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Aethera Beta 1 Released

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the we're-coming-for-ya,-outlook! dept.

KDE 146

StupiDiot writes: "Aethra is a open source mail client which follows in the steps of LookOut, and is being developed by the Kompany. In case you haven't been following, Aethera is theKompany's fork of the greatly hyped/anticipated Magellan project. Beta 1 of Aethera sports POP3, SMTP, HTML, DnD, a contacts interface, sticky notes, and more. IMAP, Calendar support, etc., are promised for the next beta. There is no mention of the license although source is available from the Web site -- most of the source files seem to be under the BSD license. " So, I downloaded it and tried playing with is last night - it's a very cool, very slick program - the competition between this and the Gnome-equivalent Evolution will be interesting, as always. Regardless of which wins, the race to produce an Outlook-killer is on.

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146 comments

Outlook Killer? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#498933)

Regardless of which wins, the race to produce an Outlook-killer is on.

Good luck! Without something like Exchange or an "Outlook Killer" that is compatible with Exchange, there's no way this will get ANYWHERE.

I'd love for it to happen though...

wasting of time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#498934)

Again the linux community splits its resources on two projects who should really work together. Its so annoying that programs should have their fate determined by which toolkit is used. Think about how stupid that waste of resources is. I used to think that there was strength in diversity. That's why I did not used to mind distro's installing 15 text editors by default. But now I am more interested in standards, which we are no where near adhearing to. Guess what the kde v gnome was is over, and they both lost.

Re:I'm writing an Outlook killer myself (1)

whoop (194) | more than 13 years ago | (#498935)

I for one do the reply below quoted text thing. To me, it looks proper to display a few sentences, a paragraph from the original to follow what point you are replying to. Of course, the key here is to EDIT the quoted text down to what's necessary so someone can follow what you are saying. That is asking a lot of some folks, I know, who just hit their Reply button and say, "Yes, I agree." It used to be all over Usenet (when I looked there). Then one is left wondering, on which point in the post do they agree? :)

Re:HTML Email is NOT a feature (1)

whoop (194) | more than 13 years ago | (#498936)

HTML EMail has its uses. But sure the default should be plain text, etc. One shouldn't send strangers (newsgroups, mail lists, etc) HTML, but that is more an etiquette issue that needs to be taught.

Re:I'm writing an Outlook killer myself (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 13 years ago | (#498937)

In an email reply, it takes all your new text from where it should be (directly under the part replied to) and automatically moves it above the original message.

Both formats have problems. While I love the direct response system of the unix style, it doesn't fit so well in this age of variable size windows for reading e-mail. It doesn't word-wrap. HTML is (justifiably) panned for all the crap people have put it in, but a separation between the data and the display would be a good thing.

Heck, I used it in this post, by italicizing the comment I'm replying to. I can't do that so easily in e-mail.

Re:Why do people do this? (1)

yoz (3735) | more than 13 years ago | (#498938)

Because, as bad as you may think MS GUI design is, the GUIs for most open source apps I've seen are ten times worse.

At least MS actually go to the trouble of usability testing and feeding the results back into the design process. With most open source apps the design criteria tends to go to "the developer should be happy with it" and not much further.

Re:There are already standards for this (1)

yoz (3735) | more than 13 years ago | (#498939)

if you read the RFCs you see that they are being contributed by . M$. Funny, eh ?

Not really. MS developers contribute to quite a few RFCs and other open standards these days.

Exchange (1)

Pierre (6251) | more than 13 years ago | (#498941)

I haven't used exchange. It sounds like CVS for scheduling. Is that basically what it is?

integration with dialer? (1)

szo (7842) | more than 13 years ago | (#498943)

Will it have something like this? It would be really nice to have a single button to press and it would dial in, send and receive letters and then hang up. I'm not saying that it should be a part of the application, but it should call an other application. That's what components are for, right?

Szo

Re:Why do people do this? (1)

jim68000 (8746) | more than 13 years ago | (#498945)

"Because companies for better or worse have spent *billions* training people on Outlook and other MS applications. It's in the community's best interest to have replacements for common MS apps that will require minimal retraining to help grease the skids for Linux on the desktop. "

And thus ensuring Microsoft's lock in of corporate "standards" such as Outlook.

The key here is the server, not the client. I don't want a clone for Outlook to read my messages in, but I do want to be able to access my company's calendar and contacts database. Tools that extract Exchange information and make it usable to the rest of us are desperately needed.

There's a broader point here: one of the reasons Linux is weak on the desktiop is that there are few people with the ability to see beyond the Windows (capital W, note) paradigm for tools and UI.

KDE is the worst offender (although Gnome is guilty too). It's a stupendous technical achievement, but all the imagination has gone into the code. For a UI, someone just screenshotted Windows 95 and then set about making everything the same, down to one click app and document launching.

Re:HTML Email is NOT a feature (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 13 years ago | (#498946)

This all sounds to me like an extreme case of "not invented here syndrome". If *NIX had introduced HTML in email before MS did, all the Linux bigots here would be calling it a feature, and lambasting the poor microserfs who still had to use text email.

[excessive flamage]
If you stupid OS zealots would stop using a mail client that's older than your mothers *cough* mutt *cough* and drag yourselves kicking and screaming into the 21st century (or at least past 1991), there would be no problem with using HTML in email. Believe it or not, there are reasons for using X other than getting 12 terminal windows on the same screen.
[/flamage]

What's so difficult about HTML? (1)

ChrisWong (17493) | more than 13 years ago | (#498950)

It's not that hard to read HTML even on text-mode mail readers. Pine already parses HTML, for one. For mutt, it's just a matter of putting "auto_view text/html" in your .muttrc, an appropriate command in your mailcap ("w3m -T text/html -dump %s", or "lynx -force_html -dump %s") and setting the mailcap path in .muttrc.

