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Novell Software Linux

Novell Dumps the Hula Project 440

asv108 writes, "On the Hula general mailing list today, it was announced that Novell is no longer providing full-time developers to Hula. While the project will continue, it appears that Novell is not committed to developing a viable open-source alternative to MS Exchange. The Hula project was announced in February 2005 with much fanfare."
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Novell Dumps the Hula Project

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  • by mnmn ( 145599 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:53PM (#17024778) Homepage
    So then are they providing twice as many part-time developers?

    Come to think of it, is there such a thing as part-time developers?
  • salt/wound? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:53PM (#17024780) Homepage
    Why do I detect the feeling of salt poured into an open wound?
    • Re:salt/wound? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by penguinrenegade ( 651460 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:03PM (#17024968)
      Looks like Microsoft money helps ward off competing developers as well. Novell sold out - plain and simple.

      Novell could have gotten large cash infusions, but instead they let Microsoft intimidate them. This is just plain wrong.

      It's pretty obvious what happened from the timing of the event. I'm certain we'll see more of this in the future.

      Apparently it was easier for Microsoft to buy off Novell than to fund SCO.
      • Re:salt/wound? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by leonmergen ( 807379 ) * <.lmergen. .at.> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:17PM (#17025238) Homepage

        It's pretty obvious what happened from the timing of the event.

        Explain to me then, why is it so obvious and not just some random conspiracy theory ?

        • Re:salt/wound? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by drDugan ( 219551 ) * on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:31PM (#17025454) Homepage
          to everyone: it's about connections, stupid. connections (communication) between people is the most important thing we do, and it is why the Internet is important.

          Exchange is the MS communications gateway, allowing people to connect on MS the proprietary platform with the single most popular online communication tool.

          An open source alternative to Exchange is the single most important project the open source community could develop to allow IT managers to migrate away from Microsoft.

          Now, only days after a deal between MS and Novell, the open source project to build an exchange alternative is hurt by Novell removing support.

          No theories needed here, just look at the facts.

          • Oh, come on (Score:5, Informative)

            by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:45PM (#17025756) Journal
            the open source project to build an exchange alternative Theres like, 5 different projects trying to achieve the Holy Grail of replacing Exchange. And Hula was far from the leader of the pack.

          • Re:salt/wound? (Score:5, Informative)

            by BlakeReid ( 1033116 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:27PM (#17026446)
            >An open source alternative to Exchange is the single most important project the open source community could develop to allow IT managers to migrate away from Microsoft. This comment was so insightful it motivated me to create a Slashdot account just to say so.
          • Re:salt/wound? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by bl8n8r ( 649187 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:56PM (#17026836)
            The internet was built on standards. Open standards at that. If you do not have open standards, then all you have is a closed system that allows for no alternatives. When you have no alternatives, you are locked into a system that dictates everything you do, whether it is broken or not, whether you like it or not. Right now, there are alternatives to Windows, but one day there may not be. Attitudes similar to the above will determine whether you have a choice tomorrow. choose wisely and carefully.
        • Re:salt/wound? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:08PM (#17026960) Homepage Journal

          It's pretty obvious what happened from the timing of the event.

          Explain to me then, why is it so obvious and not just some random conspiracy theory ?

          I'm no statistical expert, but call event A "Novell pwned by M$", call event B "Novell pulls devs from a project which is a direct competitor of M$ stuff". Now, armed with patience and google, calculate the probability of those events in meaningful time intervals (3 months?). Now calculate the compound probability of A and B in the same period. Very unlikely huh? A preceding B is half of it. Does it open your mind?

          Your random conspiracy theory is called "cause and effect" :)

          • Re:salt/wound? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:16PM (#17028664)
            that doesn't make it not a conspiracy theory.

            I know for a fact A and B are unrelated - I work for Novell and wanted to get on the Hula project. It's been dead for months, even before the MS/Novell deal.
          • Re:salt/wound? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Nat Friedman ( 31798 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:44AM (#17030972) Homepage

            That conspiracy theory, while entertaining, is just totally untrue.

