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HP's OpenMail to support Linux 86

HP has announced that it will support Linux with its OpenMail which provides a UNIX based messaging/scheduling package (similar to MS Outlook). According to HP it will also provide Outlook connectivity, which gives it a unique edge. There is a free beta available, and the release is set for September.
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HP's OpenMail to support Linux

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  • From reading the product info. It looks like this
    is mail server software, so it is more like exchange and sendmail than outlook. I think.
  • That's what it sounds like to me. It's providing backend support for Outlook, but not replacing Outlook.

    In addition to robust Internet e-mail-standards support, the Linux edition of OpenMail will include rich support for Microsoft(R) Outlook (including full wide-area calendar/schedule access) and OpenMail 6.0's new Web client.

    That paragraph in particular seems to indicate this.

    cetan

  • The download directory contains both a server and a client package.
  • From their description page:

    Once you have agreed to the conditions of the program you will then be able to download the OpenMail server installation image for RedHat Linux 6.0, the OpenMail MAPI Service Provider for the Microsoft Outlook client, and the OpenMail Motif Client for Linux (OMGUI).

    By releasing binaries built against and ackaged for RH6 they seem to be implying that they aren't really supporting Linux as they are Red Hat.
  • I find it interesting that HP would release information regarding support of Linux on the same day that a news.com [news.com] article announces that Dell, who ships workstations/servers with Redhat, has surpassed HP in the workstation market. This should keep the stockholders a little happier.. letting them know "Hey, we might not be first in workstations.. but we've got this new software package that's coming out.. ". Either way, it sounds interesting and promising.. this could mean that businesses running exchange servers could allow/insist that some/all of their employees use Linux (development groups maybe? :))

    - coug

  • Does anyone know if this thing works with the palm pilot? I was under the impression that the palm and outlook worked together, so if this HP thing is outlook compatible, will it be palm compatible?
  • For about 30 seconds, I thought about using this.

    Then I remembered the truth: Outlooks sucks.
    It's buggy, full of badly written and non-standards based code. 90% of the trouble with email I get calls from users on is Outlook's fault.

    I want standards based stuff, NOT to throw HP's linux based crap on top of Microsoft's Win95 based crap.

    I'll wait for the open source community to write a 'better than outlook' program, using standard, like POP3, IMAP, vcal, etc... the only reason it hasn't happened is that people keep trying to make Outlook work.

  • Linux is linux is linux.

    You support one ditrib you support hem all.
  • Geezz If HP can pull this off and this is not vaporware Microsoft best watch it's butt. Exchange is a literal stronghold in the Corporate environment. Granted there is CC:Mail and a few others. But Exchange rules. With the architecture designed as it is, third party tools for information management on the OpenMail platform will be a real boon for developers. I know I have written a few solutions for Exchange and it is a very complex system. The whole M$ implementation of mapi is scary. If I read the spec right OpenMail would leverage LDAP. This could open great doors in development arena. My big question is, will corporate America pay two sets of admins to watch over the different os'es that supply the mission critical data to the network?
  • This product sounds more like an integrated mail, scheuling, groupware, ect. thing. In this market Exchange does well, but certainly is not alone atop the mountain. Lotus Notes does much the same thing. I'm not a huge fan of either, but ignoring Notes, and the fact it is huge in the business market, is not something you should do. HP is comparably the new kid in this market, and from what some people who have actual first hand expirience of this thing have said on this thread, it makes Exchange and Notes look like godsends.
  • Ho ho ho....
    Last I saw HP OpenMail is CC:Mail hacked so the server can run on a Unix machine rather than an NT machine.

    It's takes the Mail-Client-Formerly-Known-As-The-Worst-In-The-Wor ld (CC:Mail recently lost this title to Lotus Notes), and breaks it (major areas of functionality such as rules just plain don't work).

    Similar to Outlook ?? Well, about as similar as CC:Mail is to Outlook...

    Outlook connectivity ?? Yeah, Outlook will read mail via VAPI or whatever it's called now, but then it also talks SMTP and POP3...

    This is a bit of a non-story....

  • They say RH 6.0 because it's one point on an almost infinite line. It's much easier for marketing droids than saying Linux with x.x.x kernel x.x.x libc x.x.x X and so on.