Re:Not an Outlook killer (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 13 years ago | (#498951)

This is my point. I've played with Evolution and I'd be willing to play with this but what I "REALLY" need is something that supports calendering from an exchange backend. I don't know the file format nor am I a programmer but until that happens I'll still have to have vmware at the office to run outlook.

Re:Outlook killer? How about Exchange killer? (1)

apeman (19995) | more than 13 years ago | (#498952)

There is Novell Groupwise. Perhaps we will see a linux client. Novell already has support for NDS under linux and single sign on (which is great).

But I agree with the point, that in order for this kind of app to take off you have to match the features of Exchange and Groupwise, and add more stability.

Groupwise is great for stability, the client is what needs the most work. (ie; not wrapping lines).

Perhaps its time for a new groupware server, with hooks that these apps can plug into to have a shared calendar todo lists etc.

Just my 2c

Once again... (1)

RPoet (20693) | more than 13 years ago | (#498953)

Aethra is actually called "Aethera". I'm sure the Slashdot editors would find this out pretty quickly if they had bothered to actually read the pages they link to _before_ posting the stories.

Btw, I've tried Aethera, and... it's a killer.

--

Re:Why do people do this? (1)

sporty (27564) | more than 13 years ago | (#498956)

We all know that Windows sucks. So why, oh why, do countless Open Source projects spring up that try to slavishly duplicate the look and feel of yet another crap Windows product while leaving out the only good parts of the functionality? And then they call it a "Windows:foo killer". Do they really think Microsoft are the sole arbiters of what constitutes good GUI design?

Considering they actually hire people who specialize in user interfaces and the psychologies behind them? Yeah. Just because you don't like the look and feel, doesn't mean that everyone else

---

Re:Amen! (1)

linuxlover (40375) | more than 13 years ago | (#498958)

I used Pine / elm and now use Kmail. They all handle mail great. But the problem is they are not the 'kitchen sink' of everything. Some one sends me an invitation for a meeting by mail & if I accept it it should automatically update my calendar. (outlook does this, I use it at office).

I understand the unix philosophy of 'doing one thing & doing it well'. But PIM is really one thing that has contacts/mails/calendar.

And also a synchronisation with PALM / those cell phones would be nice too.

LinuxLover

Please... (1)

linuxlover (40375) | more than 13 years ago | (#498959)

This is like arguing...
why don't every one use CLI instead of all the cool looking KDE/gnome/E/whatever?

why get DSL when a 56k modem can download webpages aswell.

why people have to use Koffice/MsOffice instead of Latex to write a letter. INfact it is the one used to write thesis & books

I *like & send* text mails most of the time as most of my friends are unix users and they hiss on HTML mail. But if I need to 'mark' my mail using bold/italic/colors or whatever, I would rather use HTML for that. It is *still* text unlike some other proprietary format. And trust me a color coded mail is more readable / presentable than one filled with underscores and stars.

What I would like is a mail client that would 'dowongrade' HTML to plain text for viewing. (and it might even be smarter to do bold / italics using 'curses' or just plain using underscores stars). Now that would be real nice.

LInuxLover

Hurry up to patent Office (1)

Pingo (41908) | more than 13 years ago | (#498961)

You must now run very fast to the Patent Office before the Evil Empire snags your total outstanding breakthrough in email handling.

Sure this an absolute wínner and I hope you are lucky to get your well deserved financial reward.

//Pingo

Outlook replacement? (1)

romper (47937) | more than 13 years ago | (#498962)

Until there's a replacement for Exchange on *nix, what I would really like to see, is an email/calendar/contact/etc client that can talk to the exchange server. Is there a program out (or in development) that can do this?

Reason: Context (1)

droleary (47999) | more than 13 years ago | (#498963)

It's ironic, then, that you choose to post to Slashdot differently (instead of like I'm posting now). Context is everything, and replying to points in turn has no substitute.

Every email client I've used, I've always changed it so my new text appears on top. Even my Linux ones.

Urethra (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 13 years ago | (#498967)

Also, look for a beta of the Urethra newsreader which complements Aethera, to be coming out soon.

Re:outlook killer (1)

meadowsp (54223) | more than 13 years ago | (#498968)

Funny definition of dead really. I would have thought that the number of users was a better measure. Obviously I've just missed the 'insight' in your comment.

Re:There are already standards for this (1)

egghat (73643) | more than 13 years ago | (#498977)

search freshmeat for ical

i think most of parts are already there (ldap, ical, etc.), but someone has to glue them together.

How about a Linux-native Exchange client. (1)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 13 years ago | (#498983)

For that matter building an Exchange client for Linux. (i.e. a mail client that supports a direct connection to exchange server)

I'm not a programmer, but surely such a thing is do-able? Even as a component in an existing mail client?

I think Linux is a smashing OS, but the OS you run is less important than the applications. When I look at the applications I use most of the time:

  • Outlook 2000 connected to an exchange server
  • Internet Explorer 5.5
  • half-life
  • Office 2000
  • various custom database clients, used infrequently
  • Netsupport (remote control package, like pcanywhere only better)
I would say currently I can make a set-up in Linux that kinda does most of that, but it means a lot of compromises. The first two though, occupy 75% of my time.

Re:HTML Email is NOT a feature (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 13 years ago | (#498985)

The current batch of clients that support HTML email (include Lookout) do NOT have any such feature, and this would be highly recommended for any further email clients.
But Outlook does allow you to specify whether text or HTML is the default on a per-recipient basis. But the recipient must be in your address book to do this.

Outlook killer (1)

karmma (105156) | more than 13 years ago | (#498987)

Others have mentioned that it won't be an Outlook killer until it supports Exchange server - but - it will also need an integrated calendar/todo list to kill Outlook as well. The notes and contact/address book info were mentioned, I think, to be promised in a future beta.

Many of my users love being able to take a mail message and drop it on a calendar or todo icon within the same application, and won't be too anxious to abandon these types of featueres.

a real outlook killer (1)

imr (106517) | more than 13 years ago | (#498988)

would be a nice vsb mailworm which used exchange rich features also, like cancelling or sending meeting notices, not just mails ...