            The Hula team decided not to go forward with the project because the project wasn't working. It had been nearly two years since we launched Hula and during that time a lot of other people entered the space (Zimbra, Google Calendar, etc) and implemented many of the innovative things that we had planned to do with Hula. This took some of the wind out of our sails, and we had some execution problems too; I don't know if you've noticed, but the project has essentially gone two years without a release, and if you've ever done any significant software development before, you know that's not a sign of a healthy project.

            Now, there is some great work in Hula and we sincerely hope that some of it will be useful to the community. The AJAX-based dragonfly web interface for mail and calendar is gorgeous and open source and could be turned into a nice replacement for SquirrelMail or the other web mail/calendar interfaces. The Hula store and the former NetMail agent code are also both open source and other companies are using them now as well.

            The guys who worked on this stuff (Jacob Berkman, Peter Teichman, Dave Camp, Cyrus Dolph, Rodney Price, and others) are extremely bright guys, did fabulous work, and really enjoyed the project -- but unfortunately it's one of those things that didn't work out the way everyone hoped. So it goes.

            Novell customers of NetMail and GroupWise and other products can rest assured that they are unaffected and will be supported and carried forward -- I'm sure Novell will have things to say about that, so stay tuned.
      • Re:salt/wound? (Score:5, Informative)

        by tenchiken ( 22661 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:31PM (#17027230)
        I was very excited about Hula when it was first announced. I quickly became less enthusastic until I discovered Zimbra, which I have been using since Beta 1 days (it's not version 4.5RC1).

        As far as the microsoft angle goes, I don't think it is nearly as open and shut as that. Hula had a variety of problems that were difficult to overcome. Almost all of those problems are centered around the underly platform.

        • There is always a question of building on top of the existing stack, or replacing the stack. Hula choose to replace the stack rather then build on top of industry standards
        • Hula's C++ mail server duplicates sendmail and postfix. That means you loose the time tested nature of sendmail and postfix and replace it with buggy and possibly insecure mail. That's a problem.
        • That stack also had a proprietary web server. You loose all the work in apache and tomcat.
        • Your new code in on python? Look I know that Python is a pretty piece of work, but it is not something that clients are going to get excited about supporting. Open source means you eat your own dogfood, and very few companies are willing to find python experts to support their mail platform.

        Anyone who thinks that Hula had any kind of momentum at all before this announcement is ignoring the fundamental architectural problems that killed the project months and months ago. Something may emerge from the ashes. Zimbra has proven it can be done, but it will have to be a firefox to this convoluted and bloated Mozilla.
  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:53PM (#17024784) Homepage
    Hmm, I wonder if Microsoft had anything to do with that decision?
    • by EllynGeek ( 824747 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:57PM (#17024872)
      Nah, it's a completely independent decision having nothing to do with their new Redmond overlords.

      How weird, my nose is growing.

    • by mordors9 ( 665662 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:01PM (#17024922)
      Surely you aren't suggesting that there were some other "understandings" the MS and Novell came to during their recent business agreement that weren't announced, are you? That would almost be suggesting that the two companies aren't being completely above board in their business dealing...
    • by Marc_Hawke ( 130338 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:03PM (#17024976)
      Whether MS had anything to do with that or've got to admit that it makes LOVELY, Grade A conpsiracy fodder. It's the kind of thing where the timing couldn't have been worse.
    • by TheViewFromTheGround ( 607422 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:16PM (#17025216) Homepage
      I strongly doubt the MS brouhaha has much to do with this. Novell is a company in very serious trouble, and the MS agreement as well as this announcement are the fruit of the same poisoned tree.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:17PM (#17025234)
      Take your tinfoil hat off.

      Hula was a piece of software that deserved to die. It did the things that Exchange does but didn't interoperate with Exchange. And since not many people in the Linux/Unix world are interested in running a mail server like Exchange/Hula that is a jack of all trades, master of none, people didn't really use Hula. So Novell was pouring all the time and money into a project that they thought everyone wanted, but no one really did.