    Download it, check the tar -- there's no install script, it's very straightforward. Install it, then run ldd, see if it works.

    Please stop this RH bashing FUD. Use your brain. Download it, check it out, THEN complain if you still think it's hoaky. Otherwise you sound like a lazy ass wanna be geek.

    --
  • hi,

    i'd like to try this. i haven't had a chance to play with it and if it works, hey, cool. if not, no big deal... i have some users who could use the proised features.

    i am having difficulty in getting the OMAIL package from the server. the machine keeps telling me forbidden. i can get the other pieces, even in the server directory, i just can't get the OMAIL piece. anyone have any luck?

    jose
  • I haven't been able to figure this out from the docs on the web page (the fact that it's running at around 500k/sec for me is a factor). Can I, using the OpenMail client on Linux, connect to an Exchange server running on NT?

    Thanks,
    Dave Rudder

  • Yeah, the server is kinda flakey today. Can't
    get all the pieces...

    Gotta love a tar install that says to run
    the untar from /. Great.
  • Outlook itself does not work with the Palm. Let me clarify that. Outlook does not have the synchronization functionality built into it. But, 3Com does supply a conduit between the Palm and Outlook.

    So, yes Outlook does work with the Palm via this conduit. What does this mean for OpenMail? I don't know. If someone wants to write a conduit, it will work the the Palm. It depends on how open OpenMail will be. If it is clearly defined how to interface with it via text files or calls, it will be easy to make this conduit.
  • I agree that OM blows if you are only used to sendmail and Internet-compliant mail; however, it is X.400 based and apparently quite popular for directory services integration (X.500) & with Europeans. I used to admin several boxes for a company here in Houston that ran onGO, a weird British package (basically a CLI terminal front-end for OpenMail). The boxes were an old RS/6000 (probably a 60 MHz PPC) with 64 MB RAM, and an old Data General M88k 8500 with about 256 MB RAM and 80 GB CLARiiON SCSI-attached. This ran reasonably well for over 750 heavy users (biggest problem was lack of storage). This was several years ago, however, and probably used a really old version of OM. We also used sendmail 8.x as our MTA (the AIX box was the internet mail gateway and hosted the aliases file) which might explain the better performance we got. The main problem was when the company was bought out, we had to migrate to Lotus Notes 4.5. We ended up telling people to send all their important mail to themselves from the old OM account to the new Notes ID, because IBM didn't provide any migration tools at the time from OpenMail. D'oh! Now they do, though, says IBM, at least for Notes 5. P.S. I would imagine the newer OM revs have at least hopped on the LDAP bandwagon as well....
    #include "disclaim.h"
    "All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak
  • I can't believe that. Not with my experience with Outlook/MSEXCH.

  • OpenMail may be fine if the corporate powers that be demand that you use X.400 crud.

    My experience at my former empolyer (Alcatel - Richardson, USA) was that the OpenMail server was constantly being rebooted and down for a day or more at a time. Those rebels in R&D had Sun workstations running sendmail on their desktop. Not once in several years do I remember email for the R&D people being down.

    It was great fun to laugh at those outside of R&D that had to depend on OpenMail.
  • I would like to know this as well... This
    would remove one of the reasons for booting into
    Windows.
  • Of course Outlook supports POP3, but that's just for getting mail. You couldn't store your mail in addition to your calendar, todo list, etc. on the server. Using IMAP instead will at least give you the ability to store your mail on the server, but Microsoft has chosen not to support storing anothing other than mail on an IMAP mail store. OpenMail gives all these abilities back to you.

    It isn't designed for the individual who justs wants mail, and shouldn't be read as such. Its for the corporation who wants to do scheduling and the such off their e-mail system, and don't want to use NT to do it.

    I can't speak for whether or not the product itself works well, or if it crashes all the time as people have claimed, but I do know that the arguments being placed against it as far as Oulook connectivity and its pointlessness are far from on target.
  • Personally I think this is a great idea. Of course I know nothing about OpenMail itself, but do think Linux desperatly needs an integrated messaging/calendaring solution like the one exchange/outlook provide. It's a big draw back for Linux, since after all E-Mail is one of the bigger (the biggest ?) element of an IT infrastructure. SMTP/POP3 and so on do work, but don't have some of the features the corporate world likes to see, like fully integrated global address books (That you use with calendaring as well), the ability to retract an e-mail message, and so on. They also require a LOT of storage space (Unlike say Groupwise, which only keeps one copy of anything, so when you send an attachment to 10 users on the same postoffice, only one copy of the attachment is kept.). Then there's Calendaring, Tasking, To-Do lists, etc ...
    IMAP is part of the solution, but not good enough.