Re:outlook killer (1)

f5426 (144654) | more than 13 years ago | (#498991)

> outlook is already dead

Don't anthropomorphize programs. They don't like it.

Re:Outlook killer? How about Exchange Server kille (1)

pidge (160537) | more than 13 years ago | (#498992)

I still think the problem is Outlook. I have first hand experience of a recent evaluation that a large multi-national company did for their next generation email system. Their number one requirment was that Outlook should be the client. They wouldn't event look at anything else!

Once that "requirement" was factored in, can you guess which email platform was chosen? Despite other products being available that provided identical backend functionality, it was the bells and whistles that decided it.

pidge

Re:Interface biting (1)

Bingo Foo (179380) | more than 13 years ago | (#498993)

"u so caught up in letter grades, u skipped the F-in knowledge"

Pardon me, but there is no "F" in knowledge.

Bingo Foo

---

Sigh (another one?) (1)

JamesGreenhalgh (181365) | more than 13 years ago | (#498994)

The modern pitfall of opensource: Tool #3421 to achieve the same task.

To my mind, the best mailtool for Linux is without a doubt Sylpheed (search on freshmeat.net for it). Multiple accounts and filtering all handled flawlessly - all wrapped up in a sensible gtk wrapper so your themes apply to it.

It would be nice to see something big like the Gnome project select Sylpheed as their 'official' mail client, but it looks like everyone is hell bent on something that not only looks like Outlook, but chews memory, screenspace and CPU just like it too (hi Evolution.)

james

The race to create an Outlook Killer... (1)

BigRare (187855) | more than 13 years ago | (#498995)

Will be won, not by sticks and stones, nor by nuclear weapons, but by the incompetence of Microsoft programmers who will accidentally release bugs and back-doors which will force its users to activate their software.

Re:Outlook killer? How about Exchange Server kille (1)

rute_1 (190676) | more than 13 years ago | (#498996)

There is an Exchange Killer out there. It's called HP OpenMail. The problem is it's not free.

It does run on *nix and has most of the functionality of Exchange Server.

You can also use HP's client or Outlook or any other number of clients to interface with it.

We "had" a OSS Groupware killer! (1)

olaf_sc (204911) | more than 13 years ago | (#498998)

In StatOffice 5.2 you have a perfect Email/Calender/Schedule clinet and server backend that is cross platform and works resobly well to be a "OutLook/MS Office" killer. I was so happy when SUN said -"We will release StarOffice as OpenSource". Now we finally had the Groupware and Office suite of programs under an OSS license. BUT! When SUN released OpenOffice they had removed the whole Groupware part of the program. Hence making it a less atractive as a Outlook/MS Office replacement. I hope SUN can rethink and release the missing Email/Caldender/Schedule parts of OpenOffice under a OSS license. For further info regardning this matter see http://www.openoffice.org and for even more info browse http://www.openoffice.org/www-discuss/current/

Re:Exchange (1)

JebOfTheForest (207893) | more than 13 years ago | (#498999)

It's ostensibly a mail server, but it includes a bunch of features for businesses, like letting people have calendars and stuff that are shared so that they can schedule stuff without a million emails going back and forth to the effect of "how about wednesday at 3?". It's notoriously difficult to configure and keep running, and a lot of larger installations have full-time exchange staffs to keep it running right. It breaks all the time. We use it at my office, and last summer, I'd say there was about a two month period were exchange was down for a few hours every week for one reason or another. I don't do IT stuff, and don't know who does, so I don't know why, but it seems to be really flaky.

the features, however, are highly desirable, and are one of the most effective of Microsoft's "embrace-extend-extinguish" strategy. You start using these proprietary extensions, you like them, you want them from desktop all the way up to server back to desktop.

I guess the scheduling bit is sort of like how CVS manages diffs and stuff, but it's not really like CVS at all (CVS always works, does one thing really well, etc. Exchange does 900 things flakily, also, first and foremost, it's an email server).

This could all be wrong, I've never actually installed, maintained, read docs, or anything for exchange. I've just heard about it from.

jeb

Someone told me that he read that all memes are false.

Re:IMAP support (1)

wmulvihillDxR (212915) | more than 13 years ago | (#499000)

Starting with IMAP was a damn good idea. I am still waiting for the "outlook killers" (evolution, magellan, etc...) to have decent IMAP support!

Exactly our point.
Multiple folders and Multiple Accounts are supported with Althea. Configuration is a little clunky now but the next release is going to an XMLish format which will be much better. Folder management is the next topic (you can have folders, its just not ready for moving and creating yet, although Filters are working). SSL support might happen soon.

What?! (1)

excesspwr (218183) | more than 13 years ago | (#499001)

Dont go killing off M$ apps...where will we all get our ideas to be as good as Outlook Express or Internet Exploder or what not!

This is not flame bait just a small point hidden behind a lot of sarcasm.

Re:Outlook killer? How about Exchange Server kille (1)

gimpimp (218741) | more than 13 years ago | (#499002)

to be honest, i think it'd be cool if there was an open source exchange-like solution, as a higher priority than implementing a closed one.
there's no reason that someone can't come up with exchange compatibility, but i'd really like to see web integration between nautilus, evolution, gnome (online file storage, mail, etc...) first.

Re:Outlook killer? How about Exchange killer? (1)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 13 years ago | (#499004)

The question is, can Microsoft find a way to sue the developers for "reverse-engineering" a product? You know, and I know, and Microsoft probably knows, that no reverse engineering is involved, but if Microsoft want to sue someone into the ground, especially someone like an open source developer... There's not much said developer can do to defend themselves without major assets...

Internationalize! (1)

Sam Lowry (254040) | more than 13 years ago | (#499008)

I am sick about seeing Outlook and Outlook Express clones on Linux that will never get as close to the level of i18n support that Outlook Express has simply because the underlying system (e.g. X Windows or GTK ) do not provide a decent framework to build i18n-enabled applications.