      Honestly, have you heard of anyone actually using Hula? I certainly haven't. I'm sure the Novell sales reps made a few sales based on Hula, but really anyone with a clue was running Sendmail, Postfix, or whatever plain Jane email server your prefer, and the few people who really did want an Exchange like solution just ran something like Zimbra that does the same thing but runs Postfix underneath.

      If dumping Hula means that Novell will spend money on things that are actually useful to the open source community then this is great news. Because I'm sure no one is really sorry to see Hula go.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:28PM (#17025414)
      I don't know, but Dave Camp, the project leader left Novell recently, if that's of any consequence..
    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:36PM (#17025578) Homepage

      Yes, because Microsoft was seriously on the verge of having Hula overtake Exchange.

      Yes, that's sarcasm.

      I liked Hula, or at least the idea of it, but there are quite a few of these sorts of applications around, I don't find any of them quite satisfying, and I doubt Hula has much of that market anyway. Besides, it's FOSS. Novel can't kill it if it wants to, so long as there are programmers willing to work on it.

      • by tenchiken ( 22661 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:14PM (#17027036)
        Once again, go take a look at Zimbra. There was a article in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago that was front page even that covered the traction Zimbra is getting. It even mentioned that Microsoft and specifically Bill G knew about Zimbra, and were starting to have customers bring it up. That's the kind of product the open source world needs in this space.
    • by shades66 ( 571498 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:49PM (#17025852)
      >Hmm, I wonder if Microsoft had anything to do with that decision?

      NO... never... They wouldn't do a thing like that...

      Anyway next weeks update to SLES10 will include the following features
      a) OpenOffice has been updated to load/save Word documents by default and Macros will run by default.
      b) Firefox has been updated to use MSN as it's homepage and default search engine
      c) Evolution has been patched to try and execute all email attachments when you view an email.
      d) All the above programs now need to be run as root

    • by swerk ( 675797 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:20PM (#17026324) Journal
      Short answer:
      No, believe it or not, Microsoft wasn't in on this.

      Longer answer:
      I work at Novell, and for about a year, I was on Hula. I loved it. I still run it on my home server, and it still bothers me that I didn't get to finish and polish the bits I was hacking on. An insufficient degree of planning and management led to the magic "1.0" getting pushed farther out and being less clearly defined. Inside Novell culture (and elsewhere, I would think), that's a bad sign. Other projects were in the spotlight, some Ximian modus operandi kept a lot of Hula's exciting stuff secret, and a few months back, the already-thin team was cut back dramatically. At the same time, its release deadline was moved up, and Hula was still without what I'd call a manager. The writing was on the wall well before the Microsoft deal came around.

      I made the mistake of getting pretty emotionally attached to Hula, so this has all been pretty rough for me to watch. I worked weekends and wee hours on that code, and I'd do it again. I can't blame anyone for using this news as fuel for the fire and/or shouting "Novell just doesn't get it", and I can't blame anyone for being highly suspicious given the recent Microsoft deal (I'm still not sure how I feel about that, by the way). But I can say, and you can take with as much salt you want: No, this was the result, a long time coming, of numerous mistakes, and of other decisions that truly didn't seem like mistakes at the time. As much as I love to blame Microsoft for stuff, the facts say otherwise in this case.

      Its death as a Novell-sponsored project is unfortunate, but Hula's not dead - it's grown a small community and a bunch of us still have commit access. Read the mailing list message, take a breather, and if you still feel like being pissed off at Novell or Microsoft, fine. I tried. But at least check out Hula. It still has a ton of promise and is surprisingly useful today.
      • by askegg ( 599634 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:26PM (#17028748)
        Glad to hear from someone who was actually developing the product.

        I implemented Netmail for a reasonably large non profit organisation here in Australia with terrific results. Since Netmail integrated so tightly with eDirectory (which we used to keep the membership information) it was a breeze giving everyone an email address with wemail, forwarding, spam protection, calendaring, etc. One of the best features was its recognition of eDirectory groups (even dynamic ones) which we used as the basis for email lists with great effect (up to the minute accurate based on user defined attributes).