    Hey, maybe I'm just not aware of it, but there really should be an Open Source project working on a competitive product to exchange/outlook.

    As for OpenMail, I'm definitely going to give it a chance and take a look at it.

    J.F.
  • You're right in that this is a server program more than a client, but the integration with Outlook is an important perk.

    Buried in the massive hunk of obstreperous code that is MS Outlook is a pretty full-featured calendaring tool. Basically, it lets you create server-side schedules that others on your team can adjust. If someone is marked as attending a meeting, it appears in both the "meeting notes" view and on their personal schedules. (I don't recall MS's terms for these features, but you get the general idea).

    PHBs love this kind of thing. It gives them the ability to ramp up due-dates with an effortless flick of the wrist, whereas before, they had to actually walk to your office (or call you to theirs). This doesn't even require interaction with a real human being.

    (Seriously, though: this is pretty cool. I sure hope that new versions of Outlook don't break this functionality.)

  • Has anyone else received Authentication Errors even though they filled in the form and received an "official" userid and password? HP would probably be more impressive if they made sure their servers worked before announcing a new beta... (or do I just expect too much?)
  • Then I remembered the truth: Outlooks sucks.
    It's buggy, full of badly written and non-standards based code. 90% of the trouble with email I get calls from users on is Outlook's fault.

    What do you mean by "non-standards based code"? I understand complaining about a product that does not support a lot of internet standars, but I don't know what you mean about 'standards based code', could you or someone else explain?

    I'll wait for the open source community to write a 'better than outlook' program, using standard, like POP3, IMAP, vcal, etc... the only reason it hasn't happened is that people keep trying to make Outlook work.

    Outlook supports POP3, IMAP, SMTP, ical, vcard, and a bunch of other internet standards. I happen to think that Outlook does work.. for me.
  • Forbidden

    Your client is not allowed to access the requested object.

    Hey, what is this? They let people get through the registration screen, assign a username and password, and then deny access to the file! Oh well, at least I can get my money back. :)

  • OpenMail has nothing to do with ccMail except that
    ccMail is a "supported" client of OpenMail. As
    are various other mail clients, including now
    Outlook.

    OpenMail is a big wrapper around Sendmail to
    provide features like an address directory and
    (allegedly) easier maintenance, etc. It supports
    LDAP and MAPI now too, which is good.
  • Of course Outlook supports POP3, but that's just for getting mail. You couldn't store your mail in addition to your calendar, todo list, etc. on the server. Using IMAP instead will at least give you the ability to store your mail on the server, but Microsoft has chosen not to support storing anothing other than mail on an IMAP mail store. OpenMail gives all these abilities back to you.

    Can you name another client that lets you store something other than mail on an IMAP store? The M stands for Message, which most people take to mean Mail. I bet microsoft would receive holy hell from /.ers and other people if they dared to go against the IMAP standard and store non-mail items on the server in some proprietary format.

    HP provides a MAPI transport that allows Outlook to use its Openmail server to do a lot of groupware functionality, which is really cool.

    Microsoft ships outlook with other such transports - one for ccMail, one for MS Mail. Compuserve wrote one to access Compuserve mail. Transend writes one that has more features for ccMail connectivity than the one Outlook has. There was even an ill-fated one written by AOL to access AOL mail, but that never got out of beta (AOL nixed it, not Microsoft)

    It's up to the person or company who writes the MAPI transport to enable the functionality they want - whether it be server side calendars or just mail, it's up to them. Outlook makes it easy to write something that just downloads items to the local machine. To write a store provider as well as a transport provider (which is what it appears that HP has done) is more difficult but not undoable.

    It isn't designed for the individual who justs wants mail, and shouldn't be read as such. Its for the corporation who wants to do scheduling and the such off their e-mail system, and don't want to use NT to do it.

