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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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  • Mitch Kapor (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2002 @02:59AM (#4943265)
    Mitch Kapor was also responsible for the promotion of Lotus Notes.

    Sure it burned the eyes out of your skull to use it, but it was a combination of Outlook, HTML, PGP, IMAP, and NNTP done back in the 1980s. If he can make that sort of leap again, it will be something to reckon with.
  • by lennart78 (515598) on Monday December 23, 2002 @03:00AM (#4943267)
    Evolution is also trying this, and they deliver Exchange connectivity. The KDE group is busy on a groupware solution, and it will shortly be released.

    If you want to use Linux in an office environment, a groupware solution is a must-have. The more people who are working on this subject, the better, in my opinion....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2002 @03:24AM (#4943280)
    The problem is lack of a groupware SERVER. I've been a linux-on-the-desktop user (no dual-boot) for several years now, and I have worked in several corporate environments. Evolution already has all the client functionality that is needed. Sure, Outlook still has more, but a lot of what Outlook has isn't needed, and much of it (all the macro stuff) is probably more dangerous than useful.


    But, there is NOTHING like Exchange out there in the free software world. Corporate users need group calendaring most of all. I realize that OpenLDAP lets us trade contact info, but the critical thing is group calendaring (which includes task lists). Oh, and the group calendaring has to interoperate with Outlook so that Outlook and non-Outlook users can trade meeting invitations. I think Mr. Kapor should spend a little bit of money on enhancing Evolution and spend the rest on building a great Exchange-killer instead.


    On a side note... it would take very little effort to get Evolution to be able to parse winmail.dat attachments, so that Evolution and Outlook clients could do peer-to-peer exchanges of meetings and tasks. That would be a fantastic step. They can already trade contacts with no problems. Trading calendaring info should be not much more difficult and it would be a tremendous help to letting Evolution sneak into offices.

  • A prediction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rhinobird (151521) on Monday December 23, 2002 @03:24AM (#4943282) Homepage
    This will make Wired's 2003 vaporware award. But we won't care cause we'll be using Evolution, Aethera and Kroupware.
  • by AnonymousCowheard (239159) on Monday December 23, 2002 @04:22AM (#4943391) Homepage
    Maybe if you instead dumped that money into a good cause for the advancment of competing projects [slashdot.org] we wouldn't have Microsoft Outlook as the efault eMail client in the first place. Besides, what makes anyone think thye can tell Microsoft what to do on its own OS? Microsoft sells licenses, albeit a verry disgusting one that Microsoft customers don't read and just select the "I agree" action to install the software. Speak on those merits, emphasize the evil, and give people their options: show them a list of current GUI userfriendl eMail clients. I recommend only implementing hotmail and try to implement yahoo mail interface through an eMail client, but is that asking too much out of the priceless time of my fellow opensource developers?
  • by Begs (599325) on Monday December 23, 2002 @04:42AM (#4943442)
    I use Outlook a great deal. I used Ecco before Outlook. I really miss the outlining capability of Ecco. However, in the overall evaluation of things, Outlook is clearly more capable.

    I have tried a few other clients but none had the all-around capability that Outlook has. I often wonder if the folks that diss Outlook here have used it much. I have never had a virus problem, although I had a few close calls that my virus scanner caught. I have had one great debacle when I was fooling around with the pst file about 3 versions ago. It was my fault and it cause me a lot of pain.

    Outlook is much more that just an email client with calendar and contact manager.

    For a time I used Outlook as my desktop. You can launch all your applications from Outlook if you choose to. It works quite effectively. It just turned out to be a little too boring, not enough visual appeal after a number of months. However if you want a sparse no-nonsense desktop Outlook has it.

    Another of the seldom mentioned capabilities of Outlook are the automatic journaling of Office applications and email activity by name date and time. I just wish that could be extended to any application. You can manually journal anything. Outlook can provide journaling reports in multiple formats. This is a lifesaver for me when I do my monthly billing.

    Outlook has alarms for arbitrary uses. It has rules that can automate various filtering and file location tasks.

    Other applications may have some of these maybe even most of these. I don't know of any application that has them all.

    I looked at Evolution. It looks like an Outlook knock-off. Certainly that is somewhat flattering to Outlook's designers. Kapor's effort also looks similar. I wish him luck and ask that he not forget the journaling capability. It would really be great if any application could be registered with the software and have its activity automatically journalized.

    Did I mention easy synchronization with PDA devices? Or, that it can also use "stationery." I haven't personally found a use for this, However, I have received a few messages on "stationery." That's how I learned that it existed.

