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Will Evolution Exchange Microsoft? 324

Anonymous Howard writes "Infoanarchy has a comprehensive review of Ximian Evolution. The reviewer claims that the Windows/Outlook combination is inherently inferior in terms of security, because users have too many privileges on the host system. Also, Evolution's indexing appears to be quite well scalable."
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Will Evolution Exchange Microsoft?

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  • Evolution 1.0.3 (Score:2, Informative)

    by dnaumov ( 453672 )
    Evolution is coming along very well. It has some small annoying bugs (at least when running under FreeBSD), but all in all, I find it to be a better solution then Outlook and Co. It'f faster and sure as hell looks much better too.
  • by quakeaddict ( 94195 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:05AM (#3449585)
    Would You Trust a Source Named Anarchy?

    Enough said.

    • "Anarchy" was Alan Cox's user name with SUCS when they started work on NET3.

      A lot of people trust his source now.
    • I might... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by danro ( 544913 )
      Would You Trust a Source Named Anarchy?

      More than I would trust one ending with .gov.
      At least the word anarchy (probably) makes you pay attention to what they are saying and force you to evaluate the information critically.
      If it passes this evaluation it is, IMHO, more worth than any information you just swallow down because some source with "authority" tells you.

      This is one of the good things about slashdot too. Half of what is posted here is rubbish, there are true gems here too. But you have to use your intellect to find them.
      • Re:I might... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gowen ( 141411 )
        Would You Trust a Source Named Anarchy?

        More than I would trust one ending with .gov

        And yet, irony of ironies, the infoanarchy article is copyright and the vast majority of stuff on .gov (www.nps.gov [nps.gov], say) is in the public domain.

        Anarchy, smanarchy, I say.
  • by funkmastermike ( 264946 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:05AM (#3449587)
    Everyone should switch to AOL email.. I mean come on.. dont you read the news? The easiest just got easier!
  • Evolution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:08AM (#3449601)
    Evolution is one of those pieces of OSS, that you can point at and say: "OSS can deliver, there, eat this". It belongs to the group of amazing projects like Apache, Samba and Mozilla if you ask me. Now if we had some great multimedia programs (MPlayer is getting close though).
  • NNTP support (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AirLace ( 86148 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:09AM (#3449606)
    Anyone who's been tracking Evolution development from the early days will be aware that it used to have preliminary NNTP (news/Usenet) support that was lobotomised for the 1.0 release. At present, this is the only major feature that's holding it back from competing with the likes of Outlook Express and Outlook. Sure, GNOME already has the Pan newsreader, but it's clearly designed for computer-literate people and doesn't really integrate with any email client.

    So, what's holding back NNTP support? It can't be all that difficult to do, after all Evolution provides all the infrastructure for handling large lists of messages. Only when NNTP support arrives do I think Evolution will be-feature complete.
    • Lack of NNTP support isn't hold Evolution back from competing with the likes of Outlook. Outlook has never had NNTP support.

      The best you can do is configure an Exchange server to take an NNTP feed and file it into public folders. That's a hack at best and nowhere near as convenient as a real NNTP interface in Outlook would be.

      Outlook Express has NNTP, yes. But, there are so many other Windows based newsreaders that are better (e.g. Agent and Gravity).
    • Re:NNTP support (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tps12 ( 105590 )
      I would think that these are seperate enough that they should be distinct Bonobo components (that have a lot of components in common, of course) that are then wrapped together with a lightweight navigator (or just stuck in a web browser?). Maybe they are trying to figure out some kind of elegent design for this?

      Also, while I agree that technically, dealing with newsgroups is similar to dealing with mailboxes, the two have always been semantically different in my mind. Whether your email is stored locally or on a server, and whether the news articles are on a server or cached locally, email tends to have more of a "sense of mineness" about it. By that I mean, e.g., I would expect my email program to let me set up a filter that puts any email with "narts" in the subject into my narts.com mailbox, but I would be very surprised if my newsreader allowed me to set up such a "filter" for putting things into alt.narts. Deletion is similar in its different meanings in each context.

      Basically, I think there is a UI issue to resolve. Namely, an interface that is too consistent across the two applications risks implying more similarity than is really justified, while inconsistency requires the user to learn twice as many interfaces. I think the second option is better (though I don't know how best to go about it), since in either case, the user is going to have to learn two sets of semantics. The second one makes this explicit by also requiring the learning of two sets of syntax.

    • Only when NNTP support arrives do I think Evolution will be-feature complete.

      While this is 100% true, I cannot stop from wondering how many of the featurs will have to be polished and/or debugged until they are really working.

      Take, for example, the "gpg support": the article bluntly states "you just create a keypair, tell Evolution the ID of your key and it does the rest: signing, encryption, key import, signature verification etc. - it's all there just waiting to be used.". Well... this is purely fiction: ok, it *apparently* works, it encrypts ok, but it messes up the signature check (see also ximian's bugzilla [ximian.com]). Two points here:

      first, this is the reason I didn't switch to Evolution. Everybody has access to my public key, so the signature-checking is a feature as important as encryption (to me at least).

      this casts a shadow on the whole review (as someone posted, "Would You Trust a Source Named Anarchy?" [slashdot.org]). If all the "testing" was as shallow as it was for the gpg support, the answer is definitely "no".