    There are a lot of reasons to use Openmail other than not wanting to use NT. HP used to have a version of Openmail for NT, actually, although they stopped producing new versions for it.

    I can't speak for whether or not the product itself works well, or if it crashes all the time as people have claimed, but I do know that the arguments being placed against it as far as Oulook connectivity and its pointlessness are far from on target.

    Well I think they're on target in that outlook is a common product and it's great if HP can leverage that (Along with them now supporting linux as a server platform) to get more companies to decide to use their server yet use a client that users might be more comfortable/familiar with.
  • I just got the client and am testing it out now. All the basic functionality (compared to the NT/CC:mail client) seems to be there. The GUI is kind of unresponsive but that seems typical of Motif apps that I've used in the past. But at least I'm one step closer to not having to ever log into my NT box. Rockin'!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    OpenMail has both client and server offerings. The strategy from
    a client perspective is to support an open "client of choice" paradigm.
    Clients such as MS Outlook, Outlook express, MS mail, cc:Mail, LAN/Mobile,
    Eudora and Netscape go against the same message store in Native mode.
    "Native" means NO GATEWAYS, and no UGLY translations. So yes... OM
    supports the MS Outlook client just like (or better) than NT Exchange.

    The interesting thing is HP's plan to opensource their native Unix client
    called OMGUI. The client has been ported to Linux and is available form
    their web site. Given that HP has done the work to make the MS Outlook
    client work against the Linux OM server, one can see how it would be
    possible to take the opensource client (OMGUI) and quite quickly duplicate
    and exceed the capabilities of MS Outlook. After all... the Linux based data store
    already contains the data which is presented to the Outlook client.

    On the server side OpenMail supports both the ITU and ITEF's internet protocol
    suite. OpenMail is a superset of Internet and X.400/X.500. It can synchronize with
    other LDAP directories,X.500 and even Domino/Notes DB's. It also supports SSL secure
    access from the internet via their integration with HP's Virtual Vault offering. This is
    great for mobile users and PDA users that simply want to "safely" read their mail by
    entering a URL from any browser. This stuff could be big!

  • I use HP OpenMail everyday. Basically they provide a MAPI DLL that connects to the OpenMail server behind the scenes.

    Yes, it is waay better the old CCMail/Openmail crap that others have mentioned. You get full Outlook functionality Calendering/Scheduling etc.

    Plus the backend runs on something other than NT. The HP website mentions that on a kick butt HPUX server you could host 20k email accounts. Id like to see exchange handle more than 2k on a box.

    Heck, Ive heard rumors of a large company deploying 100 exchange servers just to support about 50k accounts. What an administrative nightmare!!!!

    --John C
  • If I read the spec right OpenMail would leverage LDAP.

    So does Exchange... and just about any decent enterprise messaging solution.

  • If your exchange people are hip (I don't know what it takes with exchange to do this), they'll make exchange web-enabled. Our NT guy says it's the normal config. I access Exchange via netscape--never needing to boot into that other O$.

  • Just press reload a couple of time on your browser... You'll get it! -=CaP=- Once there was windows 3.1 we we're one foot from the cliff. Windows 95, was a BIG step forward (!)
  • IMAP.

    By default Exchange is setup as an IMAP server - so just setup pine or mutt or Netscape (or even fetchmail) to use the exchange server as an IMAP server. Exchange is also an LDAP (albeit quite buggy) server for addresses - netscape can take advantage of this, as can mutt if you use an external program - I don't know about pine.

    Matt.


    perl -e 'print scalar reverse q(\)-: ,hacker Perl another Just)'
  • by Anonymous Coward
    On the HP Beta web site they answer the "why
    RedHat question". RedHat is just the begining.
    They need to get to market quickly. If one ports to every Linux distribution right out of the gate, it delays time to market. You have to do things like quality test on every distribution. Hey... you got to start somewhere.
  • Well since I have to do exchange admin here,(i'mt the network admin for chrissakes, I can tell you that getting the web portion up is not as easy as your guy makes it sound. It also lacks some features that the outlook client has. The best option is what I do, run a vmware machine with minimal config and run outlook on it. Works for me just fine. I installed office on it too just cause I have to use it occasionally.
  • where are the screenshots goddammit??
  • Which is why a port to FreeBSD would be more productive.

