SPAMcantara.com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:54PM (#26674749) Homepage

      The goal is laudable but strategically speaking: do we really want to focus more OSS efforts to replicate MS protocols and methods?

      Yes, we do.

      Why do you think Microsoft has such a stranglehold on the corporate desktop? Outlook and Exchange are the cornerstone of that lock. It's brilliant if you can produce a true Outlook replacement; that means everybody's email and calendars can stay the same. If you try to introduce a brand new calendering/email system, you have to deal with migration, and that is a ridiculously huge headache affecting the entire organization. Not to mention all the retraining and retooling (and likely re-hiring) you have to do with a new server architecture...

      No wonder nobody does it.

      If you can replace the client, you are much more likely to have clients that can talk to multiple back ends (e.g. Exchange or an open source alternative). Then you have the real possibility of replacing the back end much more transparently at a later date.

      Unfortunately this two step solution is, for the next few years, the only real way it could possibly happen in most companies.

      • by wintermute000 (928348) <bender@pl a n e t e xpress.com.au> on Saturday January 31, 2009 @12:02AM (#26674781)

        good points, I must admit I glossed over the client side and was thinking primarily on the server side.

        Having said that though I find exchange web interface perfectly adequate, although of course its tied to IE for full functionality (shakes fist at MS)

        On the client side, I ask another (possibly stupid) question: how is this different from say Evolution's exchange plugin (which I have used via https and from what I could tell, it did what it said on the tin, if slow as molasses)

        • by Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @12:16AM (#26674851) Homepage

          Well, having used Evolution's exchange plugin, I'm hoping that the project being discussed isn't slow as you describe, and doesn't leak resources like a sieve and crash frequently like Evolution.

          As far as I can tell Evo development is so close to dead as to be unable to be distinguished from it.

          I'm happily working in a company that is not married to exchange at the moment, but what is described in this article is something that could have made my previous job a lot more pleasant.

          Evolution sucks so bad that my solution in that job was to run windows and office under VMWare and use THAT for my email. running VMware and a whole other OS virtualized under a Linux host was faster and leaked less resources than Evolution.

        • by Mista2 (1093071)

          Lazst time I tried Evolution plugin it worked, briefly, then a recurring appointment cause Evolution to eat all the memory in the machine.
          Second try, would not talk to Exchange 2003, and nothing for 2007 8)
          To me, the best bet for an Exchange competitor is with Groupwise, as there is an outlook plugin to get it to talk to a groupwsie server, and there is the client for Windows, Linux and OS X. You can get aftermail, groupwise fax solutions and Blackberry gateways. There is nothing else I know of like this ou

      • by realmolo (574068) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @12:28AM (#26674913)

        Well, Exchange is *part* of the reason people get locked into MS products. But the bigger reason, by far, is Active Directory.

        AD *works*. It's easy. It integrates seamlessly with Windows. The management tools are good, and easy to use. There are tons of third-party products that integrate with it. Seamlessly.

        The current LDAP/Kerberos/Samba situation is a fucking MESS. It's unusable in a production environment. It's hard to manage. It doesn't have GROUP POLICIES, for Christ's sake.

        Samba 4 supposedly fixes some of these problems, but I doubt it comes even CLOSE to providing all the functionality of a genuine Windows Server OS.

        THAT is why people are locked into MS products. They simply work better than the alternatives in many cases, especially on a corporate LAN.

        • by Cyberax (705495) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @12:36AM (#26674961)

          I have just finished installing Samba4 alpha6 on my network (I already have LDAP+Kerberos set up). I can say that it's pretty impressive.

          I was able to setup it as AD controller and join my notebook to it without a problem, single sign-on and ability to SSH into my Linux servers without entering login/password also rocks. AD management tools also work just fine. And Samba4 setup actually was not that scary at all :)

          I'd say that in ~1 year we'll really have nice working replacement of Exchange+AD, compatible with legacy Windows clients.

        • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @01:53AM (#26675251) Journal

          AD *works*. It's easy. It integrates seamlessly with Windows. The management tools are good, and easy to use.

          Like ALL Microsoft products and technologies... Active Directory is pretty easy to get into a minimally working state if you like all the defaults. And isn't too difficult to get it to do some of the lowest-common-denominator simple tasks that everybody wants, like single sign-on, roaming profiles, and a few policy restrictions.

          AD isn't really "easy" unless your time is worthless, and you don't mind insane problems cropping up. You're going to be browsing around context menus, sub-sub-sub-sub options with utterly insane names and absolutely no comprehensible scheme, to find the one option you want to toggle.

          God help you if you want some slight variation of how Microsoft thinks it should work, because you've just gone from "easy" to "practically impossible" and are going to be delving into the darkest realms of the registry, and deeply hidden configuration menus and files.

          I know plenty of companies who think Windows servers are easy, and work well... Plenty of them have hired me to get them to stop "working" the way they do.

          Whatever time and money you think you've saved by going with Windows servers goes out the window the first time you try to copy a very big file to a Windows Share, only to have it fail at 2GBs... Yes, Windows quietly decides your gigabit LAN is a dial-up link, and decides to go for the slow, high-delay, 2GB filesize limit variation of SMB. Samba never does.

          The current LDAP/Kerberos/Samba situation is a fucking MESS. It's unusable in a production environment. It's hard to manage. It doesn't have GROUP POLICIES, for Christ's sake.

          I have no idea what you are talking about. You can manage group policies on a Samba server with some of Microsoft's own management tools (ie. from a Windows workstation that logs-on to the domain).

          And once you've got Samba setup, it will silently work, exactly how you configure it to do so, forever. A Windows server will require CONSTANT attention, as weird one-off bugs continually spring up, performance suddenly drops dramatically one day, and slowly starts recovering over the next week, but never quite gets back where it was. Never mind the standard Windows practice of quietly disabling/corrupting one driver or another for no particular reason. And did I mention the utterly useless error messages, and logs with lots of useless information and NONE of the HELPFUL information you could possibly use.

          THAT is why people are locked into MS products. They simply work better than the alternatives in many cases, especially on a corporate LAN.

          No. They just sound better when you're reading the spec sheet, and trying to get a basic server minimally working...

          The fact that Windows is popular with numerous companies is actually a sad commentary on corporations, who go for the quick way to save a buck, and ignore the vast amount Microsoft costs them over time.

          • by zig007 (1097227) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @06:42AM (#26676019)

            Hear, hear!
            Actually, you don't have to have a very large network to run into issues like this.

            I decided to switch to a samba-based network at home for (at least) five reasons:

            1. When i had ran out of the cost-free licences i got through MSDN-certifications(i was an MSCE) i found out that even a home network would become ridiculously expensive if I wanted even the slightest bit of redundance/fail-over functionality. Which I wanted. For some reason, that's considered "enterprise level" stuff, according to MS. They are SO 1995. Also, customization and scripting support sucked extremely hard. You can't do that, was the standard conclusion.
            2. I had huge and completely unexplainable performance and stability issues. I almost went insane by the lack of logging and cost of super-crappy support(first through third level knew less than me and they said the exact same stupid thing, logical reasoning did not work, "tried reinstalling?"), since I had recently started to try Linux and gotten a bit spoiled by the ease of troubleshooting and the fantastic community support.
            3. For each version of windows system requirements effectively doubled or tripled, for practically NO ADDED VALUE on the server-side. I couldn't afford to buy new servers every third year for my home network. Also, I wanted it to run on cheap hardware. Yeah, i now about MTBF, but RAID and redundance helps, new drives are cheap and the other parts don't fail as often, especially in even temperatures.
            4. I had started to HATE IIS and it's super stupid settings-database which got corrupted resulting in really strange errors for no reason. NOT funny that backing it up still worked. ARRGH!
            5. Granted, I wanted to learn more about Linux, Apache, Postgres and LDAP. Which I now do.
            6. And oh, I almost forgot. Backups. How did you do that on Windows in 2004 without getting ripped of? I first solved it using scripting and then came Bacula, beautiful and "enterprice-y". Actually, since 2007, it is ported for Windows. I almost don't like that. It must suck. :-)

            What were my experiences?