      • Re:NNTP support (Score:5, Informative)

        by fejjie ( 192392 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @12:17PM (#3451385)
        While Evolution is broken for inline pgp, I have to ask - did you submit bug reports? :-)

        Most of the in-line pgp bug reports didn't start flowing in until after the 1.0 release which by that point was too late to fix for the most part because it to fix it right, we have to redesign the way we handle it completely.

        btw, I as well as the mutt maintainer and every other mail client author that implements in-line pgp will agree that in-line pgp is just plain broken to begin with.

        if you read the bug report that you linked to, you'll notice that there are a lot of possible security holes that all clients must face when implementing in-line pgp.

        I would highly suggest you convince your friends to use PGP/MIME. There is some slight brokeness in Evolution's PGP/MIME implementation too (it sometimes says a signature isn't valid when it is, but it will never ever say a signature is valid when it isn't) but this is being fixed in the development branch. If you have questions about why this didn't work, feel free to email me or the evolution mailing lists and I will explain it in as much detail as you want.
  • by YeeHaW_Jelte ( 451855 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:13AM (#3449615) Homepage
    What this all boils down to is security vs. user-friendliness. What the reviewer basically says about security is that the older 9x windows versions are not secure -- which is true, and that the newer NT based versions are but the lazy users don't bother to configure their systems in a secure way. Then he chalks down a point for linux and goes on.
    But this is not a inherent linux strenght or windows weakness; it's just user behaviour. It's comparable with doing regular backups and such. Basically, the reviewer is saying: "My installation of linux runs a cronjob which makes a tarball of my important files daily, and my installation of windows doesn't; hence linux is less prone to data loss"
    It's just a differance in accent; windows puts more of an accent on user-friendliness and linux more on security.
    • I think there is a simple fact you are overlooking in the difference. The average Joe user doesn't give a damn about how it works and why it works. Joe just wants it to work. He will plod along and open attachments without thinking and spread viruses again and again and again.

      Asking Joe to install security patches and turn off options to make his Outlook more secure is like asking a horse to bark. If he could understand what you are saying, he wouldn't do it anyway.

      If his e-mail client AND OS are built secure from the ground up, then Joe will have to make an effort to compromise his system.
    • by neo ( 4625 )
      User friendly OS's are secure to start and allow users to then configure their security down if they choose to. If NT isn't secure out of the box and this version of Linux is, then that is indeed a point for Linux. Your analogy of the tarball file is offbase because it ignores the fact that you don't need to do anything to make this distro of linux secure.

      So it doesn't boil down to security vs. useability. Start secure and be useable.
      • Thr problem I find with many "secure out of the box" solutions is that they do it in such a way that the system is totally locked down and almost useless. No problem for an experienced sysadmin, they make the necessary changes for what they need. However this is frustrating to your average user and they are likely to just turn all the security off and leave it at that. My mom does not want to know how her computer works, and does not want to mess with configuration, she just wants it to work.

        Believe me, a bunch of average Joes that aren't technically savvy were running Linux, most or all of them would be logging in directly as root since they wouldn't want to be bothered with SUing.

        I'm not saying that OSes should be somewhat secure by default, and Microsoft has been doing a better job of this as of late, however you can't make them uber locked down systems like most geeks have, it will just piss them off.
        • I'm not saying that OSes should be somewhat secure by default, and Microsoft has been doing a better job of this as of late, however you can't make them uber locked down systems like most geeks have, it will just piss them off.

          Exactly. In most cases security goes directly against usability. Why do I have to log into my *home* machine? Why do I have to log in as admin/root to install a new application? Why can I only run this particular program as admin/root? These are all questions that the typical home user will ask when using their home machine. Having to do these things ends up making the machine less usable to the home user(albeit more secure).
          • I notice that some scripts give one the option of saving the password (kppp, e.g.) where others don't.

            Perhaps the easiest user friendly Linux would be one where the user creation program embedded the passwords in various scripts (e.g., kppp, xkill, etc.) that required action at the console. This would limit the security vulnerabilities created by this to those who had access to the console (is it ttya0? I don't know these new numbers yet).

            For most machines one only needs to worry about access that isn't taking place from the console, so weakening the security of console applications isn't too bad. Unless it's going to be in a public area, or ... But this would allow for both maximal user friendliness and reasonable security. More distributions intended for tech folk could continue. And it could be the same distribution, but with a tiny bit of difference during the install process.
  • Look and Feel (Score:3, Interesting)

    by skroz ( 7870 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:13AM (#3449620) Homepage
    Am I the only person that wonders why MS hasn't sued the crap out of Ximian yet? As far as look and feel goes, Ximian Evolution is as close to Outlook in terms of apperance as it could get. The only real differences in user experience exist in areas where functionality differs in such a way as to necessarily alter the UI.
    • I believe Apple once tried to sue Microsoft over look and feel, and lost.

      I believe MS have no claims over Evolution at all.
    • Yah, and it worked so good for Apple to go after MS for stealing their look and feel..

    • by mike_sucks ( 55259 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:42AM (#3449750) Homepage
      "Am I the only person that wonders why MS hasn't sued the crap out of Ximian yet?"

      Sort of. I don't know why MS hasn't sued them, but I'm more curious as to why Miguel/Ximian insists on copying *everything* MS does. I have a strong dislike of Outlook's UI, and so there's no chance I'm going to use Evolution - it looks exactly the same as it's non-free competitor. Yiick!

      Gnumeric of course was the first such example. Use a windows-like GTK theme and you'll have trouble telling the difference between it and Excel. Doesn't Gnumeric also use a VB-like scripting language? I know the function library is very similar.

      Then there's the whole Mono/.NET thing. C#, the intermediate format, the runtime - it's all a Java clone, but dancing to MS's tune rather than Sun's. Given how the majority of the Free Software / OSS community has shun Java, why are these guys jumping on what is essentially the same bandwagon, albeit one that's shiny new and pink, rather than a more mature one?