        When Novell first announced Hula I was concerned what this might mean for the existing Netmail installations (here are many who are *much* larger than us). Admittedly, I have not kept a close eye on the developments as I have moved on to other projects, but is seems my initial fears were confirmed. I hope the small development community around Hula continues and releases great stuff.

        BTW - IMHO, Hula was never really meant to be an Exchange killer. As a kid it was trained to do different things and was never really suited to taking on the big boy. Novell has Groupwise against Exchange, but that is a whole other subject...
  • Hm, I wonder why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RagingFuryBlack ( 956453 ) <NjRef511@gmail.GAUSScom minus math_god> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:54PM (#17024794) Homepage
    Wow, I wonder how much pressure MS exerted to get Novell to pull developers off of this?
  • What? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:54PM (#17024816)
    An open source project dying a quiet, pathetic death in lieu of things that might actually generate revenue?

    NOW I've seen everything.
    • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:05PM (#17025006)
      A major distributor of GNU/Linux dying a quiet, pathetic death snuggled up to Microsoft in lieu of being an open source giant? You ain't seen nothing yet.
    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:08PM (#17025070)
      As a company, they should be doing everything they can to port their profitable apps to the major platforms out there.

      Right now, GroupWise is a maojor bitch to install on Debian/Ubuntu. It's easier to install it on Windows. A lot easier. You just run the executables that Novell provides.

      Novell needs to learn that migrations are a step-by-step process. And once you start helping your customers make those steps to a competitor, you aren't getting them back.

      Debian may be a competitor (or not) to their basic server platform. But putting GroupWise on Debian means that you have moved them closer to your company.

      Putting GroupWise on Windows means you've moved them closer to Microsoft.

      The same with eDirectory, ZENworks and just about every other Novell product available.
  • Zimbra? (Score:4, Informative)

    by tmccann ( 775221 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:55PM (#17024826)
    Didn't Zimbra [] beat them to the punch anyway?
  • by grolschie ( 610666 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:57PM (#17024870)
    So where will be buy our hula hoops from now? :-(
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:01PM (#17024910) Homepage Journal
    Protest the Microsoft-Novell Patent Agreement [].

    I don't think there's anything illegal about Novell dropping its support for the Hula project, but it's another sign that they've welshed out on their former friends for money. About the best we could do in response would be to continue the project and get it deployed in the enterprise.


  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:03PM (#17024962) Journal
    Remember when the deal between Microsoft and Novell was to "encourage interoperability"?

    Here's that "interoperability" at work, folks...
  • Calendar Sharing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:07PM (#17025050) Homepage
    For business users, I think the lack of an integrated way to share calendars is a real shame. I realize that such things probably aren't that glamorous -- but I'd love to be able to edit my calendar and have my secretary edit my calendar. Maybe there is something that lets that happen right now and if so, I'd love to hear about it. I do recall being excited by Hula when I heard about it before because it seemed like "finally" something would happen. So I'm dissapointed by this news.

    My present solution is for my secretary to manage my calendar with korganizer -- I then just overwrite my calendar on my mac laptop (ical works fine with the korganizer files). But it would be nice to not have to call her up and say "please put ____ on my calendar." I'd rather just do it and have the calendars sync up. The ics files are understandable text files and I've thought of trying to make a sync system by comparring the files on my computer and my secretary's, but I just dabble at computer stuff -- I'm not a real programmer and I can't risk my calendar to my low quality skills. So still I wait.
  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:09PM (#17025086)
    While the project will continue, it appears that Novell is not committed to developing a viable open-source alternative to MS Exchange.

    I know it'll never happen, but I've said many times before, the best thing Novell could do for their Linux interests is open source Groupwise.
  • by denis-The-menace ( 471988 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:10PM (#17025090)
    Novell has introduced Tux-change, a MS-sanctioned port of Exchange for Windows
    The company also states that it will soon release it own version of CIFS after the SAMBA organisation was sued into bankruptcy.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:12PM (#17025140)
    Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
  • by Jim Hall ( 2985 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:16PM (#17025214) Homepage

    From the Hula Project web site: []

    Hula is a [Linux-based] mail and calendar server with a friendly web-interface designed for a great user experience.