            1. That when I did this, things were more difficult than they are today. But everything worked the way it was supposed to.
              And continued to do so. For YEARS.
              I encountered only two or maybe three bugs during my entire transition. As opposed to the almost daily hair-tugging of the windows experience.
            2. Text-file-based settings are so ridiculously superior to weird binary file-system entities (the registry) that I don't know where to start.(WHY? WHYYY?)
            3. Plain-text, logically localized log files and configurable logging levels are so ridiculously superior to weird binary log-files that I have similar problem of where to start.
            4. Community support is ALWAYS better than the paid MS support, since there you can eventually, and quicker, get the answer from the actual developer of the application. And, almost always, someone else have encountered the same problem, so the forums gives you the answers most of the time. Which is great in the case of ReiserFS, where the main developer is incarcerated. :-)
              There is an exception to this, though, and that is if you use really exotic software with a small user base. Obviously the number of questions and answers in those forums are less numerous. On the other hand, It might be easier to get a hold of the developer.

            Of course, there's stuff that pisses you off in the Linux world. But it belong almost exclusively to the desktop part of that world.
            Administering *nix servers are a dream come true in comparison to the windows server nightmare. Yup, I have nightmares about windows boxens.
            Everything is so damn smart and logical. Uh, well sometime maybe not according to YOUR logic, but at least to some logic, which can then be understood.
            And things are getting better all the time. Especially the communities. An now I have redundant LDAP, DNS, Backup, DC, clustered databases and so forth. On crap computers with non-crap raid controllers. Don't need much more.
            What has gotten better in the MS-world? Vista? The servers, IIS? And their .NET versions?
            Well, I can tell you since i am now a windows developer for a living: Not much.

          • And isn't too difficult to get it to do some of the lowest-common-denominator simple tasks that everybody wants, like single sign-on, roaming profiles, and a few policy restrictions.

            You call that lowest common denominator, but setting it all up on Linux is horrible. Doable, yes, but horrible. You say that Active Directory isn't easy unless your time is worthless because of tasks that come later, but Linux doesn't even get to the starting blocks easily.

          • by EvilRyry (1025309)

            Samba3 domains have the old style NT system policies, but not group policy. Group policy is quite a bit more powerful and is much easier to find precooked templates for these days.

            As the Samba devs have found out, group policy is very tied to AD so needs to wait until AD server support lands.

        • by jregel (39009) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @07:16AM (#26676105) Homepage

          I would agree that Exchange and Active Directory are two very important reasons why Microsoft will remain dominant. The third MS technology that the Open Source community could really compete in, but appears to be sleeping is SharePoint.

          On it's own SharePoint is a pretty basic application, but it's gaining a lot of traction, and the functionality is increasing with add-on modules. The Office integration with SharePoint is also getting better and when a company has most of its documents in MOSS, they aren't going to rip them out for something in the future as the hassle will be too great.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by natxo asenjo (1458739)

          2 days ago I installed samba 4 in a virtual environment. I donwloaded a debian lenny cd, installed a standard server plus some development tools (build-essential) and followed the instructions in the samba wiki: http://wiki.samba.org/index.php/Samba4/HOWTO [samba.org]. In half an hour I had a kerberos/ldap/rpc domain controller. Joining windows xp pro or win2k3 machines to this domain was a no brainer. I installed the standard microsoft tools (adminpak.msi, resource kit, resource tools) and I can now manage this linux

        • by EvilRyry (1025309)

          Samba4 will be able to replace Windows Active Directory servers, or serve along side of them. Seamlessly.

          This includes being able to use use the standard admin tools, 3rd party tools and schema extensions, replication to Windows servers, group policy, Kerberos with PAC, etc, etc.