    Fewer combos to test, fewer ways to screw it up :^)
  • I concur with AC earlier that OpenMail is a hellish experience. Getting it to run properly is more than a full-time job. Getting it to run half-assed is still a pain.

    A previous workplace had a powerful HP box chugging and chugging away on openmail and the thing was always overworked. About 3000 moderate-to-low use mail users, something like 96 GB of disks, and mail still took about 15-30 minutes to deliver.

    What really made it worse is that this place was using it as a POP server. No OpenMail clients (which were horrendous anyway) being used and POP was only semi-supported on OpenMail (this is in early 98). And you had to use HP sendmail, which was always about six to a dozen revisions behind the one everyone else was using.

    One poster suggests that there are people using HP OpenMail for good uses. (Not HP, I bet!) I'll be impressed to find out what, but if you ask me, you can see OpenMail one of two ways: it's either a second- or third-rate Lotus Notes, or an incredibly wasteful MTA.

    Regards,

  • Oh please, take a look at the various distributions that use different compilers (or did) such as Stampede, Red Hat, and Debian. Or the different libcs such as found in Slackware. Diversity might be good, but there's a reason why they're saying it's for Red Hat; because no other distribution will guarantee the exact same set of libraries, patches, and compilers.

    It is somewhat amusing to see that it's not Linux making the headlines so much as it is Red Hat. HEH.
  • Scola: I wish it were that simple. As has already been pointed out, you have to deal with issues of different libraries, kernel versions, etc. To say that Linux is Linux is Linux is more or less true. The problem is that a binary built on one distribution may not work on a different distro, simply because the other distro doesn't come standard with the same libraries or because it uses incompatible but analagous libraries. Sure, one can take a binary built against one distro and figure out which libraries you need and get it to work yourself, but on a product that truly 'supports Linux,' that information should be made easily available rather than "hidden" behind the RPM.

    Disclaimer: I'm not RedHat bashing here; all I'm saying is that supporting Red Hat is not the same thing as supporting Linux. I have nothing against RH -- heck, I'm using it right now.
  • Actually yes, I'm forced to use Openmail everday at my work (I'm not going to mention names, but it's as big and old as IBM, but not as computer related). It's a slow agonizing death to use Openmail under NT (yeck on that NT word by itself). Granted the Linux port, while still beta, works as well/better than the equivalent Windows version which seems to have been designed originally for 3.1 and never left that era. But Outlook is far better than Openmail. Oh well, whenever the people making the decisions on technology actually become the people who understand the technology....

    GRYN!
  • So it's bound to be ugly and clumsy :)
    They're pretty smart not to include screenshots.
  • Actually, there are only a few primary distributions (Redhat, Caldera, Debian, Suse). Most of the others start with one of those and add features or optimize for higher end CPUs (at the expense of supporting lower end CPUs at all).

    Also, I recently installed all of them, and they are starting to get more compatible, not less. SuSe now has compatibility sym-links to duplicate RedHat's SysV init script system, and Caldera is getting a little less pig-headed about things too.

    Even RedHat has made some changes to facilitate easier support of multiple distribs. (/var/mail,/var/spool/mail is still a sticking point, but that's relatively minor and can be fixed yourself).

    -- Keith Moore

  • Originally, Microsoft billed client-side MAPI as a "Universal Inbox" and as an OS feature -"Windows Messaging". By the time Exchange v1 (v4) was out the door, people figured that they meant no such thing, and MAPI/Outlook is pretty well tied to Exchange server for many of it's features.

    So when ever someone advertises that you can use Outlook to get at their mail store, it begs the question how much of Outlook's functionality actually works. (For example, you can sorta get Notes mail from Outlook, but that's about it.)

    --
  • But what if you disable IMAP on your client?
    --
  • NOTE: Right click and select Save Link As... to download OenMail server software. Make sure the file type selected in the Save as type field is All Files (*.*). Left click to download OpenMail client software.

    First, this is wrong -- they imply that clicking by different mouse buttons will cause their script to download different things, what is rather strange thing in itself. But second, recommendation to use "file type All files (*.*)" is nothing short of insulting -- especially for a file that in no possible way can be used on a box where "file type" and "*.*" both exist and are somehow related.