    In summary, Outlook is useful, robust, very flexible and capable, and pretty secure (a la pgp) if configured as recommended for security and backed by a virus scanner. I depend on it.
  • Re:Mitch Kapor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by interiot (50685) on Monday December 23, 2002 @05:32AM (#4943492) Homepage
    Lotus Domino is like that too... completely nonstandard interface. Granted, some of it is really cool, but the majority of it was just a waste of someone's coding time as they ended up doing windows controls in a slightly different way.
  • by MavEtJu (241979) <slashdot@mave t j u . org> on Monday December 23, 2002 @05:33AM (#4943498) Homepage
    Cloning Outlook doesn't hurt Microsoft, it's the serverside which should be attacked.

    A couple of weeks ago my boss asked me to find a replacement for the calendar server in Exchange, one which would work with... Outlook.

    Nowhere to be found. I can replace the mail-part very easy (we're already doing that for years), the addressbook is nearly finished now (LDAP rules/sucks :-) but the calendar part of it? It's buried deep in the beast.

    And as long as you can't replace all what an Exchange server does, you won't have a chance in hell to replace Outlook.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2002 @07:00AM (#4943645)
    Even non-OS types can be moved away from MS products. After his tenth e-mail virus, one of my friends got sick of Outlook Express and wanted to change e-mail clients. I recommended Mozilla Mail [mozilla.org] which he then installed, and liked (especially the "view HTML e-mail as plain text" feature). But note he was only able to switch because:
    • Mozilla offered an easy migration path, i.e. all his mail from Outlook Express was converted.
    • Mozilla Mail was easy to use and offered more features.
    I have no doubt that this program will make it out (though I'm sure Mitch will not be in a rush--he'll release it when it's ready) and it will be successful because it'll be a lot more than just a plain e-mail, news and scheduling system. It's going to be great.

    <aol>I fully agree with the poster who said Pine has better usability than Outlook</aol>

  • by richieb (3277) <richieb AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:29AM (#4944097) Homepage Journal
    The point that everyone seems to be missing is that Chandler is meant to be Exchange Server killer (or any groupware server killer). The big idea is to use a P2P like setup to exchange email, contact and meeting info. Another words have all the groupware functionality, without a groupware server.

  • Re:Already done... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lxy (80823) on Monday December 23, 2002 @10:24AM (#4944418) Journal
    Groupwise isn't perfect. I prefer it over OutHouse, but it's just as restricitive as OutHouse/Exchange. You need a Novell server, you need to pay Novell gobs of money for proprietary software, all to get a package that's incompatible with everything else. It keeps us safe from OutHouse virus attacks, but that's really it's only strong point. The web interface is mediocre at best, and some of the widgets on the client act a little funny. I had a feature wish list I came up with after 2 years of using Groupwise, of course I can't find it now.

    Some of the features I like are unique to Groupwise, but on the whole it's everything bad about Exchange wrapped into a different propritary license. The same can be said for Lotus Notes, it has its nice features and it's not M$, but you still have proprietary incompatible software as your mail client.
  • by richieb (3277) <richieb AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 23, 2002 @10:53AM (#4944630) Homepage Journal
    Cloning Outlook doesn't hurt Microsoft, it's the serverside which should be attacked.

    Precisely! That's why Chandler aims to remove the need for groupware servers altogether, by using P2P style distribution.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2002 @12:17PM (#4945179)
    > The point that everyone seems to be missing is that Chandler is meant to be Exchange Server killer (or any groupware server killer). The big idea is to use a P2P like setup to exchange email, contact and meeting info. Another words have all the groupware functionality, without a groupware server.

    The point you seem to be missing is that most people Do Not Want to change their email client, and will resist such a change.

    If *any* proposed replacement for the Outlook/Express system doesn't work with the existing installed base of Outlook clients, the people running those clients won't accept the new system. It's too much work to retrain with no perceieved benefits other than lost time.

    The cost of people is always more important than the cost of things. People are more expensive, and employers don't want to waste their time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2002 @05:25PM (#4947620)
    I myself have recently switched from IE to Mozilla because I tried it and I liked it better. I wouldn't have switched to Netscape 4 or Opera. My brother and other people I talk to and show it start using Opera, too.

    And that's not just me. It _is_ happening, because people get more and more annoyed from the licensing practices of Microsoft, the bugs, the security/virus problems you face with Microsoft software (yes, _all_ of my friends got infected with Win32.Klez last year) and the bugging they receive from the software. Even people new to computing start saying "What's that damn paper clip on the right bottom of my screen!?".

    I'm still using Windows w/ Outlook, but if Outlook gets worse (or alternative solutions get better) I'll use them. It's just that easy.

... when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. -- Fred Brooks

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