    • I agree 100%, and I will add that the moral of the story is that even though this is interesting, the buggy initial release won't even happen for another 12 months.... and so we just keep windows and exchange until then.... and if not, well, we've already go our alternate option figured out, so wtf is the point?

    • The goal is laudable but strategically speaking: do we really want to focus more OSS efforts to replicate MS protocols and methods?

      Perhaps I missed it but I did not see your name on the developers list for OpenChange? How is it you think "we" includes yourself. One of the beautiful things about FOSS is that anyone person or group of people can get together on work on things that THEY want to do or find investors to pay them to do. You speak as if all of the FOSS developers in the entire world get together to discuss and plan out new projects to tackle and this is turned out to be one of them that you are personally now second guessing

    • by Orion Blastar (457579) <[orionblastar] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday January 31, 2009 @01:09AM (#26675101) Homepage Journal

      I think the best strategy to ween companies over to Linux is to replace each Microsoft product they use with a free or open source version of that product.

      Why you may ask?

      The answer is simple, they want to keep their Windows workstations and change the server over to Linux, without missing features. One of the arguments corporations had against using Linux was that it did not support MS-Exchange protocols so they could keep their Outlook clients and have shared calendars and shared email files.

      I suppose next is modifying My-SQL or PostgresSQL to support Transact-SQL the SQL language that MS-SQL Server uses.

      Novell Mono already tries to replace Microsoft Visual Studio with Linux, Mac OSX, etc versions, and while they may need some rewriting of code, legacy Visual Studio code can be ported over to Linux for those custom made applications.

      When I worked at a law firm in 1997-2001 I used Internet Explorer 4/5/6 and VBScript and ActiveX controls for web Intranet applications using Active Server Pages. I told my manager that the employees who use Macintoshes cannot access our Intranet applications unless we wrote in Javascript and used Java instead of ActiveX. He told me it was nonsense. I said if we had clients who needed to connect to our Intranet and they ran OS/2, Linux, *BSD Unix, or Mac OS 7/8/9 whatever that they couldn't connect. He didn't believe me and told me to never develop in Java and only use Javascript when it could do something better or faster that VBScript couldn't do like some Dynamic HTML features.

      Then the Mac users complained why the Intranet apps wouldn't work on their Macs. I told them to ask my manager, as the decision to support the technology that works for their computers was not my decision.

      Then in 2001, they decided to use ASP.NET in beta tests to be cutting edge technology and use server side objects to solve the incompatibility issues.

      Eventually I got too sick to work and went on short term disability, and when I returned to work I was fired two weeks later for being sick on the job. (The stress upset my GERD and made me throw up in trashcans when I couldn't make it to the bathroom) and security quickly escorted me out of the building.

      Two months later my coworkers begged me to reapply for my job back, that the whole Intranet went to shit because I used to debug every Intranet program and Visual BASIC program, and now that they started to write new code without me, the system would crash 12 or more times a day and they even had code they couldn't compile. I told them I couldn't go backward, if they needed me that bad they should not have fired me, besides the stress of the job got to me. I was Atlas for the programmers and held everything up on my own shoulders so everything worked like it should. Eventually they had clients with Linux, OS/2, BeOS, Mac OS, etc. I recall reading on the Microsoft Newsgroups when I searched for their domain name, all of the issues they had and asking Microsoft why ASP.NET and VS.NET does not work as well as the ones they replaced and does not have all of the features they promised.

      I think I am better off on disability now, than working some thankless job and carrying most of the programmers because they hardly knew what they were doing. Why I chose to go on disability rather than risk another job that could only make me sicker and cause a stroke or heart attack due to high stress causing high blood pressure. If I didn't do that, I'd most likely have died on the job with a stroke or heart attack, or been paralyzed due to a stroke, or go without a job and lose the house. On relief I get is from friends and family who help out, plus my local church. If not for that support system, and it isn't money, but emotional support and activities, I am not sure what I'd do. Maybe kill myself like one of my friends did in 1999 who had the same mental illness disability that I have, he shut everyone out of his life divorced his wife, his mother was dying of cancer, he stopped going to church, and just sat home

      • by Psychotria (953670) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @02:21AM (#26675359)

        I suppose next is modifying My-SQL or PostgresSQL to support Transact-SQL the SQL language that MS-SQL Server uses.