    So if Novell has taken all their FT developers off Hula, are we to assume that Microsoft is now going to offer a Linux-native version of the Exchange server? I mean, come on. If Microsoft-Novell is really serious with their "we are working on Linux-Windows interoperability" then they're dropping out of Hula in order to work on their Linux-native of the Exchange server, right??

    I mean, the only other possibility is that Microsoft "asked" Novell to stop supporting a direct competitor for a Microsoft product. And that would just be silly of them, wouldn't it...


    • by invisik ( 227250 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:42PM (#17027374) Homepage
      Novell already has GroupWise. They really don't need another mail system. And they aren't going to stop developing it because MS asks them to--it's a revenue generator. NetMail/Hula is not much of an Exchange competitor IMHO.

      I believe that's why they open-sourced NetMail/Hula in the first place--to start getting it off their plate and onto someone elses who wants to run with it. Novell (and any company in the world) has a finite amount of programming resources and they cannot take on everything, as much as they do or don't want to.

      To my knowledge, NetMail was never really a full-featured desktop mail server anyway. It was a great large-scale webmail system and that's about it. I don't think that's the same boat that Exchange (or GroupWise for that fact) is in.

      Besides, as someone mentioned above, I think Zimbra is the winner here anyway.

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:16PM (#17025220) Homepage Journal
    What about Zimbra and Kolab?
    Both offer similar functionality to Exchange.
    While an Exchange server killer would be really nice it seems to me as there are already too many clients and ideas floating around with not real direction.
    Novell is a company and it's primary job is to make money by making their customers happy. I could very well be that the majority of their paying customers already have an E-Mail solution in place.
    Of course it is FOSS so if it is worth doing maybe the Ubuntu team will pick it up.

  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:22PM (#17025322)
    Okay, hate Microsoft all you want, but will someone tell me just what is so wrong with Exchange Server that makes it such a target for Open Source replacement? Is it that Exchange is basically an anchor for Windows Servers, or does anyone have a problem with Exchange itself?

    When you consider the available alternatives, is their any room here for suggesting that in this ONE case, Microsoft did something right, when it comes to Exchange Server? I would like someone to honestly tell me either that Exchange has problems that need fixing, or that Exchange must go for Linux to gain more share in the Enterprise space.

    Which is it, and why?

    Disclaimer: I was on the original Exchange team, but no longer work for Microsoft. I'm really just curious at this point what is driving the anti-Exchange bandwagon, because I don't see a real, viable competitor out there.

    Enlighten me.

    • by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:25PM (#17025358) Journal
      > Okay, hate Microsoft all you want, but will someone tell me just what is so wrong with Exchange Server that makes it such a target for Open Source replacement?

      It only runs on Windows? Duh.
      • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:33PM (#17025504)
        The point of the question is: WHERE IS THE OPEN SOURCE ALTERNATIVE?

        Every time this subject comes up on /., you get myriad statements on how nice it would be to have integrated calendar/scheduling, et all, but is Open Source any closer to delivering on that? If not, why not? I ask because it would appear that there is not going to be a real Exchange alternative soon, and I wonder if energy might best be used on something else?

        Its like Excel, in that whatever you come up with, it WONT be better, but maybe just as good? At what point, when you cant win the game, do you just CHANGE the game so you can win?

        Again, I'm just asking.

    • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:26PM (#17025366)
      You haven't lived until you take over an account with a Notes server with 500 users in the Notesdata directory, and 400 of the id files are named "".
    • by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:39PM (#17025644) Journal
      Exchange is what keeps people locked into windows, honestly. That and Excel - 'calc' in OpenOffice blows. Open source projects have been trying to replace Exchange. I think the projects are just too fragmented, trying to compete with each other. If their forces combined maybe something would coalesce. There also seems to be a prevailing thought among a lot of developers of 'screw the corporate user' that as long as Linux works for hobbyists that's what its there for. Not everyone, but enough people to keep it from becoming mainstream.

