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Programming IT Technology

More On Kapor's Attempt To Best Outlook 229

Posted by timothy
from the time-is-ripe dept.
An anonymous reader writes "There's a story on the Boston Globe's Digital MASS section about Mitch Kapor , the guy who created Lotus 1-2-3. He will reportedly spend about $5 mil to create something competing with MS Outlook. More of the story here." We mentioned this a few months ago as well, and it sounds like any software release is still some time off.
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More On Kapor's Attempt To Best Outlook

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  • Prototypes (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnuber (605327) on Monday December 23, 2002 @04:20AM (#4943276)
    One must always be careful in praising vaporware, but the prototypes [] on the OSAF web site [] sure look impressive. I am particularly glad they place such a strong emphasis on security []! That is an even better reason than MS-loathing to urge Outlook users to switch. OSAF will do the Internet a great service if Vista can cut down the number of Outlook viruses flooding my emailbox every day!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2002 @04:31AM (#4943296)
    { What a coincidence! I was just browsing their site for the last 2 hours & came here to check out if there were any articles about them. }

    This is one OS project I am definitely looking forward to contribute to, big time.

    I would recommend you to subscribe to the mailinglists here [] ;
    or atleast to the "Major announcements from OSAF" here [].

    Link to prototype: []
    People working on it: (Impressive list)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2002 @04:38AM (#4943309)
    Actually there is. SuSE has two fine Exchange killers, their email server, and Open Exchange. Both provide calendaring, contacts, meetings, PDA sync, and so forth. What's really sweet is the browser interface, it does away with the need for a standalone mail client. Though you can use an email client if you like. Check em out, they're first rate, and a helluva lot more stable and efficient than damned old Exchange.

    There are quite a few other groupware projects in the pipeline, it's going to bust wide open pretty soon.
  • by absurdhero (614828) on Monday December 23, 2002 @05:18AM (#4943386) Homepage
    You might want to check out PHPGroupWare []. Calendar, mail, project management, etc. in one web service system. If I were a corporation, I think I would be interested. If only Free Software projects reached the attention of the people who need it.
  • wxWindows / wxPython (Score:3, Informative)

    by ghum (109642) < ...> on Monday December 23, 2002 @05:51AM (#4943456)
    Robin Dunn [], founder & maintainer of wxPython [], an excellent Python []-Wrapper around wxWindows [], anounced in the wxpython-mailinglist that he was contracted by OSAF.

    And who ever has enjoyed wxPython and the excellent support of Robin in the mailinglist knows: he get's things done. Or dunn.
    So... if they don't succeed in travelling to space, at least teflon will be available.
  • by Jaeger- (63372) on Monday December 23, 2002 @05:55AM (#4943466)
    there are several freely available software programs available that parse your PST files and output files that can be imported by other mail programs.

    we had a situation at my last employer where someone had hosed their box pretty badly due to literally 1gig of email. outlook wouldn't open and the PST files were corrupted. after searching around a bit, i found 3 or 4 programs for dealing with this issue.

    poke around on google or freshmeat, i'm sure you'll find something similarly useful.
  • Re:Prototypes (Score:3, Informative)

    by bdash (598142) <slashdot@org.bdash@net@nz> on Monday December 23, 2002 @06:38AM (#4943503) Homepage
    The heading of the linked page [] is 'Vista: a prototype for OSAF's Networked Personal Information Manager'. It is a prototype. Quoting from the linked page:
    Vista doesn't attempt to address all aspects of the eventual product, so please don't conclude that if something isn't mentioned in this description that it will be absent from the product (or the inverse as well - not everything in Vista will be in our first or subsequent releases). In particular, there wasn't much emphasis on a polished visual appearance, it didn't deal with the calendar at all, and we didn't do much involving outlines within views like we intend to.

    Further on, it goes on to say:
    Vista is written entirely in Python, using the Tkinter toolkit, augmented by Pmw, a widget framework written in Python. Since our real application will be based on wxWindows, most of Vista's code can't be used directly in the real thing. Since it's based on Tkinter, it runs on Linux, Macintosh and Windows.