      ObJavaFreeSoftwareDisclosure: I *am* a free software Java developer, so I guess I am biased here.. but honestly, what gives?

      Anyone taking bets on Ximian's next product? An IE clone based on Gecko? A shoddy OS based on Linux? Sendmail with GUI just like Exchange's?

      • I don't think that Gnumeric uses Basic exclusively as it's scripting language, but I could be wrong. I do know that the purpose of this feature is to allow you to import spreadsheets containing Basic macros.
      • by RangerBob ( 30028 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @09:00AM (#3449861)
        Part of the reason you'd emulate what the majority of people are using is to make it easier for them to transition to your software. You can't expect the majority of home users to want to switch to OSS if they'd have to relearn what might have taken them a long time to learn previously (and no, anyone that's had to try to help home users learn software can attest that this isn't an exaggeration).

        Businesses are the same way. They've trained users on the software they need to do their jobs. While the total cost of OSS may be lower, we can't forget that switching to OSS would incur training costs more than likely. By making OSS emulate the competitor, you provide an extra enticement for switching.

        Yeah, we might not like how some of the MS stuff looks, but the one good thing about most OSS software is that it's often times easy to customize the interface :)
    • Re:Look and Feel (Score:4, Interesting)

      by reaper20 ( 23396 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:58AM (#3449847) Homepage
      Though many Linux apps suffer from clone ripoff syndrome - Evolution was designed like this on purpose.

      A guy came by my desk yesterday, and I was running Evolution on my linux box. He sat there and stared at it for a moment. He thought it was Outlook. I told him it wasn't. He wasn't even aware that something like Evolution existed for *nix. So, I let him play with it for a while - he picked it up EASY.

      I've also been doing some user tests with Openoffice and KOffice. By far, Evolution is the easiest for the typical office users to learn. They even call it Outlook.

      I'm not a fan of the Outlook-esque UI, but if that means that Joe Blow can easily switch to Free Software, then I'm all for it.
    • well, MS seems to be having trouble even defending their dubious Windwos trademark... and they are rather on thin ice with the whole Look & Feel thing to begin with.
  • by zerOnIne ( 128186 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:19AM (#3449639) Homepage
    i've recently switched to using evolution under debian linux at work, and i've been extremely pleased ... corporate standard here is netscape messenger v4.x, and so i'd basically defaulted to that on my old sparc workstation ... when i finally got a new PC, it came preinstalled with win2k, and for a while i just didn't have the time to install a proper os on there... i didn't really look forward to using outlook (no matter how much i dislike messenger) so i just kept my mailstore in ns messenger ... when i finally got a chance to put linux on my desktop pc, i tried out kmail, which effortlessly imported all my nsmail messages ... at this time i also decided to switch to IMAP, though, and kmail's IMAP support is decidedly lacking (at least in 2.2) ... a coworker suggested i try out evolution, and it's been absolutely great ... had no problem interfacing with the IMAP and LDAP servers here, and the interface is just what i've been wanting in a mail client for a long time ... virtual folders are absolutely great, as they allow me to have everything all nice and sorted in a graphical interface (ie, evolution), whilst keeping things in just a straight list for console clients (ie, pine) for when i'm only able to SSH into the corporate network

    so yeah, overall it totally rocks, and while there are a few bugs / annoyances in it, i've been very pleased overall ... and besides, the logo has a monkey! how can you go wrong with a monkey?
  • Perhaps this has been Ximian's strategy all along. It'd actually be really funny to have MS suffer from the same strategy it has applied to its previous competitors... Of course this depends on it gaining an appreciable market share...


  • I finally can get all my stuff out of outlook, damn it!!! Life sucks when you use outlook and the only thing you get exported out of it is crippled data and e-mail. ugh!
  • by DocSnyder ( 10755 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:25AM (#3449663)
    Both at work and at home, Evolution is my primary email and PIM software. It is a really good idea for Ximian to provide a plugin capable of talking to a Microsoft Exchange server through its proprietary interfaces.

    Yet a much more important issue is the other direction - open and freely accessible groupware protocols implemented by a free-as-in-speech server solution, with Outlook connectivity provided by a Windoze plugin. For example, the Bill Workgroup Server [billworkgroup.org] takes this approach.

    Microsoft Exchange is not the only major proprietary groupware solution - Lotus Notes is here to stay, to be even more proprietary - it's quite impossible to read or write Lotus NSF files with anything but Lotus software. Free groupware standards exist and should be used by anyone. The user should have free choice between PHPgroupware, Evolution, Outlook and Lotus Notes, similar to IMAP providing choice between lots of different email clients.

    • Yet a much more important issue is the other direction - open and freely accessible groupware protocols implemented by a free-as-in-speech server solution, with Outlook connectivity provided by a Windoze plugin. For example, the Bill Workgroup Server takes this approach.
      Doesn't look so "open" to me! From their FAQ [billworkgroup.org]:
      Is the MAPI Service Provider for Outlook (TM) also open source? NO, all code that's written for Windows is closed source. You can get a 30 day test licence for free. After this trial period, you have to buy a licence at N&H or an authorized reseller.
      The server portion may be open but the middleware portion is closed tight as a drum and that's what would make it it all usefull. Actually it all reads pretty disengenious to me, ballyhooing free & open but keeping the good part closed and pricey.

  • scalability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs.ajs@com> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:25AM (#3449664) Homepage Journal
    I sent myself a few thousand extra messages by accident last night. The acid test of every mail reader I've used has been exactly this scenario. Evolution opened my mailbox, showed me the messsages. I deleted them.