      But yes, Excel and Exchange are the two things Microsoft did absolutely right.
    • Okay, hate Microsoft all you want, but will someone tell me just what is so wrong with Exchange Server that makes it such a target for Open Source replacement?

      First, it only runs on Windows, and thereby supports the Microsoft monopoly. Second, when it craps all over itself and corrupts your mail, it's nightmarishly hard to recover any new mail that came in after your last backup. Or so I'm told - so far I've avoided ever having to actually deal with it.

      Many of us simply believe that Microsoft, which has been convicted of anticompetitive behavior in multiple countries, should not be supported at all. Ever. Period.

    • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:47PM (#17025802)
      Okay, hate Microsoft all you want, but will someone tell me just what is so wrong with Exchange Server that makes it such a target for Open Source replacement?

      For many open-source idealists, it is a major target because it is (1) commonly used, (2) in a business-critical role, and (3) close-source.

      I would like someone to honestly tell me either that Exchange has problems that need fixing, or that Exchange must go for Linux to gain more share in the Enterprise space.

      Since Exchange server doesn't run on Linux, clearly the perceived need for Exchange is a barrier to Linux advancement, whether or not Exchange also has functional problems, but many people who want Linux to advance (probably virtually all of them that don't have a financial stake in some Linux-oriented business) are open-source idealists that want open-source software to become more dominant, and Exchange is, simply by its own dominance, a target for that, besides any barrier it poses to Linux adoption.
    • by idlake ( 850372 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @01:50AM (#17029604)
      I'm really just curious at this point what is driving the anti-Exchange bandwagon, because I don't see a real, viable competitor out there.

      Yes, and that is exactly why there need to be competitors for Exchange. Maybe in Microsoft group-think, a single proprietary product from Microsoft is the way the world should run, but in reality, we live in a free market and buyers should have a choice. And they need a choice so that the client access license costs of $67/client are driven down.

      Of course, the reasons buyers don't have a choice right now is because Microsoft has largely killed all the commercial alternatives through anti-competitive behavior like bundling, tying, and proprietary protocols. Open source is the only entity still capable of challenging Microsoft and giving users a choice.

      I would like someone to honestly tell me either that Exchange has problems that need fixing,

      You know, this question coming from someone on the Exchange team just leaves people speechless. To answer your question, apart from its anti-competitive design, yes, Exchange has technical problems.
  • What timing. (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheFlu ( 213162 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:24PM (#17025330) Homepage
    What odd timing. I literally swapped out Hula this morning with Really Simple CalDAV Store []. The only reason I used Hula was for it's CalDAV support, so that Evolution clients can work on a shared calendar. It worked fine for a while, but it started eating up 99% of the CPU on the server, so I had to dump it for something else. So far RSCDS seems to do the trick, but I haven't tested it extensively yet. You'd think a shared calender server wouldn't be very difficult to implement, but there doesn't seem to be many stable options in the Open Source world. Evolution's CalDAV support does seem to be a bit lacking, however, so that could be the bulk of my problem I imagine.

    Thus far I've tried Hula, RSCDS, Cosmo, and Apple's CalendarServer and none of them seem to be the perfect solution. I'd love to see a package that acts as both a CalDAV server, but also gives you the ability to view and edit the calendars via a nice looking web-interface as well. I'm thankful for the projects that are currently being worked on however, and I guess I should stop complaining and start coding...
  • by SQLz ( 564901 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:25PM (#17025352) Homepage Journal
    Memorable quote which kinda sums up the MS Novell deal.

    Robert's Father: Longshanks acquired Wallace. So did our nobles. That was the price of your crown.
  • by Fox_1 ( 128616 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:29PM (#17025418)
    If I just had that I'd be rich,
    I'm just bitter, I got burned when they did this a few years ago
    my company, other companies, and about 200 of their own all screwed the day before we went live
    by now though we should be thinking
    "Fool me once
    Shame on you
    Fool me twice
    Shame on me."
    fool me three times - that's enemy action.
  • by segedunum ( 883035 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:40PM (#17025678)
    I'm not suprised they're dropping Hula, or at least support in the form of developers for it. Hula was released simply because Novell had a ton of crufty Netmail code, didn't know what to do with it and couldn't make any money out of it.