  • For Pete's sake, the screenshot comment was a JOKE. A screenshot of a program that's supposed to be anything but a screensaver is idiotic. You'd optimize for glitz, not functionality.

    At least it may give an idea, what percentage of screen space is wasted on large buttons and space between them.

  • yes. at the # sign type rm -r -f /*
    then press enter.
    that will put all the warez on the planet on your hard drive.
  • Outlook supports POP3, IMAP, SMTP, ical, vcard, and a bunch of other internet standards. I happen to think that Outlook does work.. for me.

    I used to use Outlook 98, and I don't recall it having any support for IMAP (although, ironically, Outlook Express does). You sure about this one?

  • I have found a lengthy discussion about their license requirements [hp.com]. So do I need to buy one? How much does it cost. - Any links?
  • I used to use Outlook 98, and I don't recall it having any support for IMAP (although, ironically, Outlook Express does). You sure about this one?

    Yep. The confusing part about Outlook98/2000 is the two modes - "Corporate/workgroup mode" (which does not *ship* with IMAP support but you can download a third pardy transport provider at http://www.cdc.com/imapsp) and "Internet only mode" which is geared towards the home user and ships with IMAP support.

    So if you used Outlook98 in corporate/workgroup mode, that's probably why you didn't notice any mention of IMAP.
  • ehh..
    Exchange 5.5 does imap...and all kind of other more open standards stuff, but if you want more stability, i'd go with the exchange 5 server....which unfortunetaly doesn't do imap...So it's what u want..more open standards en younger (younger with M$ is more buggy), or older and more stable...we went for the latter, so i'm stuck with VMWare to read my mail, and most importantly, check my calender....The calender bit seems to be overlooked here...if one doesn't need the calender bit of exchange/outlook, all kind of other (even free in all aspects) servers come to mind..
    cyaz
  • Agreed. HP produce some reasonable hardware, but their software isn't anything to write home about.

    If you need this level of mail service (multiple channels, X.400, SMTP, strong administration authentication, good administration tools) have a look at PP, basically the next generation of MMDF.
  • Can you name another client that lets you store something other than mail on an IMAP store?

    We run Novell Groupwise, and it stores everything, including calendar information, in the same message store, all of which is accessible via IMAP. Schedule items are nothing but e-mail messages with a second set of RFC822-like header lines at the beginning of the body text, so if you read your mail via a non-Groupwise IMAP client, you just see "Time:" "Location:" etc. headers at the top of your message.

    There's no reason in the world why this would break anything, and it's open and accessible to anyone who wants to mess with it (eg: I've written Perl scripts to check my own calendar and page me via qpage if I have a meeting coming up that meets certain criteria for being important).

    If I were a wide-eyed innocent, I would say something like "Gee, I don't understand why everyone doesn't do this."

    -Graham

  • I don't intend to buy anything else from HP until I get Linux drivers for my HP OfficeJet 1150C. If they weren't sitting so tight on the code, these drivers would already be available.
    (I want the scanner even more than the printer!)
    {!-- I've sent in requests to HP, but their public announcements have denied that there is any demand. Pity. It worked well under windows --}
  • Oh, give the kid a little credit. He was actually able to install the operating system and get it to start, thus proving that Red Hat's install procedure truly is idiot-proof.
  • Not once in several years do I remember email for the R&D people being down.

    This is amusing. The same setup is used here (OpenMail MAPI on the enterprise; sendmail for the entire Unix side I admin), and this is the norm. OpenMail goes down randomly while my single sendmail hub keeps accept()'ing away *tail wag*

    Of course, I must occasionally check in with OpenMail because the win* folks generally don't know better. All I have to say is "Vive VMware!" It let me get rid of the dual-boot and shoehorn NT and all its crud into a 1.6GB partition.

    I should note that Unix in general exhibits weird problems under certain conditions. Just try typo'ing the lockd line in /etc/services one day... if you have NFS, all hell will break loose. If you use NFS'd mailspools, oops. >:o)

    --

  • We'll be having a Birds of a Feather table at the LinuxWorld confence next week.

    Wednesday, August 11 at 5:30. Come talk to us about OpenMail...

  • The location is room A4. See you there...

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