        I'll probably get flamed, but I actually like T-SQL better than vanilla SQL for most uses. Although I try to avoid SQL altogether when possible, so I may not be a representative sample.

        • by julesh (229690)

          I'll probably get flamed, but I actually like T-SQL better than vanilla SQL for most uses.

          It's been a while since I used TSQL, but I remember having enormous trouble with it last time I did use it because its implicit string->date conversion function seemed to expect the date formatted according to the server's locale, but my development server had a different locale setting (UK, where the servers actually are) to the live server (US, i.e. Windows default). Similarly, dates returned by queries were form

    • by Bonobo_Unknown (925651) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @02:32AM (#26675399)
      Exchange is Microsoft's last fortress protecting the enterprise. If we could run an Exchange clone on Linux it would be so much easier to ditch all the rest of the Microsoft suite.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rolfwind (528248)

      The goal is laudable but strategically speaking: do we really want to focus more OSS efforts to replicate MS protocols and methods?

      Something like Wine will be really helpful to the linux movement when some boxed software has in it's requirements list: XP, Vista, 7, and Wine 1.x compatible. If linux gain more, it may come! And it doesn't have to gain as much as if the software makers were forced to do a total rewrite. Once that happens, Linux has its foot in the door. And microsoft cannot change the API

    • by jimicus (737525)

      How about: because as far as I know the only companies likely to be pure "not-Windows" shops are Sun and Apple? Even then they'll have Windows systems in their labs for interoperability testing.

      On the other hand, there are millions of "pure-Windows or must integrate with so seamlessly it may as well be" companies.

      Itches that need scratching are more likely to be related to "how can I get this functionality to work without shelling out for the Microsoft product?" than "what can I do from scratch so much be

    • by julesh (229690)

      Whilst a million enterprises out there shrug their shoulders and think 'why would I want to wrestle with this when I could just go along with the AD stack that I know, trust and my MSCE admins love'

      There are plenty of enterprises out there that would love to switch away from MS products, if they could find something that works. I worked in a bank a few years back that was using HP's (now discontinued) Exchange replacement. Their IT staff hated Exchange with a vengeance, but there was a requirement to have

  • Kontact is cool. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:32PM (#26674667) Journal

    If by "KDE integration" they mean Kontact, I'm all for that.

    Mostly because of the design -- Kontact looks and feels like a monolithic, Outlook-esque application. Instead, it merely combines pieces you already have as standalone programs -- KMail, Akregator, KOrganizer, and so on.

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @12:18AM (#26674863) Homepage Journal
    I had a conversation with one of the openchange developers a few months ago to talk about some of the architecture being built here, and was pleased to find out that they're aiming to do something useful. They do want OpenChange to be useful as a standalone server. That gets you something Outlook can talk to. But they're also going to expose all of the right API's and stuff so that OpenChange can be integrated with an existing store or server. That means that with the right amount of glue code, we'll be able to integrate it with existing open source groupware servers like Citadel [citadel.org] or Kolab [kolab.org] or OpenGroupware [opengroupware.org]. All of these servers currently have Outlook compatibility, but you need to add a plugin to Outlook in order to make it work. With any luck, OpenChange will allow Outlook to talk to all of these excellent FOSS groupware platforms as if they were Exchange servers.

    (Not that I'm knocking the plugins, mind you ... some of them are excellent. I'm particularly fond of Bynari's connector [bynari.net] which is totally seamless, works with open source groupware servers, and costs far less than Exchange licenses. But a connector-free option will be nice too.)
  • Fingers crossed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dmomo (256005) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @12:25AM (#26674899) Homepage

    It's amazing how MS is so successful in making NOT having their products very inconvenient. Evolution almost works. I still kick and scream when someone asks me to set up a meeting. Think about how those MS users must feel. Here is one of the "Tech" team, and he has trouble:

    *Scheduling Meetings
    *Printing from time to time
    *Dealing with Spreadsheets on a share drive

    I will keep my Linux desktop at work, but boy do I envy those "Blue Pill" MS users.