    Netmail was repackaged into Hula with a logo, snazzy graphics and a lot of pretty meaningless hype. The project didn't really do anything because everyone already had a POP/IMAP and SMTP server, and there were countless open source groupware and calendaring solutions around such as eGroupware, OpenGroupware and Kolab. Novell should have invested their time and effort into one of these and bit the bullet over Groupwise in order to really try and take the ubiquitous Exchange head-on in corporate environments and make some headway. However, Novell still seem to be flogging that rancid and long deceased horse called Groupwise for some reason. Every Novell using company that I know (Netware, Groupwise etc.) is using Exchange, and Novell were going to need to do something different to change that - remove licensing costs at the server and CAL ends, ensure trouble-free Exchange migrations, ensure there was a free and working Outlook plugin etc. etc. Basically, remove the barriers to actually moving away - something Novell is hopelessly poor at. All of their customers (apart from Suse) they have now are basically historical from the eighties and nineties, as you have to literally fight to buy anything from Novell.

    Novell strikes me as a company in a spot of real bother, especially with financial results around the corner. Linux (Suse) revenue has not increased in any way that is going to sustain them as a company by itself, Red Hat is miles off in the distance, the Netware userbase is continuing to shrink which it was before Novell's Suse move, and worse, there is still no sign whatsoever that Novell is creating a Linux distribution with open source software that will replace Netware, functionally speaking, and completely satisfy their existing customer base and stop them leaving. Novell talks a lot about choosing a Netware or Linux kernel in OES (Open Enterprise Server) or virtualising Netware, as is, under Linux via Xen. That's the extent of their support of Netware and the roadmap that they have for it, and by all accounts their customers are less than impressed by it.

    It seems as though Novell really needed that $300 million from Microsoft, and I would expect many more cutbacks on lots of open source projects and even the proprietary software that isn't making any money in the run up to the next round of financial results.
  • by drDugan ( 219551 ) * on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:44PM (#17025730) Homepage
    The MS/Novell deal and (almost) killing Hula may be connected, maybe not. It doesn't matter.

    It represents the largest, most obvious call to arms for the open source community in years:

    We need to build a viable Exchange killer: a open, free (as in speech) alternative for IT managers who would choose Exchange.

    This would be a massive project, but so were the Linux Kernel, Apache, Samba, Sendmail and others. We probably would not want it to be a single application, like Exchange, complete with kitchen sinks and deck chair stands... but a suite of tools that mirrored functionality and talked seamlessly with existing Exchange installations would be adequate.
  • by roca ( 43122 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:56PM (#17025984) Homepage
    Exchange is an expensive disaster. Attempting to replace it with something equivalent that's open-source is a waste of time. The genuinely attractive alternative is Google Apps For Your Domain, i.e., GMail (and GCalendar) for your company. Instead of spending lots of energy and money on IT staff and infrastructure and getting crappy results, Google gives you a better product for free. Who's going to say no?

    "People want to control their data", I hear you say. Actually many companies already outsource this stuff, and more would if it was free and the service was great.

    "Disgruntled Google employee could steal my data", I hear you say. Hello, your OWN disgruntled employees can already do so, and are probably more likely to.

    "GMail doesn't guarantee uptime", I hear you say. Google's already more reliable than than 99% of IT departments. I'm sure they'd be willing to take a little of your money in exchange for a contract that says so.

    "Don't want ads", I hear you say. I'm sure Google would take a little more of your money to make them go away. Thanks to their economies of scale, they can charge far less than the cost of in-house email and still make ridiculous profits.
    • by arkhan_jg ( 618674 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:51PM (#17026754)
      You missed one - bandwidth. Some of us out in the sticks have to pay a lot of money for high speed access; we've got 2MB SDSL atm, and can't afford faster. It's already saturated with our number of users, and you want me to put one of our most heavily used apps on the outside of it?