    It all took less than 10 seconds, and most of that time was SSL/IMAP reads from my IMAP server. Best darn mail reader I've ever used.

    If you haven't tried it try this out: bring it up, select a message in the subjuct summary window. Right-click and go to the "create a vfolder on this message" sub-menu. It just rocks. You can even have vfolders that encapsulate multiple real folders or EVEN ACCOUNTS.

    Very sweet!
  • Evolution Comments (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tucay ( 563672 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:29AM (#3449679)
    I've been using Evolution 1.03 built from sources using Gentoo and I have been extremely happy with it. Evolution will even underline your spelling errors which my Outlook98 would not do. I imported six years worth of email which was an 800MB Outlook PST file and have some folders with over 6,000 messages. The filter functions are very powerful and I'm able to filter out spam very easily. There still is the odd bug that I encounter but none have been show stoppers that prevent its use. I'm sure those will be fixed soon. Evolution was the program that allowed me to use Linux as my primary computer. I only boot Windows to run my tax program and accounting programs now. I might try Plex86 to see if I can run my Windows legacy applications within Linux. Goodbye Outlook. /g
    • I imported six years worth of email which was an 800MB Outlook PST file and have some folders with over 6,000 messages.
      It can read .pst files, then? This [slashdot.org] poster seems to be having problems. Being able to do this would be essential for me to switch, and Evolution could be the "killer app" that propels me into using Linux more than Windows on my home box.
      • by Nodatadj ( 28279 )
        If you use Mozilla on win32 you can convert .pst files into mbox files, that Evolution can then import. It's not the nicest way, but tis the only way at the moment.
    • Try wine if you can (apt-get install wine on debian). If the normal wine doesn't work, see if you can pay $5 to transgaming and download their new WineX 2.0 packages. I think codeweavers also has a version of wine which is improved from the base distribution ... maybe $30 to try that one out, but I'm not sure.

      I know it's probably not an option, but also investigate GNUCash. It seems like a dumb way to manage your finances at first, but it's pretty well implemented once you get used to the "double accounting" method (where $$$ goes into "A", and then you move it from "income A" into "expense B")

  • This review does point out a huge blind spot in OSS with regard to group collaboration: the lack of an OSS Exchange equivalent server. I was initially excited about the review, because I hoped that it might reveal such a holy grail, but alas, no. As soon as he started talking about group calendaring, it quickly devolved into "Pay $70 for this closed-source connector (per user) to connect to Exchange" which, of course, running on top of W2K server, would cost major bucks (I think a minimum 5-seat W2K Server is $800, then add Exchange, etc).

    And, of course, cost aside, this also implies that a shop with microsoft-free aspirations currently has to buckle under and purchase at least one Windows server/exchange combo, plus hire or contract the skill to administer the beast. This is exactly what happened to my small company recently. We were going to go Linux (and in fact our Web site and time tracking server were Linux-based), but being a "virtual" company, with everyone working out of our homes, we required strong group collaboration. So, reluctantly, in came the W2K Server box running nothing but Exchange. If only there were a Linux-based option (even if it weren't OSS!). And yes, we looked at Notes, but I don't even want to go there... Of course there used to be OpenMail by HP (I think) but that's been sold off, is unavailable, and we can only wait and see where that goes (and, regardless, it won't be OSS).

    Now that a polished, capable client exists, it would be fantastic to complete the offering with a server.

    • by Lysander Luddite ( 64349 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:31AM (#3450450)
      Please review this article [ibm.com] in which a company used OSS to creat software that allows PC users using Outlook client to connect to Exchange servers.

      InsightServer is built atop these unmodified pieces of Open Source software:
      Cyrus IMAP Server, from Carnegie-Mellon University
      Exim MTA (Message Transfer Agent), from Cambridge University
      Berkeley Database, from the University of California
      GDBM GNU Database Libraries from Free Software Foundation
      http://www.gnu.org/software/gdbm/gdbm. html
      ProFTP from the ProFTPD Project
      Apache HTTP Server from the Apache Foundation

      Bynari has not modified these, and does provide the source code with the Open Source components.
      • I mean non-Exchange servers!

        "The big savings comes from substituting the InsightServer for Microsoft's Exchange server, and adding InsightConnector on the employees' Outlook(TM) client on their Windows desktops. From then on, Outlook clients behave as if they are talking with an Exchange server. Employees enjoy the integrated functionality of e-mail, contact information, and scheduling, while the employer gains Linux reliability, ease of central administration."
    • I've been involved in starting a new OSS project to address just that need:


      We have already coded an initial version of virus and spam filtering, along with integration to the open source Apache James mail server. The project is in need of more developers, so be sure to take a look at the website!

    • Have you looked at PHP Groupware ? It's not finished yet, but it might suit your needs.
  • Getting closer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by s.a.m ( 92412 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @08:35AM (#3449713) Journal
    Evolution is one of the few things out there that could draw attention of the corporate eyes to using Linux as a desktop. The features that it has are really nice and comprable to those found in Outlook.

    What will make it even better is the ability to import my mail from Outlook Express and handle about 10000 emails in a folder.

    When it supports shared calenders then it will be great. Want to know why that feature is important? Well simply because the office manager can enter everyone's schedule into it and then everyone else can look at it to see where they're supposed to be, or if someone is gonna be going on vacation.

    But all in all, it's a great program and I reall hope it keeps on improving. Now if only they got on of the MTA's to mimic the functionality of Exchange, as one easy to use package, then THAT would be awesome! I'd be able to convince my company to switch in no time.