  • Just use Zimbra!? (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheNarrator (200498) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @12:35AM (#26674955)

    Seriously, just go buy a Zimbra license. Runs on Linux, does everything exchange does, not too pricey and it works great with outlook clients. Shared calendar, great web gui, etc. Oh yeah and they are owned by Yahoo now so you can feel like you're supporting the newly crowned Internet underdog while you're at it.

    • by Cyberax (705495)

      Have you actually _tried_ to use Zimbra Desktop??? It's SLOW and leaks tons of memory.

      Outlook is so much much much nicer. Also, Outlook is VERY customizable, especially with the help of Outlook forms. That's also why it's so hard to write free connectors/emulators for Exchange.

    • by Dice (109560)

      I remember when Yahoo! was cool.

    • by julesh (229690)

      Seriously, just go buy a Zimbra license. Runs on Linux, does everything exchange does, not too pricey and it works great with outlook clients.

      Including forcing you to purchase additional client licenses every time you need a new desktop. For many of us, the major benefit of open source is that we get to do stuff like adding a new computer to our networks without having to spend an hour or two going through the software licensing logs trying to work out which products we now need to purchase additional lice

  • Citadel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @02:25AM (#26675377)
    Hmm, Citadel with the Bynari connector already does all that Exchange does. You can literally replace dozens of Excange servers with a single Citadel server and the users won't know the difference.
  • If you want a replacement of Exchange and you don't want to wait a year, you could look at Zarafa. www.zarafa.com
    • by AlXtreme (223728)

      Interesting you mention Zarafa. I'll be seeing a client next week who uses Zarafa for his mid-sized business, and is not satisfied at all with it. It wasn't my install as I'm primarily a developer, but it doesn't look good...

      Might have to migrate to something else, they're already considering Gmail / Google Apps or MS Exchange, but this might be a good testbed for OpenChange / Samba4. Unfortunately, I suspect the Zarafa install to also have been a 'testbed' of sorts.

  • by gilgongo (57446) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @08:54AM (#26676371) Homepage Journal

    It's always mystified me as to why a business with less then about 100 employees would use Exchange Server. Yet it seems the vast majority do, even though they could just use IMAP with Outlook.

    Is it the shared calendar/resource booking thing? In which case why do they elect to spend serious money (probably close to the annual wage of one of their junior employees) when a web-based shared calendar would be free? Heck, a couple of days evaluating the hoards of good alternatives on freshmeat.net wouldn't kill them would it?

    I dunno. Weird. Medium to large corporations (200 seats+) I can sort of understand, but even then...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fl!ptop (902193)

      It's always mystified me as to why a business with less then about 100 employees would use Exchange Server.

      i had a client, who's an attorney. her office has 3 employees, including herself. she insisted to me that i install exchange on her server for her. after i explained the drawbacks of running an exchange server as your primary mx box on a dsl connection, and that it was akin to killing a fly with a 30.06 to implement all this for just 3 people, she still insisted. upon further investigation, i disco

  • For a small business that is just now looking at getting an Exchange server, what would be the bess OSS alternative?

    Thinking that it would be much easier to build and integrate the OSS solution from the ground up, rather than shoehorn it into an existing Exchange environment, what's the best approach here?

  • by xous (1009057) on Saturday January 31, 2009 @04:56PM (#26679685) Homepage
    I really don't see the point of writing code to emulate an exchange server when Microsoft is just going to break it again anyway. Why not write a open standard for calendar and scheduling interchange and take a decent FOSS client (e.g. thunderbird) and extend it to work with that protocol? If you really want outlook capability it should be written as a gateway to the open standard protocol.

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