Currently, I am stick with Emacs and I can not even use mutt to read mail due to the same i18n and configurability issues within the OS, be it Linux or BSD.

Exchange contender ? StarSchedule (1)

buchanmilne (258619) | more than 13 years ago | (#499011)

OK, so maybe it's not GPL'd (I haven't seen it in openoffice) but Star Schedule (server and client) is the only affordable cross platform calendering tool available. There are issues with the Windows versions (adding multiple people to events causes the StarSchedule client to crash - the linux version i fine), but maybe if more people complained about this (the bug report seems to have disappeared from Sun's forums after the REAL millenium) maybe they would fix it. Note that the Star Schedule server is only available on the CD (not by download) but runs on windows, linux or solaris

If Star Schedule were under the GPL, it might be easier to make other clients (ie a connector for outlook) or make an exchange compatability mode.

Also, I don't think people should bash Evolution until it hits 1.0, I assume that Helix will be adding a client for Exchange.

The other point is to remember that we don't need an Exchange replacement. We only need to do calendaring and task sharing (and maybe even integrate that with project management). IMAP is for email and LDAP is for contacts => you can use any client for your mail and contacts.

BTW, Outlook also sucks (to administer)

Re:Blah blah blah. (1)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 13 years ago | (#499013)

Better yet would be having an Exchange server replacement on Linux. Something that can do all that garbage on the back-end that can hook up to these front-ends.

Re:Outlook killer? How about Exchange Server kille (1)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 13 years ago | (#499015)

I would love to see an open-source Exchange killer. Hopefully someone will wake up long enough to drool out the phrase, Business like Outlook 'cause Exchange serve functions and actually do something about it.

And for those out there preparing a "DO IT YOURSELF DUMBASS" response, some of us already have plenty to do without having to code every piece of software we use from the ground up. Thank you very much.

Re:Outlook killer? How about Exchange Server kille (1)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 13 years ago | (#499016)

And if we have something with those bells and whistles available on Linux, that's great, but it does nothing without the Exchange server type functions. But, others have pointed out that it is in the works. I wonder why no one ever mentions that in these "press release" style posts.

The server side may not be flashy and sexy, but it is very important if we are going to show a "feature by feature" compatible or even comparable Outlook Killer.

Re:theKOMPANY is working... (1)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 13 years ago | (#499017)

OK, wasn't aware of that one.

I do know that the Evolution client is also being developed in conjunction with a server, but I am really curious as to why they rarely, if ever, mention the servers. Sure, they aren't the flashy/showy/wonderous things that everyone sees on the desktop, but to the people running the systems the server side is every bit as important (and in my mind would be a far more exciting) development. But, hopefully when they are "released" they will be nice and solid. When I get some time I throw one of them on my test network and check them out.

But you can't use it with Mozilla (1)

Donem (259965) | more than 13 years ago | (#499018)

Because the Mozilla team never did really address the main problem with Netscape (splitting up the browser, news and mail), you still can't set it up to use an external mail or news program.

Re:GPL (1)

Donem (259965) | more than 13 years ago | (#499019)

I'll add the functionality when I get time...

The request to have netscape split up has been made over and over since before Netscape opened the code.

I think, here, publicly complaining is likely to do as much or more than a feature request.

Re:Outlook Killer, Qu'est Que C'est (1)

Bojay Iverson (261262) | more than 13 years ago | (#499020)

I did have a look at the site, but I thought I had read it required QT. I can't check though, since the server seems unwilling to respond.

Hmmmm... (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#499023)

Looks a lot like Lotus Notes R5 on some of those screenshots. As for using this over Outlook, let me at it! I currently use Eudora due to it's lack of frequent virus exploitations that Outlook is so slammed with these days. Unfortunately, Eudora isn't quite as nice as Outlook. And for the non-business community, Urethra *laughs* looks like a great alternative to M$ Outlook and it's lack of security.

Amen! (2)

bluGill (862) | more than 13 years ago | (#499025)

Elm, Pine, mutt, kmail, or one of several other mailers all work fine for my mail. I don't need anouther mail client. I do however need a way to do calendaring, and it needs to be compatable with everyone else's calendar. I don't care what your mail tool is, I'm used to pine and we can communicate.

This week we are in the process of switchig from Synchronize (with unix or windows clients) to exchange (and citrix for those with unix on their desk top - most of us) because the main office is exchange and those who regularly go to headquarts have a secratary just to keep the two systems in sync. It will work, but from playing with citrix I've already realized it is slow.

Problem is anyone can write a mail client. ASCII is an old standard. All the protocols are well described in rfcs. There are plenty of resources on network programing for just about any OS. Exchange is not well documented however. Good luck creating your own client - it is unlikely to work.

Re:HTML Email is NOT a feature (2)

Masem (1171) | more than 13 years ago | (#499026)

Nearly any email client that has HTML abilities, starting from the first release of NS Communicator, has the option to turn on or off HTML email sending -- but it's an either all-or-nothing situation. Someone else posted that Lookout now can do this option on a contact-by-contact person, but this is still not enough. It needs to be both by email addresses as well as by domains, otherwise if I've decided to use HTML email for any intra-office messages, I'd have to add EVERY person to my contact list, and then set that option. I *don't* think so.

As soon as you talk HTML, you must think portability across platforms and applications, because HTML is supposed to be a platform-independant solution. (on the other hand, plain text *is* a solution, hands down). But 90% of the problem with HTML messages that are sent are the same 90% of the problem with the rest of the web -- these people have no idea how to write HTML code properly. From using malformed HTML markup to using IE-only tricks, these messages are barely readable on most browsers -- strip away the HTML to leave text, and you usually have something unreadable due to poor formating or hiding the content in the HTML (even though, theorhetically, removing HTML tags from a proper HTML document should leave a easily readible plain text file). This is a big concern to anyone using wireless internet devices, such as cel phones -- if that HTML message parsed down to text only is unreadible at 80x24, imaging trying to read it at 25x4, or worse.

You then have to conside the other problem, and that is compatibility with HTML browsers. Most of these email clients link to an existing browser engine, and embed it into a window. Lookout, obvious, and IIRC, Evolution will grab the Gecko engine from mozilla to do any HTML display. So you first run into the standard problems with HTML rendering in the various engines. But particularly on the windows side, these instances of the browser are NOT sandboxes -- all the standard hacks and the like will work in terms of, say, malicious buffer overruns from URLs. In addition, the 1x1 web bugs and other tricks can easily be inserted into the HTML email, and since you usually can't set different privacy and security for that browser instance, you're as vunerable as you would be with normal browsing. Plus I can send code in HTML that would normally be picked up by a cookie-blocker or such if the user had viewed the page via a normal HTTP connection, but would not be blocked in this case, and do the usual tricks of reporting back to a server.

Add to all of this that there is no clear cut standard for sending HTML email to begin with. Sometimes I'll get it in the plaintext client as HTML right after the headers, sometimes as two parts of a mime-encoded message, sometimes as an attachment -- it's a mess!

I believe that two things need to be done to make HTML email a practical thing that sits on top of the current email system that we have. Obviously, we need a standard for how to send and recieve email. Modifying the RFC for email servers to be able to recognize when an email client is sending in HTML, so that it can tag the message appropriately, and then when mail is being retrieved, a numeric can be sent prior to retrival to indicate that HTML or plaintext is desired (ala BINARY and ASCII of ftp servers). The server then would strip any HTML out of messages that contain it before sending the message out, if the plain text feature was enabled.

The other thing, more serious, is to develop a subset of HTML that can be used for email, similar to how /. does a trim of html -encoded messages. Restrict the set to only layout messages, such as B, H1, as well as links etc, and avoid anything that moves outside of just display, such as IMG, SCRIPT, EMBED, etc, such that what really can be sent is a what RTF can provide, in HTML terms. Mail clients can parse this before sending, but the job again would be up to the mail servers.

Putting such a new email server in place, as long as the way HTML was sent uses one of the current methods in use today, would not disrupt how older servers would continue to function, since only the input and output servers have any extra processing of messages to do. But there's a long way to go before this could be commonplace everywhere... it would require much help from MS and other vendors, and they're probably not going to cave in from this.

Re:HTML Email is NOT a feature (2)

scrytch (9198) | more than 13 years ago | (#499030)

Funny how you complain about HTML mail, specifically of people using it to put things in boldface, then later on down, put "by default" in boldface...

Would you rather it were RTF? I like being able to mark up my email, thanks very much.

--

Re:HTML Email is NOT a feature (2)

uradu (10768) | more than 13 years ago | (#499031)

> The current batch of clients that support HTML email (include Lookout) do NOT have any such feature

Outlook most certainly can, including Outlook Express. Simply open the contact in the address book and check "Send E-Mail using plain text only". Besides, I don't share your feelings about HTML email. Each new medium developed should be able to repesent information to the richest extent possible. Using plain text only is an artificial limitation that makes only some people happy. Those people should strive to develop email clients that let them strip the plain text out of rich email, but they shouldn't be allowed to dictate what everyone else uses.

All said, there is no denying that a rich medium invites poor taste. Crass use of fonts, colors and sizes can indeed make email very unreadable, but that reflects more on the poor taste and inexperience of the author than on the flaws of the medium. A good email client would offer a sensible set of filters that can let you normalize rich email to whatever you want: full formatting, colors only, fonts only, or plain text only.

Re:Outlook Killer, C'est Que C'est (2)

arivanov (12034) | more than 13 years ago | (#499033)

OK, How is it an outlook killer if it isn't competing on the same platform?

The important bit is the server platform. It is very hard to make cretinous Minesweeper Consulatants and Solitaire Experts that dwell around the coridors of large corps and claim to be from the "Incompetent in Technology" department to use anything but MS Exchange. So anything that can deal with their abominative productions is more than welcome.

Supports HTML email? (2)

Pope (17780) | more than 13 years ago | (#499034)

Noooooooo!

(this would have been funnier with the multiple o's, but filter stopped me. Damn.

Pope

Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!

Re:Outlook Killer, C'est Que C'est (2)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 13 years ago | (#499035)

OK, How is it an outlook killer if it isn't competing on the same platform

Well, according to a note that I *would* quote (but for the fact that the kde news server just got slashdotted), the president of theKompany says that there is no reason that Aethra can't easily be ported to windows.

--
Evan

OL killer? (2)

AndyElf (23331) | more than 13 years ago | (#499037)

It may be an OL killer, but *why* all the recent OL killers look almost *exactly* their target looks?! OSS produces better quality, more solid apps, but seems to be enherintly incapable of producing innovative UI.

This may well be explainable: it is not cheap to conduct various usability studies, yet it is still sad nonetheless.

Re:Why do people do this? (2)

Brazilian Geek (25299) | more than 13 years ago | (#499038)

I know I'm being redundant, this isn't his first reply...

To make the open source movement something the PHBs can understand you have to give them MS-like solutions. An Outlook Killer is a step in this direction. "Sir, why buy 2000 Outlooks (or whatevers) if there's this one for free that we can tailor to due as you, the almight Lord Boss, please?".

Face it, they need a comparison - you can't expect a non-techie to understand that Linux is superior to Windows ?? due to it's stability, you need to make them understand through ca$h ($$$$$$) or something else.

I say, GREAT job guys - keep it up!

--
All browsers' default homepage should read: Don't Panic...

Re:Not an Outlook killer (2)

lal (29527) | more than 13 years ago | (#499039)

Check out the roadmap [thekompany.com]. Groupware is coming, with shared calendar targeted for March.

Re:Not an Outlook killer (2)

lal (29527) | more than 13 years ago | (#499040)

Also, if you read through the thread on news.kde.org [kde.org] you'll see that TheKompany will not be open sourcing the groupware server. This is is the way they intend to make money.

Re:Outlook Killer, C'est Que C'est (2)

British (51765) | more than 13 years ago | (#499042)

Nono, it's on the same platform. You just have to install a small required library called "linux" to get it to work correctly. You just have to be patient with the install.

Re:OL killer? (2)

British (51765) | more than 13 years ago | (#499043)

Would you care to list some examples of better quality, more solid open source apps that are not alphas and betas?

Look on the bright side of having these opensource Outlook lookalikes being exact. If you have a company with x employees that were raised on Outlook and switch them to this, it'll be easy for them to figure it out without asking on newsgroups, reading through FAQs, and dinking around. Time is money, and not everyone has the time to goof off with an app when there's work to be done.

Re:I'm writing an Outlook killer myself (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#499044)

>Why in the heck would I want my text below the part I'm replying to? So the person can read through 14 consecutive replies before they get to the good stuff?

So that at least one of the 13 previous people who were also "top-replying" would be encouraged to get some clue and trim out the irrelevant crud ;-)

Why the heck did you, a proponent of "top-posting" - when you posted your reply to Slashdot, which does not (last time I looked) automatically quote text to which you're replying - put your reply at the bottom of your reply to the original poster?

Answer: The same reason peoples' replies belong below the quoted text in email, namely "Here's what Foo said. Here's what Bar said in response. And here's why I agree with Foo and not Bar.", or more bluntly, because people in western cultures read left-to-right and top-to-bottom.

Re:HTML Email is NOT a feature (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#499045)

>Funny how you complain about HTML mail, specifically of people using it to put things in boldface, then later on down, put "by default" in boldface...

I'm one of those who believes HTML in email is an abomination.

The answer to why I use HTML markup on Slashdot is because Slashdot is accessed through the web. HTML is what web pages are made of; it's therefore appropriate to use HTML.

Email is not the Web. Email is a method for sending text (7-bit text, none of this 8-bit M$ASCII crap even!) between users on two systems.

Since even web browser authors can't render the same pice of HTML identically, and there are only two mainstream browsers, how on earth do you propose to make every email client (from mutt to Elm to Pine to Eudora to Outbreak to Nutscrape to...) render HTML correctly?

Email is not the web. If you want to mark up your email, *emphasize* things or _underline_ them or SCREAM, but do it in 7-bit ASCII, and do it in text.

The PROPER way to handle HTML postings is to cancel the article, then hire a hitman to kill the poster, his wife and kids, and fuck his dog and smash his computer into little bits. Anything more is just extremism.
- Paul Tomblin in alt.sysadmin.recovery, regarding HTML in USENET.

I happen to agree with the sentiment when it comes to HTML in email too.

Re:I'm writing an Outlook killer myself (2)

stevey (64018) | more than 13 years ago | (#499047)

Why in the heck would I want my text below the part I'm replying to? So the person can read through 14 consecutive replies before they get to the good stuff?

Because as good Netiquette [phish.net] you should be trimming the text of the message you're quoting to the bare essentials - obviously.


Steve
---

IMAP (2)

brandonj (86467) | more than 13 years ago | (#499048)

Being that IMAP is a superior protocol , it suprises me that it isn't a high priority. I would try it out, but since there's no IMAP, I'll have to stick with Evolution... Which, has had IMAP from the start, even if it was pretty bad in the first betas...
But I DO have to admit, Aethra DOES look pretty...

-Brandon

this is no outlook killer. (2)

small_dick (127697) | more than 13 years ago | (#499049)

...because you can't kill outlook as long as the exchange protocol is closed.

our server is run by microserfs...meaning forwarding is disabled, IMAP and POP are closed.

NO non-microsoft mail client will ever work with our exchange server.

IMHO, exchange and outlook are a better example of Microsoft's antitrust behavior than the browser wars.

Re:I'm writing an Outlook killer myself (2)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#499052)

In an email reply, it takes all your new text from where it should be (directly under the part replied to) and automatically moves it above the original message.

Why in the heck would I want my text below the part I'm replying to? So the person can read through 14 consecutive replies before they get to the good stuff?

Every email client I've used, I've always changed it so my new text appears on top. Even my Linux ones.

-
-Be a man. Insult me without using an AC.

Not an Outlook killer (2)

eV_x (180493) | more than 13 years ago | (#499053)

When is everyone going to realize that Outlook is not just a mail client? The groupware features of Outlook (on an Exchange backend) are what make Outlook an interesting offer. DHTML/POP3/SMTP/Address books are all great and fine, but that's just a basic need for a simple mail client (they've been built into Outlook Express, Eudora, etc. for a while). Providing these features doesn't approach groupware, it approaches the minimum requirements that people *expect* from a mail program.

What *really* needs to happen is for someone to take the initiative on providing an extensible messaging environment that enables you to offer directory services, calendaring, addressing, forms, event handling, messaging, and VOIP across a corporate environment. SMTP and POP3 just aren't going to meet this need. Those types of features are what separate a mail program from a groupware environment.

Instead, what I really think people are looking for is not so much an Outlook killer (after all, it is in fact only a client) but an Exchange killer. And that needs to be cross platform or else you'll only have minor adoption rates - supporting Linux just won't do (even for the server). I find it hard to get impressed with another "me-too" mail program wanting to be groupware.

Re:Interface biting (2)

CyberKnet (184349) | more than 13 years ago | (#499054)

I'll grant you the inbox, but hth do you propose a developer to make a compose dialog box without using that interface??
Pine uses a suspiciously similar interface too (It has To:, CC:, Subject: and the message body!) It must be copying Outlook as well!!

---

IMAP support (2)

wmulvihillDxR (212915) | more than 13 years ago | (#499057)

Aethra is cool but check out my sig for a small lightweight email client that was built for IMAP. The mistake of a lot of email clients is that they first support POP and then add on IMAP later. It screws up the program since you have to deal with messages differently. Better to start at IMAP (which I consider the "wave of the future" for email anyways) and then "disable" the features for POP. This is not meant to be flaimbait, just a fact of many email clients. Our development on Althea has focused on getting the IMAP right and adding all the Outlookesque features until its fully functional. POP is so far down the road, even LDAP is before it.

not again! (2)

gimpimp (218741) | more than 13 years ago | (#499058)

yet again the desktop Vs desktop stupidity get's in the way of common sense.
there was the camel mail backend that they could have used, and implemented a kde interface - so why ignore it and the chance of *easier* interoperability between this and evolution??
i know this is still an important project, but people can't ignore existing technologies because of the fact that it was a competitors design.
sad...

Nice support. (2)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#499060)

Beta 1 of Aethera sports POP3, SMTP, HTML, DnD...

DnD? As in "Dungeons and Dragons"? Gee, I hope that the Wizards know.

Re:Just Want A Good, SOLID Mail Client (2)

kyz (225372) | more than 13 years ago | (#499061)

elm is solid and lightweight. mutt is solid and featureful. Quit whinin'.

Re:Outlook Killer, C'est Que C'est (2)

Prince of Jupiter (303015) | more than 13 years ago | (#499064)

%^#$%! Stupid fingers! *ahem*
>Regardless of which wins, the race to produce an Outlook-killer is on.

Making Outlook killers is easy! Oh, wait, you mean competing applications, not a virus...

Yes, but (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#499065)

Is it fully skinable yet? More importantly, does it have the ability to play MP3's?

No? What! I thought all OpenSource projects these days had to be able to do these two before you can even consider a first release! What were these guys thinking!

Why do people do this? (3)

ptomblin (1378) | more than 13 years ago | (#499066)

We all know that Windows sucks. So why, oh why, do countless Open Source projects spring up that try to slavishly duplicate the look and feel of yet another crap Windows product while leaving out the only good parts of the functionality? And then they call it a "Windows:foo killer". Do they really think Microsoft are the sole arbiters of what constitutes good GUI design?

I don't like the look and feel of Outhouse. And as an email client it sucks big hairy ones. I do like the calendaring, or at least I would if I needed to schedule things with more than one person. So why is this "Outhouse killer" duplicating the look and feel of Outhouse, but not offering any way to do calendaring through a SexChange server?

No thanks. I'll stick to mutt, and occasionally when somebody sends me a Microsoft attachment that I can't read by piping it to strings, I'll fire up Mozilla's email client on my NT machine. It's not great, but at least it knows enough to open up my IMAP inbox by default, unlike Outhouse.

Outlook killer? How about Exchange killer? (3)

kindbud (90044) | more than 13 years ago | (#499067)

Outlook is not the point. Exchange is the point. Samba can replace NT for file and printer sharing. What is there to replace Exchange for email, calendaring, shared address books, and all the rest? Is anybody working on a open source version of MS RPC and Exchange services, compatibile with Outlook?

My company uses Exchange and we all hate it. But everybody loves Outlook. Hell, I like Outlook, but use it in Internet mode, not Exchange native mode, because I can't use IMAP when Outlook is set to use Exchange, though I can set up additional POP3 accounts.

But the server side, Exchange, is a giant piece of bloatware that couldn't stay up for a week if Bill Gate's life depended on it.

You want to hurt Microsoft bad? Come up with a free-as-in-speech, open source, server-side replacement for Exchange, supporting all the features the client, Outlook, wants to use. I haven't got the programming skills to attack this, but I do believe that the route to the desktop is through the server, at least for open source systems.

I think there's a lot to be said for the embrace and extend strategy, and open source should embrace and extend the server side of Microsoft protocols, to get to the client side. As far as I know, reverse engineering to achieve compatibility is still legal in some parts of the world... Is anybody working on this already, and I just never heard about it?

For those asking for an Exchange killer (3)

autechre (121980) | more than 13 years ago | (#499068)

http://www.horde.org/projects.php

I've been using IMP, the webmail portion of HORDE, for quite some time now (no, not me personally; I use mutt. My _users_ have been using it). It's a very nice webmail client, especially with a few patches (for things like importing Outlook address books), and looks similar to Yahoo! mail (apparently; I've not used Yahoo! mail).

Though IMP is the most mature component, they also have Kronolith, which does calendaring. You have to get the code from CVS at the moment, but it is apparently in use in the Real World. Yes, it's a bit simple at the moment, but it's under development, so it _is_ happening.

Note that HORDE is entirely done with PHP, so it _does_ work on MS platforms (the server part, obviously; the client part is a web browser :)

The best part about providing users with webmail is that there is NO configuration. This is especially good when you are in Baltimore, and a good chunk of your users are in Chicago. You tell them on the phone, "Here is your username/password and the URL, go log in."

Sotto la panca, la capra crepa

I am afraid to agree (3)

f5426 (144654) | more than 13 years ago | (#499069)

> No? What! I thought all OpenSource projects these days had to be able to do these two before you can even consider a first release! What were these guys thinking!

The Law of Software Envelopment: ``Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.''
(Jamie Zawinski)

They clearly got it backward...

Cheers,

--fred

Outlook Killer, C'est Que C'est (3)

Bojay Iverson (261262) | more than 13 years ago | (#499070)

Regardless of which wins, the race to produce an Outlook-killer is on.
OK, How is it an outlook killer if it isn't competing on the same platform?

HTML Email is NOT a feature (4)

Masem (1171) | more than 13 years ago | (#499071)

I wish people would not use "HTML email" as a feature -- this is completely breaking the way that email is supposed to work based on the RFC for email servers. While I run Linux with X all the time, I use mutt because it's usually more configurable and I get my work done much faster than if I had to use a graphical client (even a good one under Linux). I suspect I'm not the only one in that boat. So no matter how much HTML email is pushed at me, I can't (effectively) read it.

Now, I completely understand that in intraoffice communications, because of the braindead-ness of PHBes, HTML or formatted email proliforates badly, just because they can bold the words "and I want it done NOW!". So it's completely understandable that an email client that is to be used on the rogue linux back in a WinNT environment is going to need to not only understand Lookout's protocols but also the ability to view HTML email directly. In addition, it would help to make conversions from WinNT to Linux systems if such were to occur more easier for the PHBs since they still have their pretty email system.

But please oh please limit it to just that. It should not be too hard to set up, by default, limiting HTML email to certain address sets, specifically ones with the same domain as yours, as well as making sure that HTML email is disabled on a normal install. The address sets that can accept HTML should be able to be customized, of course, in case you have contacts that you normally use HTML email with. I don't care if your office mates all email each other in HTML, but if you have to mail me or anyone else on the outside world that you don't know yet, make sure it's in plain text. The current batch of clients that support HTML email (include Lookout) do NOT have any such feature, and this would be highly recommended for any further email clients.

There are already standards for this (4)

yoz (3735) | more than 13 years ago | (#499072)

Please note, before jumping into development of such a server, that the IETF is working on standards for calendaring and scheduling, and several RFCs have already been published. For more info see the ietf-calendar home page [imc.org].

Unfortunately, I personally know of no open server-side implementation of these standards, though there probably are some. If you know of any, please post here.

Re:Outlook killer? How about Exchange killer? (4)

FatOldGoth (207461) | more than 13 years ago | (#499074)

But the server side, Exchange, is a giant piece of bloatware that couldn't stay up for a week if Bill Gate's life depended on it.

As someone who has worked professionally with Exchange for some time, I'd have to contradict part of this at least. Sure Exchange is bloated (I've just been dowloading SP4, which is obscenely large ~ 134 MB). I'd have to disagree with the stability accusation, though. I've been doing second line support for about 40 Exchange servers on a corporate network (all running on ridiculously overspecced Compaq servers) and it's proved to be rock solid. The only faults I've had in the last year related to the Lotus Notes connector - a bit of software that makes Charlie Manson look stable - and the occassional hardware glitch.

Using up-to-date service packs, neither NT nor Exchange are anywhere near as flaky as they used to be. As a passionate Linux user, I'm irritated every time I see anti-Linux FUD. However, as a regular NT admin, I'm also irritated by anti-MS FUD There are plenty of real points upon which NT & Exchange can be attacked (price, security, being closed-source) but echoing outdated rhetoric serves no one.

Sorry for the rant. I think I'll go and have another cup of tea now.


--

Re:Why do people do this? (5)

Ian Schmidt (6899) | more than 13 years ago | (#499075)

Because companies for better or worse have spent *billions* training people on Outlook and other MS applications. It's in the community's best interest to have replacements for common MS apps that will require minimal retraining to help grease the skids for Linux on the desktop.

Interface biting (5)

romi (80701) | more than 13 years ago | (#499076)

Hey, I'd like to see a strong mail client on Linux as much as the next guy - I hate outlook's instability (especially Outlook 2000!). *BUT* without meaning to rain on the parade, I'd like to point out that, while Outlook may have its faults, it appears that nobody has qualms with its interface:


Evolution Inbox screenshot [ximian.com]

Evolution Compose message screenshot [ximian.com]


Considering the bashing Microsoft takes around these parts, isn't it surprising that the interface here has been pretty blatantly jacked from Outlook? Now it might be the case that this really *is* the best interface style to use for an E-mail client, and that's fine. But give credit where credit is due for the design, or bash and don't bite.

I'm writing an Outlook killer myself (5)

kyz (225372) | more than 13 years ago | (#499077)

Features include:
  • Sends emails to your friends in a totally proprietary format, also encoded with CSS to protect it from the evil hackers who broke TNEF [std.com].
  • In an email reply, it takes all your new text from where it should be (directly under the part replied to) and automatically moves it above the original message. This is to deliberately make you look like a newbie and thus make you more attractive to your preferred soulmate gender.
  • Posts to newsgroups in Microsoft's extended RTF format. That'll teach them to complain about HTML.
  • Automatically opens any executable attachments and runs them. You obviously wanted to do that, so this saves your valuable time.
  • Includes a built in copy of Solitaire and Minesweeper for you to play while it sends and retrieves your mail.
  • Sends me, err, 'performance data' of any *.jpg or *.mpg attachments you recieve.
What do you think? Am I on to a winner?

Outlook killer? How about Exchange Server killer? (5)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 13 years ago | (#499078)

Look, we all want to see an Outlook killer on Linux. But let's face it. The reason people bitch about not having Outlook on Linux in the corporate world is mostly because of the calendaring/scheduling and collaboration type things they can do with Exchange server in the background. So, while I like the idea of having the Outlook Killer clients, when is someone going to really, really focus on the back end?

I want to see an Exchange killer in the back hooked up to one of these Outlook killer clients. Plus, I'd like to see it a little more sane/easier to administer. I'm not asking for more clickable items, I'm asking for sane permission structures (so I can keep Dave from resetting Betty's calendar without her permission), realistically tied together scheduling and a nicely followable format for the whole configuration.

I realize there are some albeit very, very small efforts under way to complete some projects along these lines. But there seems to be so much focus on the front end that no one really says squat about the server side requirements/code.

Until I hear that one of these packages is fully ready to tackle the Exchange/Outlook combo punch, I'll just keep plugging away with what I've got. Seperate server based calendaring, seperate e-mail, seperate collaboration, all a pain in the ass to accomplish, but usable. And constantly listening to my users bitch and moan because at that other company, "We used Outlook."

We get by with what we've got (and the boss liked the price tag, probably the only reason we are using Linux), but it sure would be nice to give the users something focused on their needs.

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