    • Re:Getting closer (Score:2, Informative)

      by GenCuster ( 121609 )
      When it supports shared calenders then it will be great. Want to know why that feature is important? Well simply because the office manager can enter everyone's schedule into it and then everyone else can look at it to see where they're supposed to be, or if someone is gonna be going on vacation.

      Evolution has two different forms of shared calender support. A p2p option for other evo clients, and through the exchange plugin Exchange's shared calender support.
  • I use to use Balsa which was a fine email client for standard email but I have moved over to evolution for one reason, the integration of contact information and palm support in the Ximian version.

    I like being able to sync up with my palm and have all my contact info reflected in my email client. The task and calendar functions work very well too. My company uses Notes but supports pop3 so I am set. Ximian I hope is working on a Notes connector. That would be the best.

    Evolution is a very slick app. My only criticism is the adherence to UI standards based off the bloated slow Outlook model and the fact there is no easy way to insert and html document even while sending html based emails. This sounds like a silly thing but our timesheets are online and if I want to give my consulting company my status it is much easier to insert the html into an email than to send an attachment.

    ________________________________________________ __
  • Perhaps (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dfn5 ( 524972 )
    Maybe Evolution will be better than Outlook.... if they can keep the thing from core dumping. The primary reason I hate MS apps is that they are buggy as hell. While there is plenty of OSS out there that is high quality, Evolution has a way to go on the stability front. I'll stick with Kmail.


    • Do you have any facts, core dumps, or bug reports to back this? I use Evolution every day and for the last couple releases I have yet to see it crash.
    • Since when you last time used Evolution ? Not recently or you have something seriously wrong in your system. (Well, you do ofcourse, since you are running kde^H^Hmail) But seriously, personally, ive been using evolution since the first public release. I used to lauch redcarpet first thing in the morning and download the absolutely latests cvs snapshot builds just for the kick of it. And only 2. There has been a showstopper bugs. In both cases, i ended up my whole messagebase being duplicated again and again.. till i had something like 100000 mails in few folders. That was about over a year ago now. Since those few crucial things where fixed, i cant remember evolution crashing, halting or even misbehaving not twice, nor once. It has a rocksolid ride all the way. All thumbs up for this wonderfull project.
  • Few Points (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NetJunkie ( 56134 ) <jason DOT nash AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 02, 2002 @09:04AM (#3449881)
    First, a user doesn't REQUIRE full access to a Windows system. Just like UNIX, I can log in as root if I want, but it's not always a good idea. Set your users up to be just users and they'll have a harder time killing the system. Outlook 2000 is always more secure in regards to viruses. It won't let you run many attachments directly, and it will prompt you before letting something access your address book.

    Second, Evolution costs more than Outlook in an Exchange environment. When you buy an Exchange client license you get with it an Outlook license. If I were to use Evolution I'd still have to purchase the Exchange client license PLUS the Evolution connector for Exchange. So, it's not always cheaper.

    Finally, I consider Exchange to be Microsoft's best product. The server is very robust and extremely reliable. A good Exchange admin can set up Exchange and only needs to do minor maintenance and it'll run itself. Notice I said a GOOD admin...not just someone off the street. My Exchange servers run until something else, such as a hardware repair or firmware update, requires me to restart the system. The only software restarts I have to do usually are the fault of anti-virus software getting hung. Now that we've switched to Antigen those have gone away as well.
    • Second, Evolution costs more than Outlook in an Exchange environment. When you buy an Exchange client license you get with it an Outlook license. If I were to use Evolution I'd still have to purchase the Exchange client license PLUS the Evolution connector for Exchange. So, it's not always cheaper.

      Nice try, but you forgot to factor in the cost of a Windows license for each desktop. In both scenarios you must buy the Exchange client license, but with Outlook you have to purchase Windows to use it on, whereas with Evolution all you have to buy is the connector. So Evolution is still cheaper.
      • If you really want to compare apples to apples you have to consider the cost of a Linux distribution, assuming you want support...which most companies do. If I buy a PC from Compaq with Linux on it they are usually the same price as with Windows. That was always the case with Dell as well.

        Of course, you could buy a bare PC with no support, but that depends on your situation. It's worth a little per machine to me so that Compaq can't say it's a software problem. They support the entire system when it goes wrong.
    • Re:Few Points (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tweek ( 18111 )
      You don't get an outlook license. You get an Exchange client access license. With that license you are free to use the Microsoft Exchange mail client. Outlook requires a separate license. The reason the cost of evolution connector makes no sense is that most offices already have Office Standard licenses (like us) and outlook client is a part of standard.

      Of course with OpenOffice at 1.0, the cost of Ximian connector is more reasonable for new machines because companies might NOT already have Office licenses. What Ximian needs to do is take and brand a version of openoffice bundled with ximian connector and evolution to be the linux/whatever Office replacement. They could EASILY charge 100 bucks per office suite and still be better.
      • Microsoft no longer develops the Exchange client for Windows. When you buy Exchange Server you get two CDs in the box. You get the Server CD and the Outlook CD. You no longer get the old Exchange Client. Read the license, you can now use Outlook.
    • Finally, I consider Exchange to be Microsoft's best product

      Oh my, no. SQL Server 2000 is awesome. Exchange has merely stopped falling over all the time, it still doesn't have the interoperability or flexibility that should be de rigeur for MTA's.
  • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @09:14AM (#3449939) Homepage Journal
    I use Outlook at work... because I have to. Ok, so I could get a job at a place that doesn't use Windows, but I'm trying to get the ignorant to open their eyes and migrate. I'll save that story for another time...