      Google apps for my domain on a box in my server cabinet? Then we'd be talking.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:25PM (#17026420) Homepage Journal
    Much of what Novell was promising for Hula was ideas that have been either implemented or planned in the Citadel project [ []] anyway. (We pitched Citadel to them about six months before the Hula announcement ... and they said they weren't interested, and then they announced their project. Draw your own conclusions.)

    Anyway, do try Citadel -- it is a very well-integrated collaboration server with an ajax-style web user interface, built-in data stores, lightweight implementations of all relevant protocols (POP, IMAP, SMTP, etc.) ... very easy to install, and just a joy to use.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:41PM (#17026622) Homepage Journal
    Too bad Novell didn't prioritize the development of the MS Exchange network APIs first. By now the protocol implementation should have been done. So Outlook and the rest of MS Office, as well as other Exchange servers in clusters, and Active Directory, all could have connected to a Hula shell as if connecting to a real Exchange server. That's the key competitive feature best done by an org like Novell. Which, as OSS, the rest of the community could use for our own apps.

    Which we could still use now, even though Hula itself is dead.

    It really looks now like Novell doesn't get "open source", and never did. Its management understood that it was the new buzzword, the only way to compete with Microsoft, somehow. So they bought a Linux distro (SuSE), and a desktop (Ximian), and announced a groupware (Hula). But they never really opened their projects, and left the source open mainly as a way to keep developers interested in developing for the "Novell" brand, long after there was any other reason left.

    Meanwhile, SCO's lawsuits showed the power of open source, both threatening markets and defending from patent suits, as part of an organized effort by the global developer public. Even a way to work with a competitor like IBM without directly coordinating, just keeping the open content out in the public.

    But they learned nothing about open source, its community, its culture, it's true value. They learned only that Microsoft so fears Linux that it will pay huge money for cross-licensing a single Linux run by a clueless, decrepit old competitor MS has already beaten every time, for 20 years. So MS can just crush it last, after MS has used Novell to attack Linux.

    I really don't care about Novell. Their Directory Server will be a loss, but the LDAP servers will improve when they have to serve its demanding market. SuSE's SW and ecosystem will convert to other Linux distros, probably mostly Ubuntu. Ximian will be replaced by other GNOME developers, or just a different brand on the same team members.

    And Hula will sink into the sunset, an empty promise by a senile old sellout. I just wish we could pick its bones clean for the next competitor to Exchange, without the Novell execs of limited vision getting in the way.
  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:48PM (#17026714) Homepage Journal
    We really need a full active directory replacement. LDAP + KRB5 integrated compatible with Windows, with a schema compatible with Windows 2003 Server or such, and a management console that doesn't involve writing up text files and then using some command line tool to parse them.
  • by daveb ( 4522 ) <davebremer AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:03PM (#17026910) Homepage
    Yeah sure the MS deal is too fresh to be coincidence.

    But I'm wondering why Novell was going for it at all. Their proprietary system GroupWise is extremely stable and scalable (unless your admin's are monkeys) and makes exchange look sick unless you are talking about things like umm - you know - FEATURES and other fluff. But honestly - it ain't bad.

    Why would they champion an OOS alternative to their own product?

    But then - I can't say I really understand why they would champion Linux over Netware, unless they are acknowledging they've lost the OS battle and want to concentrate on selling the service and application layer/ring.

    I guess they were really buying into the whole OOS thing. Well - up until some manager started to wonder what exactly is left to sell.
  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:44PM (#17027390) Journal []

    Novell needed to do some due diligence before they entered this deal. So sad. Where will all their engineers go?

  • This is a loss (Score:3, Interesting)

    by horza ( 87255 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:56AM (#17030414) Homepage
    Hula was a great solution for those of us sick of configuring and reconfiguring Postfix/Sendmail/Courier/etc. Hula takes minutes to install, and a few clicks to add users and domains. It provided everything out of the box. I am really disappointed and was really looking forward to Hula with complete CalDav and re-enabled graphical admin. I don't really want the mish-mash of apps combined into expensive 'solutions' such as Zimbra. I guess it's time to dust off the HOW-TOs and feel the pain again.


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