    Tkinter provides what is is by no means a nice looking interface, but one that works, and does so relatively well across platforms. The controls look out of place simply because they are being drawn by Tk, not a 'more standard' widget set such as GTK or QT. Switching to wxWindows for the final product will provide a nice consistent look and feel on Mac OS X, Linux and Windows.

    Vista is a prototype, nothing more. It is designed to test their ideas on and is not intended to be a fully functional or 'professional' looking.
  • Re:Can't be too hard (Score:3, Informative)

    by JKR (198165) on Monday December 23, 2002 @06:38AM (#4943504)
    You (or your sysadmins) have a major problem. I administer our machines running (amongst other things including Debian) Windows XP with Outlook XP. It's never that slow.

    You guys do know about the 100ms SMB turnaround time to Domain Controllers? By default DCs deliberately slow down SMB transactions to prioritize replication traffic; if you try to multi-role a DC you'll see degraded network performance. There is a registry setting to configure this behaviour - search the KB.


  • Re:Mitch Kapor (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ami Ganguli (921) on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:13AM (#4943571) Homepage

    Where, oh where to begin...

    As a system integrator it's almost impossible to work with. It encourages free-form text databases. Nice for users, crap for programmers.

    It really sucks because it's easy to use and integrates some nice features automatically. Why does this suck? Because users end up putting valuable company information in there, not realizing that they've locked up the info in a format that's useless to the rest of the company.

    For example, it's really hard getting sales people to keep corporate contact information up-to-date once they've started keeping their contact info in Notes. It's easy for them, they can replicate to their desktop and access the info while they're on the road. It's free form, so they can add comments. Great for sales-people. Sucks for billing when the client has moved and the sales guy who knows about it can't be bothered to update the "real" client database.

    Sorry for the rant, but Notes has cost me a lot of hassle over the years. Truly an awful product.

  • Re:bing (Score:2, Informative)

    by dkone (457398) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:34AM (#4943685)
    2 things:

    1. it is not recommended to use outlook in the pane view for your inbox. This is for security reasons, look into it. (this is not an endorsement for outlook nor an attempt to have a discussion about outlook, just a fact.)

    2. try double clicking on the email that you are reading. then not only can you have both the calendar and the email open, you can alt-tab between them.

  • Re:bing (Score:2, Informative)

    by anthropomorphized (567526) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:43AM (#4943704)
    Right click on the calendar in Outlook. Select "Open in New Window". Annoyance abated.
  • by richieb (3277) <richieb AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 23, 2002 @11:33AM (#4944491) Homepage Journal
    It can read and write calendar information to an outlook server.

    No! The point of Chandler is that it does not need any server. So, people will be able to get all required groupware functionality, without a server.

  • Re:Mitch Kapor (Score:3, Informative)

    by Griff (17764) on Monday December 23, 2002 @11:56AM (#4944646)
    Sounds like you never really understood Notes.

    For example, it's really hard getting sales people to keep corporate contact information up-to-date once they've started keeping their contact info in Notes. It's easy for them, they can replicate to their desktop and access the info while they're on the road. It's free form, so they can add comments. Great for sales-people. Sucks for billing when the client has moved and the sales guy who knows about it can't be bothered to update the "real" client database.

    Our clients find it really easy. An example (with names changed to protect innocent!):
    An international company has our bespoke CRM system built in Notes deployed in 25 countries over all 6 continents. In each the salesman can update the company name/address on his local replica on his local laptop. When he replicates the database the change gets pushed up on to the server. Each night the nightly integration with their backend AS/400 pushes the change back to their ERP system, where the billing is done.

    In your example your problem was not that the salesmen had a separate clients database. It was having a clients database the salesmen couldn't use the way they needed to, so they had to build another one in Notes.

    Notes is great a solving business problems in a quick and cost-efficient manner. There is nothing like the wow factor of talking to a user in the morning, and showing him a fairly functional prototype in the afternoon.

    Don't get me wrong - Notes/Domino sucks at many things, but as long as you don't ever treat it like a relational database things work fine.

    To truly get the power of Notes, you have to integrate it with the core systems. Or (where it is sensible) run your core systems on Notes.

Felson's Law: To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.