    But I've been using Outlook at work for years, including all of its "advanced" features like custom forms. I've been using Evolution at home for maybe 6 months. I deal with up to 100 emails a day at work and I have to say Outlook's scalability absolutely sucks. To keep it running at any reasonable speed, I let it "auto-archive". When my local mail box was about 85mb, the client was just too slow. Searches could take 3 or 4 minutes (on a fast machine). And the custom forms are horrible. I'll never use them again. We also tried importing a few thousand contacts through Outlook (to Exchange), but beyond maybe 100 for a single Outlook user, it grinds to a screeching hault.

    It may sound silly, but my favorite feature of Evolution that's not in Outlook (97 at least) is the discussion threaded e-mail view. On a mailing list, for example, I can see a tree of the conversation and read it in conversation order rather than date. It's such a little thing, but that's really handy. With that, it's nice, easy configuration, it's speed, and all the other great features others are posting about, overall I prefer Evolution.

    One other thing about it that relates to every Windows and KDE/GNOME app: Linux desktops are multi-threaded properly so windows will never freeze with an app and the desktop won't freeze unless the destop app itself has a problem. If Outlook freezes, well I've got to see that frozen windows until if and when I can "end task" and all of the other apps run slowly around it, when the desktop doesn't feel like freezing also. When connected to a big e-mail server, proper multi-threading is a great feature for the client to have.
    • It may sound silly, but my favorite feature of Evolution that's not in Outlook (97 at least) is the discussion threaded e-mail view.

      View -> Current View -> Group by Conversation.

      Probably an Outlook2k thing (what I have). Outlook 97 is awful -- upgrade a little and you'll probably find you have less problems with scalability also (also depends a lot on your Exchange server, if that's slow, you're going to be slow).

      : Linux desktops are multi-threaded properly so windows will never freeze with an app and the desktop won't freeze unless the destop app itself has a problem

      Don't care to be a usage nazi, but Linux desktops tend to be in no way multithreaded. Just multi-process, in that the window manager runs separate from the rest of the GUI. This has its good and bad points, but in any case has zero relevance to the interaction of mail clients. You are using an ancient version of Outlook that doesn't multithread or do much of anything in the background. I could cast many aspersions on 5 year old versions of Linux as well...
    • I do know that Office 2000/XP do have discussion threading, and yes it's very nice for active mailing lists :)

  • by j09824 ( 572485 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @09:28AM (#3450016)
    One valid reason in the past has been that traditional Unix mail clients do not care much about usability. Most of them are console-based, all with their own keyboard syntax and menu layout.

    Console-based and keyboard-based apps can have excellent usability, as applications like Emacs show. What they don't have is "usability for beginners"--it takes a while to get proficient at them. But once people are proficient at them, they can be more efficient with them than in GUI-based systems.

    It is true that this may limit their adoption in corporations, but it is absolutely not true that therefore we all should settle on user interfaces that make making easy things easy to learn their number one priority.

    Also, few if any of the old clients have collaboration features like Outlook -- they are email clients and nothing else.

    Gee, this is no coincidence. In the UNIX world, collaboration and group applications happen in the file system. This is doubtlessly confusing for people who are used to Windows, but it has worked very well for the last 30 years on UNIX systems. Windows/Evolution-style systems don't look like an improvement over that.

    Don't get me wrong: Evolution is a nifty E-mail client, and it will doubtlessly attract many users, in particular users coming from Windows. However, neither Windows nor Evolution are the single gold standard for usability--there is not single gold standard for usability. There are many different kinds of user interfaces and many different kinds of people. Let's not fall into the Windows/Gates trap of believing that one size fits all.

  • by rutledjw ( 447990 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @09:34AM (#3450058) Homepage
    the fact that Evolution cannot unseat Outlook because outlook works and most users aren't going to make the effort to move to something new for essentially the same thing. Maybe not, it's the lemming factor.

    Nonetheless, if one was an SA or esp in management (of an SA group), I would think that finding an e-mail client that offered similar functionality, better security and ease-of-use as compared to Outlook would be welcomed. Particularly when these "idiot" e-mail viruses continue to be a problem. They waste the time of the SA group (cleaning up the mess) and kill productivity for the poor saps that are "victims" by opening these viruses. Finally, due to the similarity between Evolution and Outlook, a memo describing the new e-mail client and that it works like Outlook would likely suffice for transition.

    The fact that it DOESN'T run on Windows is an issue that will hopefully be resovled, although doesn't affect me, I admit...

  • Evolution looks pretty nice and has the basic functionality you would expect in such a package. But it still lacks a lot of the polish I would expect from something that wants to compete with Outlook as an easy-to-use full-features GUI mail client. For example, there is very little drag-and-drop support: you can't drag URLs onto the calendar, you can't link mail messages to TODO entries, etc. And--it just crashed on me with a "Segmentation Fault".

    Evolution is a good start in its category. But let's not overpromise.

  • Cool... but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zathrus ( 232140 )
    ... what about the hordes of people who use Windows? And want to continue doing so?

    I'm desperately looking for a new email client. I'm still using Eudora Lite 3.16 at home, simply because I haven't found anything to replace it with. The newer versions of Eudora are laden with spyware and ads. I looked at Pegasus and disliked it. Outlook and Outlook Express have nice ease of use, but we all know the utter lack of built-in security (this is Win98SE btw).

    Yeah, I'm probably going to nuke one of my boxes and put Linux back on it soon, but I'll still have a Windows box around for playing games, and it's likely to be my main PC while Linux is my putter/hack TiVo box.

    So, any suggestions on a decent Windows email client? I was really hoping Ximian was cross-compiled, but it doesn't appear so.
    • By far the best email client under Windows is The Bat! [ritlabs.com]. I've been using it for over a year and it's excellent, both in terms of its ease of use and its security. I've won it a few new converts too. Newbies like the fact they can attach files by dragging files from an Explorer window directly onto the text of their message. I like it because it has many privacy things built in such as placeholders for images when viewing HTML to stop spam merchants detecting who views their emails by embedding invisible external images.

      It's also feature rich. View multiple accounts, threaded conversations, etc. The software is solid as a rock and regularly updated. It costs $35 but you get a month free trial. One thing I appreciated is when I went over the 1 month it didn't lock me out from my email, it just encouraged me to pay. All in all one happy chap.

  • We host customers' intranets and email and we need a server replacement for customers that insist on having us host Exchange for the benefit of their Exchange clients. That is, I want to do just the reverse: keep the Exchange clients and replace the server for internal deployments. Oh magic 8-ball what sez you???
  • All of the offered features are available in KMail (KDE [kde.org]'s main e-mail client) and other other imap-capable programs (TkRat [tkrat.org] is very nice, for instance). The much advertised feature, that makes Evolution really stand out -- its compatibility with the Exchange's calendaring/scheduling is only available as part of the proprietory "Ximian Connector", which is not only not-free, but not even open source!

    I would not mind paying for it, but I want to compile a native FreeBSD binary -- they chose not to offer FreeBSD support [ximian.com]...

  • by Alik ( 81811 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:09AM (#3450305)
    ...is its lovely behavior of permanently saving every email as a file in your directory, even if you're using something like an IMAP server where the whole point is *not* to save messages locally. This leads to two problems:

    1. My quota gets eaten twice. I lose the mail quota for having mail stored on the server, plus I lose disk quota for the local copies.

    2. The directory is created with your default permissions, which for most shared systems include readability by others in the organization. I have been able to wander through other Evolution users' home directories and read their email. Joe User is not going to have a *clue* that this could be happening.

    OK, sure, local caching is good, but use some compression or encryption or *something*. (And yes, I still use it, because it's the nicest client out there. But security is not *that* hard.)

  • Palm syncing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by timmfin ( 556042 )
    I'm a fan of evolution, but it still can't sych mail messages with my palm (it will for calender, contacts, and such). I'm just hoping this feature will be integrated in the future.

    Oh yeah, is there any easy way to transfer outlook messages to Evolution (I've only used some dumb roundabout ways)
  • by wackysootroom ( 243310 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:50AM (#3450637) Homepage
    When Hemos ask the question "Will Evolution change Microsoft?" I feel obligated to say that evolution has theorically changed pond scum into human beings, but the downside is that it took millions on years.
  • by dy_dx ( 131159 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @10:53AM (#3450659)
    Evolution can't "exchange" Microsoft until a user can simply swap one application for the other. Right now, that swap involves a change of underlying OS. Now this might be the ultimate goal, but few users are willing to change OS over an application. So how do you get Windows users hooked on OSS? Simple. Give them free, open source applications for win32.

    Right now Ximian is just providing _current_ Linux users one more reason not to have to boot to Windows...which is great and should be applauded, but that alone won't win over new OSS users. If Evolution is serious about drawing in Outlook users (which they seem to be considering the UI), they have to do so on Microsoft's turf. Until they provide an easy-to-obtain-and-install win32 port, however, current and potential Outlook users will continue down the MS Office path and thus continue to provide MS with an office application suite monopoly.

    In this case, a win32 port would be an even bigger win because of OpenOffice. OpenOffice and Evolution would allow users to completely replace MS Office completely with better, user-friendly OSS alternatives. (Sure, Access would be the only holdout, but the fact is that a vast majority of MS Office users don't ever touch Access...and mdb tools [sourceforge.net] can give a little help to those that do).

    The day I can replace an expensive, frequently-used application like MS Office on my parents'/friends'/dog's/lusers'/senator's Wintel computer with a better, free alternative is the day that I can convince them of the value of OSS...not before.
  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:05AM (#3450776)
    We buy the academic open license MS Office suite for $60.00/seat. This includes Outlook as well as the whole office suite.

    Now how am I supposed to tell my boss that Linux/Evolution/Open Office, will free us from the licensing costs and license tracking overhead of closed proprietary software? The OS academic open license for Windows XP costs $40.00/seat and the Office suite costs $60.00/seat...for a total of $100.00 per seat.

    The exchange connector for Evolution costs $69.00! This doesn't give me an entire office suite....just an Exchange connector! And I still have the license tracking overhead of closed proprietary software.

    I'd be willing to consider this product as an Outlook replacement, but not at this cost.


    • Now how am I supposed to tell my boss that Linux/Evolution/Open Office, will free us from the licensing costs and license tracking overhead of closed proprietary software? The OS academic open license for Windows XP costs $40.00/seat and the Office suite costs $60.00/seat...for a total of $100.00 per seat.

      The exchange connector for Evolution costs $69.00! This doesn't give me an entire office suite....just an Exchange connector! And I still have the license tracking overhead of closed proprietary software.

      I understand where you're coming from, but you're missing a couple points.

      1) If you talk to Ximian, I'm guessing they may have an "academic discount" for Connector - and I KNOW they have a discount if you buy licenses in bulk.

      2) You ARE getting a full office suite. Go grab OpenOffice.org [openoffice.org] 1.0 :)
  • win32 port? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jilles ( 20976 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @11:14AM (#3450850) Homepage
    I mostly use windows with outlook. I am pretty fed up with outlook (slow, unstable, insecure, vendor lock in and hard to export mail/addresses without losing information) and would like an alternative. I've been looking for a serious alternative for a while. I specifically dislike Netscape (too slow, insists on running in the same process as my browser), Eudora (too ugly/old) and Pegasus (too ugly/old)and consider them to be inferior options and haven't seen any other comparable mail clients (in fact I consider outlook express to be better than any of these). There are plenty of other mail clients but they all lack features.

    Specifically I want HTML in my mail but no scripting (unlike the popular beliefs here, outlook can provide this functionality). This disqualifies any command-line clients. I want flexible filtering. I receive a lot of mail and filtering is essential to me. Outlook is pretty good in this area too. I don't use/care about calendering right now but may need it in the future. It needs to be fast. Outlook does not scale well. Searches take forever in my mailbox and sometimes it just sits there for minutes doing god knows what for no obvious reason leaving me waiting to read/send some mail.

    Evolution looks like it has most of the features I need and I would consider using it instead of Outlook. I like the concept of a virtual folder and would probably use such a feature to organize my mail (1 virtual folder for each of my colleagues, 1 folder per topic I'm working on, 1 with everything in it, etc.). Because it is open source I have some level of confidence it performs well and is secure. If only it had a win32 version.

    I think being crossplatform would convince a lot of organizations of standardizing on evolution. Reality dictates that most companies need to use ms office and depend on calendering. However, a lot of people are very annoyed by the continueing stream of outlook related security breaches. Most large companies have lost valuable time fixing such issues in the past few years. I'm an advanced user and know how to dodge security issues in outlook but it still is annoying.

    If evolution is anywhere near as good as it is claimed to be, a lot of people would switch if it was available on their platform of choice. I certainly would give it some serious consideration.
  • One flaw (Score:2, Insightful)

    One flaw with Linux/Evolution that definitely holds it back in some places is the setup of Palm syncronization. I would like to be able to sync my Palm device with Evolution's data.

    I'm sure it's possible to get it working, by reading some how-to's and following the instructions, but I never could. (under RedHat 7.2).

    Compare this to the Windows version, where most folks can achieve sync with Palm Desktop simply by plugging in the device and running setup.exe.

    Evolution seems to assume that you are already syncing the Palm with another Linux tool, when in fact, lots of folks might be starting from scratch. I'd like to see this improved to the point where they have a setup widget for Palm devices that starts from nothing, loads appropriate drivers, and then allows you to sync all your data with Evolution with no fuss.

    You can chalk this up to not being nerdy enough, but really, I don't think you should have to be a sysadmin to setup a Palm.

  • Many OS X users (like me) have been frustrated with MS's lack of a true Exchange client. The current client they have in Office X is Entourage, doesn't support any Outlook functionality. After reading the glowing review of Evolution and doing a little Google searching, it seems there may be an OS X port of Evolution soon!

    According to the Evolution hacker list, there is a port underway, though no posts have been made in the last month.

    http://lists.ximian.com/archives/public/evolution- hackers/2002-April/004332.html [ximian.com]

    It would be sweet irony if OS X users got 1) an email client for OS X that could deal with Exchange but not from MS, that 2) was better than Outlook itself.

    One thing I'm not clear on is Evolution's functionality. Can it handle all of Exchange's functions like being able to schedule meeting rooms and other resources, tasks, etc? If so, I could see a large number of users in my company dump their OS 9/Windows boxes and pick up new Macs running OS X...
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Thursday May 02, 2002 @07:18PM (#3454368) Homepage
    ...we're still lacking some essential tools for a vast group of corporate desktop environments. Of course, the server arena is far ahead, but OSS desktops are lacking, when we're talking about a 'complete solution'.

    Here are some of the things that we have that work, and work well. So far, we have:

    kdevelop - development environment

    KDE3 - desktop environment

    Evolution - mail, PIM, colaboration (albeit, you need the Connector to use Exchange Server)

    Mozilla/Konqueror - pick one. Browser, o'course. And there are others that are 'satisfactory' for most tasks as well.

    Xine/mplayer/xmms - media

    PDF viewer - many are available that work well.

    samba client component - combined w/ all the various file managers for X, it's equally as functional as the Windows clients.

    These items are getting there, but still need a lot of/some help:

    GIMP - 'replace' photoshop. Still needs a lot of work on making it easier to use for 'non-script writing' users. Several generations behind Photoshop in that respect, but quite/just as powerful for a technically advanced artist.

    OpenOffice - I'd say it's arrived for most things, if it were able to deal with Word documents and had revision history support. There are just too many documents out there that are in Word format that will still need to be read and written to. Those features need to be supported.

    gnumeric - as far as I know, it should be able to do anything someone needs to do, but I've never really used Excel or gnumeric, besides for some very basic work. It did what I needed it to.

    There might be some commericial solutions to these things (WineX, for instance), but the idea is to not have to rely on MS's horrid licensing extortion, etc.

    Here are the main applications that I feel are the main things that are keeping linux back on the desktop in companies:

    AutoCAD - there really aren't any OSS CAD solutions, let alone one that's comparable to AutoCAD. IMO, the best thing AutoDesk could do would be to release a version of their software for linux. The (possible) added development that would be necessary to port it would be beneficial to the overall stability of their product as well. I really don't see there being an OSS solution for AutoCAD in the near future, unless it's an abstration layer. CAD is such a complex, involved item and would require a high degree of backward compatability.

    Complete independence from any Microsoft product - Unless this happens, MS will still have a strong foothold on manipulating the industry, and will make things general hell for everyone else involved as long as possible.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard