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Linux Desktop Email Key to Success

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the now-wait-a-minute dept.

Linux 478

littlepill writes "It looks as though email clients are vital for Linux to succeed in the desktop battle. ZDNet says, "the lack of a powerful email application could hinder the adoption of Linux on the desktop". So, even though Novell's Evolution is one viable and valid product, it seems that there is a clear "message to application vendors to focus on developing a quality email application for the Linux desktop"." I'm unconvinced- I think webmail will soon be replacing client side readers for all but power users.

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Power users (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159370)

I'm a power user you insensitive clod!

Power users Drive The Desktop (4, Insightful)

cmholm (69081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159684)

"Only" power users? Power users were the drivers for the bloat of office applications over the last 15 years. If the power users in which ever office environment aren't satisfied with the amount of crap in an application, the word will get around that it's "crippled". Face it, if a mail client doesn't match or exceed Outlook's feature set (minus the security hassles), the closest it'll get to the mass of business desktops is as a bullet point on C/Net.

HUH? (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159386)

If they are calling outlook a "powerful" email solution then they really have not looked at what is available out there. And honestly nobody needs scripting abilities in their email client nor in the compose/reader which is where all the damned worms get their foothold.

Evolution is pretty darn good, the only thing I see it lacking is integration to microsoft servers and that can be fixed with a backend change to decent groupware servers running open protocols.

Re:HUH? (4, Insightful)

Intron (870560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159503)

What's wrong with Connector? Evo seems to work as well with Exchange servers as Outlook. I use meetings/calendar all the time.

Re:HUH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159516)

What's the holdout against KDE and it's included client Kmail? Just curious, as it seems like quite a mature product that's essentially being ignored by the enterprise admins.

Re:HUH? (2, Interesting)

SparafucileMan (544171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159521)

they're calling for an exact clone of Outlook. they're not looking for power or the next big thing, like Taco. they just want it to work like windows for gods sakes so that businesses can use it without fear their employees will burn down the office.

Re:HUH? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159566)

My only concern is the thought that everyone will be web mail.
I highly doubt that IT depts will want to put their internal systems and users on web mail (not that I think it is bad, just that it "aint gonna happen"). The key to linux at home is linux on corp desktops, and the key to that is a _fully_ compatible office suite, admin panel and all.

Re:HUH? (5, Insightful)

bcshum0 (935428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159613)

...and that can be fixed with a backend change to decent groupware servers running open protocols. Oh, is that it? Well then, I'll just email the admin of my university and insist that he/she immediately take down that exhange server and replace it. Same goes for the admin at my enormous company, whom I'm sure will be more than happy to make a simple backend change to a decent groupware server from MS exchange, nevermind all the management being dependent on MS products.

the email clients should conform to the backend that is being used in reality, not the other way around.

Re:HUH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159696)

quit being retarted.

If you are changing to a Linux based It setup then why would you be so stupid as to keep the windows backend??

sorry but would you keep your OSX servers from your all mac shop when you switch to an all MS for the desktops?

THAT is the point not your wierd moronic tirade about irrelevent points.

Re:HUH? (1)

timmyf2371 (586051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159679)

Compared to the other email solutions I've seen and used, Outlook is immensely powerful.

The calendar function is like none other, and Outlook 2003's junkmail handling and security is very good IMO; I especially like the fact that it will not display images and scripting within an email unless the address/domain is whitelisted.

Re:HUH? (1, Insightful)

max born (739948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159690)


I use mutt [] and vim [] for email. Other than emacs, it doesn't get more powerful than that.

I think they probably meant easy-to-use.

From the article (2, Funny)

daeley (126313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159388)

Mozilla developers are already addressing this issue. The Mozilla Foundation recently published an initial roadmap for 'Lightning', the project to integrate its calendar application Sunbird with its email application Thunderbird.

Soooo, it's not so much that there's any hindering going on. And like the Magic 8 Ball, Ask Again Later.

E-mail or more? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159390)

Do they really mean just e-mail, or do they mean a replacement for Outlook? There are many decent e-mail clients on many platforms, but IME it's the lack of things like calendars and Exchange connectivity that get in the way at the office, and cause things like Thunderbird to be rejected even though there's a Windows version.

Re:E-mail or more? (4, Insightful)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159634)

Do they really mean just e-mail, or do they mean a replacement for Outlook?

Full replacement for outlook, including contact sharing, one central server where everything is stored on, calendar and appointment scheduling and so on. Once they have that, businesses will start adopting it. Assuming it is as usable (for users and administrators) as the current MS Outlook system is.

That can't be it (5, Funny)

Daimaou (97573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159395)

Windows doesn't have a decent email client either but they seem to be doing okay on the desktop.

FREAKIN LOAL DUDES!!! SKORE+100 funnay! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159425)

CArma hore!!! LOL!!!


lynnux is RMS!!!!!

parent isn't flamebait (1)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159451)

If Outlook is the best *nix-incompatible offering Windows has, then the parent has a point.

And I think it's hilarious.

Thuderbird Wins...Just Fix The Calendar! (5, Insightful)

PlayfullyClever (934896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159396)

I've itched about this before as well - Thunderbird very well could blow away Outlook in many organizations, but the CALENDAR *SUCKS* - Sorry, Sunbird sucks more ass than anything that has even sucked ass before. The last time I tried it, it was incapable of recognizing its own calendar files, instead they were opening as plain old text in Mozilla.

Here's my idea: Ditch flippin Chatzilla. Put a lot of effort towards the calendar.

The Calendar is one of the big reasons (that I have found) that people stick with Microsoft Outlook.

It doesn't even have to be the whiz-bang calendar like Outlook has, but it'd be nice if it would actually work worth a crap.

Re:Thuderbird Wins...Just Fix The Calendar! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159449)

Thunderbird is an email client, Evolution and Outlook are Groupware. Without the added functionality Thunderbird isn't ready for use at a major organization.

Re:Thuderbird Wins...Just Fix The Calendar! (3, Informative)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159731)

But Evolution is weak when it comes to Exchange connectivity. It connects using the Ximian Exchange connector, which emulates a web browser against OWA. Not only that, Novell shipped an extremely broken build of Evolution and the Exchange connector with SuSE 10 and has yet to offer a fix that works consistently.

Even when Evolution is working fine, it's dog-slow against Exchange, contacts are weak, public folder support is weak (if one creates a task folder or calendar folder in public folder, it's not recognized as such), and, well. . . it's the best option one has in Linux for Exchange interoperability, with the possible exception of wine/M$ Office.

With that said, if only Novell would fix Evolution and shove an update to the broken packages (Evolution, the connector, and libsoup) I'll be happy, even with the slow performance and poor public folder support.

Re:Thuderbird Wins...Just Fix The Calendar! (1)

Jotii (932365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159481)

Thunderbird is great, I'd say it would beat Outlook on every point (except the calendar) if it wasn't so damn slow. Or is it just the coffe-refill time?

Bad title (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159401)

The key to Linux not failing is email.

Without it, it will fail. Not failing != success.

I do agree in thinking webmail is the future.

Pine (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159403)

What's wrong with pine? :) At least you are safe from worms and viruses.

Re:Pine (2, Funny)

cafn8ed (264155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159727)

It's too sappy.

AJAX+Webmail (1)

thelost (808451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159405)

With the emergence of Ajax there is soon going to be little reason to have apps like email clients on our computers, however if companies like MS take the bull by the horns and intergrate this into their product line there is no reason we won't see an AJAX powered outlook express sometime soon.

Re:AJAX+Webmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159542)

There's little reason for your machine to have its own email client if you're glued to your DSL connection 24/7/365. But anyone with a dialup ISP or a laptop has a good reason to want an offline interface for reading old mail and composing new mail.

Re:AJAX+Webmail (2, Informative)

PyroPunk (545300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159682)

Have you ever used Outlook Web Access? It's one of the original applications using what people have recently labelled AJAX (Microsoft created the XMLHttpRequest object back in IE 5 and use it in their Outlook Web Client). So, they were a step ahead of everyone else in regards to an AJAX Web Mail interface, they just limited it to Outlook Web Access instead of putting it in MSN Mail or Hotmail.

Re:AJAX+Webmail (2, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159693)

I do agree that for most individuals, web mail solutions will reign supreme. However, for corporate purposes, even if accessing email occurs over web clients, the fact remains that it will have to be an internal system. I can't imagine even a moderate-sized operation putting their internal communications in the hands of, say, Hotmail.

I would dearly love to see something like SquirrelMail expanded to include fully functional centralized calendars and contact management. I could probably drop Exchange/Outlook and all the woes that come along with them, but calendaring and contact management are the chief requirements.

Re: Outlook Express????? (1)

markhb (11721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159723)

Outlook Express isn't what the corps discussed in the article are looking for; the desired client is the combination mail / group calendaring / contact management / task list / journaling / templatable / Personal Information Management application that is MS Outlook or Lotus Notes.

The best way to think of it is to imagine a Leatherman for on-the-road field sales staff and their managers.

An unpopular opinion (2, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159407)

Eh hem, at the risk of being marked as flamebait, I would like to say that it should have been "Intelligent people are Linux Desktop's key to success". For someone to say that Linux has a lack of powerful email clients is just absurd. People just don't know where to look or realize that sometimes, programs like mutt, fetchmail and all the other "do one thing well" programs are a better solution than having a large bloaty email app. If you don't believe me, look at the state of Internet email as caused by large GUI email applications. I'm all for more intuitive interfaces and GUI apps that make

People, computers are not cars, they are not toasters, they are not televisions.... they are anything that you want them to be, and this is fundamental reason they are hard to use, change so often and are prone to crashing.

Re:An unpopular opinion (2, Insightful)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159506)

That's exactly the sort of mentality that keeps Linux off the desktop at companies. Sample question you'll hear at the company-wide mandatory mutt training session:

How do I set up a meeting, viewing everyone's schedules at a glance, reserving an available room and projector, with mutt?

Re:An unpopular opinion (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159639)

How do I set up a meeting, viewing everyone's schedules at a glance, reserving an available room and projector, with mutt?

What the hell do any of those things have to do with email?!

I guess that's the one nice thing about working for a UNIX company. Or corporate calendar is a calendar app. Our corporate email is an email app. Our corporate browser is a browser app. Not really any need to combine them all, increasing the concurrent footprint and complexity posing additional stability risks.

Re:An unpopular opinion (3, Funny)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159689)

What the hell do any of those things have to do with email?!

The fact that the ZDNet guys are to journalism what China is to freedom, and couldn't understand the difference between an Email client (Thunderbird, Mutt, Pine, Outlook Express) and a Groupware application/client (Outlook) to save their lives.

Re:An unpopular opinion (2, Funny)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159705)

From: generic-man
To: Seumas
Subj: Meeting tomorrow at 5?

Are you free tomorrow at 5?

Re:An unpopular opinion (5, Insightful)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159633)

People just don't know where to look or realize that sometimes, programs like mutt, fetchmail and all the other "do one thing well" programs are a better solution than having a large bloaty email app.

That kind of bullshit doesn't fly in a corporate environment. Perhaps you've never worked in a corporation that uses groupware effectively.

And "mutt" being better than Outlook? What are you smoking! 90% of the people in a corporate environment can barely use Outlook - there is no way that you are ever going to get them to use mutt.

How about things like HTML email, shared calendaring, or any of the other things that you can do with Evolution / Outlook?

Before you go pissing all over the IS departments of major corporations, you should at least have the courtesy to think why Exchange/Outlook might be so popular:

- Active Directory integration
- Single server / desktop program for calendaring, email, contacts, etc.
- Distribution lists, polls, meeting requests and other features that are simple enough for the typical office user to use
- Integrated server solution (don't need different programs for IMAP, SMTP, webmail, etc.)
- Excellent webmail experience using AJAX
- Contact / Calendar / Task / Mail integration with PocketPC, Palm, and BlackBerry

After spending multiple hours mucking with different (poorly documented) configuration formats, multiple different daemons, mucking with the DB - it's really clear that Linux just isn't there. Exchange is easier to install, easier to configure, and easier to manage.

Re:An unpopular opinion (0)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159638)

Yes, yes, we know. There's nothing wrong with Linux, it's only the users that are broken.

Nonetheless, the users are the constant and unless you want to be reading today's "Linux Desktop Deployment Postmortems?" again in five years it's the software, that has to change.

I want an email app that autocorrects my "Thakns," to Thanks,". If you think using mutt is proof of superior intelligence on your part, enjoy, but I'm going to stick with the notion that computers are here to work for me, not the other way around.

Re:An unpopular opinion (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159741)

You're not going to get adoption, particularly by business, by saying "suck it up and drop your email and group management software under one hood and use half a dozen apps of varying degrees of interoperability instead."

It's a major piece of the Linux puzzle still missing. We need an Exchange/Outlook set of apps. If you can produce a unified groupware package that functions well and is reasonably easy to administrate, then I guarantee you, businesses will really perk up and take notice. Like it or not, it's the customer that rules the business, and customers want Outlook, or something like Outlook.

Re:An unpopular opinion (2, Insightful)

simong_oz (321118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159745)

"Intelligent people are Linux Desktop's key to success"

"Intelligent people" are not the majority of internet users, or even email users. The majority of the market just wants the application to look pretty and work. They don't want to configure anything - moving the mouse to the start button is enough of a challenge thanks. They don't want to have to remember keys, etc etc. And to be perfectly honest, they shouldn't have to. It should "just work" (TM). Until the linux community understands this, it will never genuinely compete with windows or macos as the OS for Joe Average.

thunderbird? (4, Informative)

5n3ak3rp1mp (305814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159409)

was mozilla thunderbird [] completely overlooked in this FUD [] -filled article?

I second the webmail thing. Before I quit my last windows-dominated job (to try my hand at this [] full-time), it was common for me to use the IE-based Outlook Web Access client since Outlook itself was often buggier.

Re:thunderbird? (5, Insightful)

WTBF (893340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159504)

I use Thunderbird as my mail client on my desktop and I think it is great, however it is lacking one big feature: calendar. I know there is Sunbird however it is (IMO) complete rubbish. Outlook may be lacking in some areas, however until thunderbird gets a decent calendar (as well as calendar sharing, todo lists etc) then it will not be suitable for the majority of businesses running Outlook.

Mutt works just great for me (2)

Bodysurf (645983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159410)

In fact, there's not much I need a Windows machine for.

Mutt works far better than any email program I have used on Windows -- including Outlook, Eudora, and Thunderbird.
FireFox is all I need for web browsing.
GAIM is all I need for IMing.

But, I haven't found a replacement for Agent for USENET access. Everything I've used on other platforms is inferior.

webmail is only a convenience (2, Interesting)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159420)

It doesn't let you work on email off-line. Also, bringing your messages to your local machine makes them somewhat easier to protect. Are you worried about someone reading your email? Disconnect from the 'net.

(No, it isn't the perfect solution. But I trust my system more than I trust my ISP.)

Who doesn't like Thunderbird?? (1)

jkeegan (35099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159423)

The only thing missing from Thunderbird in my opinion is built-in calender/meeting functionality, which exists as extensions and standalone apps, albeit in beta.

What are the downsides?

Re:Who doesn't like Thunderbird?? (1)

WTBF (893340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159555)

One thing that I have seen some people use in business is shared mailboxes, which Thunderbird does not really support. I know you can set up a IMAP account and access it from various clients, however whereas the average slashdot reader would have no problem setting this up, some businesses (small ones in particular) might stuggle if they have used exchange/outlook.

Ummm.... Thunderbird? (1)

shawnmchorse (442605) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159430)

I'm really not sure what they mean exactly by a "powerful" e-mail application. Evolution seemed to "heavy" to me, so I have been using Thunderbird for awhile now and am very happy with it. Webmail seems more like an adjunct to me than a replacement, particularly because I have no control over what the company providing the webmail does with my mail. At the moment I'm using a work POP account, a personal POP account, and Gmail. I also download from Gmail through POP just to have a copy of the e-mail somewhere other than Google.

Webmail for everyone but power users? Nah. (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159434)

I'm unconvinced- I think webmail will soon be replacing client side readers for all but power users.

Why? Webmail is slow at times and your Internet connection could be unavailable or only available at intervals. GMail, while great and all, isn't something I'm comfortable with even though I have 100s of labels and filters to make it readable. It's extremely slow on older CPUs and just b/c Google thinks that you don't need the "Folder concept" doesn't mean I don't want that.

With Webmail I can't get my e-mail to my machine and HOLD IT. I like the feeling that my e-mail is stored on *my* machine. I choose to archive my e-mail at GMail but it's not something I *must* have. In fact, depending on their future choices, I may remove all that e-mail and go back to just having it archived on WORM media.

Re:Webmail for everyone but power users? Nah. (1)

tc (93768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159558)

Business travellers especially like to have their email stored locally, so they can work on a plane, for example. Although some airlines are starting to offer wireless connectivity on their flights, it's going to be a while before it's ubiquitous.

Sure, eventually we'll all have a high-bandwidth connection all of the time. But until that happens, a useful offline mode is a critical feature for many users.

Re:Webmail for everyone but power users? Nah. (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159575)

Why? Webmail is slow at times and your Internet connection could be unavailable or only available at intervals.

And...what about people with multiple email addresses? It isn't that hard to set up Thunderbird/Mozilla Suite, and it saves you having to open like 3 browser windows (or ideally tabs) to check your webmail.

Re:Webmail for everyone but power users? Nah. (1)

chrisgeleven (514645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159578)

If you use Google Desktop, it can save a copy of your Gmail for offline searching.

Unless you are on a Mac or Linux that is.

Re:Webmail for everyone but power users? Nah. (4, Interesting)

courtarro (786894) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159650)

You're a power user; that's why the editorial made the distinction. I have two close friends who use Gmail and refuse to entertain the idea of checking it using POP with an app like Thunderbird. They love the webmail interface and don't seem to mind setting it as their homepage to facilitate easy checking. Offline browsing used to be a necessity when you paid hourly for internet access, but so many people consider their internet connection a permanent fixture and don't worry about the negatives of downtime or a possible catastrophic host failure that deletes all their archives. Besides, with all the spyware worries and people's distrust of their own computer, non-power users are probably more likely to trust Google or Yahoo with their email data anyway.

In most cases, I've had a pretty difficult time explaining the POP paradigm to less tech-savvy folks anyway. Before I manage to fix things, they don't understand why their friends are getting bounced emails about "full accounts" when their local inbox in OE is empty. Gmail and other webmail services remove that confusion and additionally provide the feature that the email-checking experience is roughly identical on any machine they use to check their mail. Non-power users simply don't consider it worth the effort to use a local mail reader.

I'm unconvinced by webmail! (2, Insightful)

shic (309152) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159436)

I'm unconvinced- I think webmail will soon be replacing client side readers for all but power users.

Bobbins. Even users who would join the luddites given half a chance, in my experience, prefer to use a proper mail client as soon as email becomes a part of everyday life.

I'm a fan of Thunderbird (in its new 1.5beta form) - though even with that I'm frustrated by the lack of support for updatable LDAP (or other shared) address books. That and 'grammar checking' are the two things I wish FOSS could catch up with. Outlook & exchange have had these essentials covered for years. FOSS needs a lightweight feature-complete email client - I'm still waiting.

Re:I'm unconvinced by webmail! (1)

Malangali (932979) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159681)

It must be nice to live in a fully networked bubble, but much of the world does not have instant broadband/ wi-fi 24/7. And, many people who do have pretty good network access still have to pay for their minutes online. For such people, having their email always on the web is either a major hassle, a major expense, or a huge impossibility.

Think global, but keep your email local.

evolution issues (1, Insightful)

maryjanecapri (597594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159437)

I think this article has some very valid points. I will add that one of the issues surrounding Evolution is that:

a) it's future? who knows what's going to happen to it. Novell isn't making some of the best decisions with regards to it's Linux future. Who knows what they plan to do.

b) evolutions' inability to be updated. What the heck? I'm still having to run version 2.2.3 because there's no way to update unless I want to compile from source. Yes, I know how to compile from source but the dependencies of that app are a nightmare! and the average joe isn't about to start compiling from source just to update an applicaiton. this is really a show stopper considering tools like yum and apt-get. Why on earth are the evolution developers not making it possible to update their product with the most used tools to do so? makes no sense.

c) buggy. evolution still has some issues. from random crashes, to the spamassassin daemon issues, to odd UI changes. these are problems that will continue to plague this application.

don't get me wrong, i've been using evolution since it's beta days and it's come a long, long way. but there was a time when i could solve a lot of the above problems on my own. now i can't.

but to be honest, i don't see many changes happening in the future. and with Mozilla Thunderbird growing like it is, and the hopes of a calendar integration into Thunderbird, I just might know what my next mail client will be.

web-based email (1)

prurientknave (820507) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159444)

The only problem with web based email is its lack of integration with many of nifty desktop integration features that most desktop clients enjoy. like right-clicking on a file to be sent to quickly begin composing a new message to send that file. Integration between email contacts, instant messaging and addressbook and appointments are presently lacking and all seem to involve a lot more clicking around with a web based interface. Desktop clients are here to stay a while yet, but the linux still needs something like outlook that is fully integrated with the target desktop which is unlike the current versions of evolution

Re:web-based email (1)

cliff99 (935425) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159692)

I hate webmail interfaces. Does this qualify me as a power user? No, seriously, does anyone know a lot of people that prefer webmail over real clients? In many discussions nowadays it seems to be a big issue to have a consistent look and feel and good desktop integration. Which web based mail interface is capable of that?

Prefer thunderbird (5, Interesting)

viniosity (592905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159445)

I've used both Thunderbird and Evolution extensively. In fact, my company has asked me to recommend a mail client going forward if/when we do switch to linux. Hands down Thunderbird is the winner. Here's why:

1. Evolution deletes mail by putting it into a virtual folder and hiding the original message in your inbox. This is ok and seamless to the end user UNLESS you happen to also use webmail. In which case your inbox will be cluttered by messages you thought you'd gotten rid of ages ago. The evolution team has flat out refused to address this issue and has been calling this 'not a bug' (which is true) since 2001.

2. Same as above but for Junk Mail.

3. Finding unread messages in Evolution is difficult. Sorting in general is more flexible in Thunderbird IMHO.

4. Thunderbird is cross-platform. From a corporate standpoint this has let me train the entire staff on Thunderbird before installing linux on any workstation. Once linux is installed, they will be using all their familiar apps but without the viruses, spyware, and blue screens of death.

5. Thunderbird will eventually get calendaring as part of Mozilla Lightning. While that's probably years away, I am patient and hopefuly that this will allow us to eventually get back full exchange-type functionality. Regardless, the calendar is not critical for our office.

Evolution does have some great features, notably beagle integration which I would love love love to see in Thunderbird. Unfortunately I don't have the needed talent to make that happen..

I always try really hard to use evolution because of beagle integration and I always end up going back to Thunderbird which I feel is a good enough client to satisfy the typical corporate desktop. At least for small businesses who don't need the calendar.

Re:Prefer thunderbird (3, Interesting)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159677)

6. Lack of easy spam filtering. Evolution uses server (if any) spam filters. Trying to hook up Evolution to spamassasin was a pain as you only got the yes/no filter option without the SA headers being used. If I wanted to autodelete spam with a high rating, I was out of luck. Add that to 2, which made training a pain, I got upset fast.

7. Evolution Palm integration sucks. Without the simplest things like category exchange, you end up with XXX entries in the address book with no easy way to keep different types separate.

I gave up on it until the dev team realize that they're needs aren't the needs of the general public and certainly aren't the needs of the business user.

Don't think so (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159446)

I don't think Email client is the main problem that may leave Linux failing on the desktop. I would agree that web based email is looking pretty good to take over, but linux on the desktop, in my opinion, isn't being adopted because it isn't being used at an early age (ie. MS in schools, MS Word files being required for term papers).

Ridiculous (1)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159452)

There is no way this person is thinking straight, with the features of Mozilla and technologies like AJAX the browser is becoming the app. Couple this with the growth of thin clients (think about where you work; how many people there *NEED* a full blown $2000 desktop computer to check email and trade word docs? Sure coders probably prefer a beefy box, but why not have them on a grid of computers to really get some performance? I'm getting off topic, but come on, Evolution has all the features that even 'power users' would need, but for 90% a great webmail client is going to be all ppl need. Don't get me started on Exchange and licensing...when will the madness end - YOU DON'T NEED THAT MANY COMPUTERS! Think server-side, think thin clients, think savings (overhead, support, utilities, etc).

Web mail (1)

Gridpoet (634171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159453)

I'm unconvinced- I think webmail will soon be replacing client side readers for all but power users.

i would have to say i agree. there was a time when i was using my Road RUnner mail acount and using a mail app to read all my mail, but the spam monster ate my inbox, so i've migrated online.

I use several diffrent services such as gmail and yahoo. My Yahoo is soley for those anoying "must register and be emailed key" type sites that i'm just not sure if they will sell my email.

I just find Gmail to handy not to use.

bah to webmail (2, Insightful)

ed 'g3' (231005) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159461)

Why is there a preoccupation with webmail? It's an annoying buzzwordy type solution - oh look, we've got WEBMAIL - and is crap compared to a proper desktop client. And yes, i've got gmail. Why would I want to spend time jumping to the next screen of 20 messages (outlook webmail anyone) when i can scroll properly through thousands in a desktop client? I can't think of a *single* advantage of webmail except for the ability to access email from any pc on the web - which in my book relegates it to a backup solution and not the preferred method of access.

Office and Photoshop (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159465)

Some users suggested that end user training issues could be alleviated if Linux supported more common desktop application such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.
Yo, Linus, are you listening? How come you don't support MS Office? Get with it, man!

Evolution (5, Funny)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159469)

I got a chance to use Ximian Evolution once in a Linux computer lab several years ago at University, and I was impressed by how much better it was than Outlook Express, and felt a lot like Outlook. I'm not sure how good it is at the advanced calendar sharing that some offices seem to demand these days, but it strikes me as a worthy successor to Outlook.

Although I have a feeling it would never be too popular in Kansas.

Ummm... what? (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159473)

Lack of a powerful email client? What?

  1. Evolution
  2. Kmail <-- my favourite, really nice filters & GPG, Cert handling
  3. Thunderbird
  4. Mozilla Mail

This has got to be annother of those troll articles.

Now I RTFA (4, Informative)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159601)

Same conclusion now that I see they're confusing email with groupware.

  1. Evolution
  2. Kontact []
  3. Thunderbird + Sunbird

My corporate email solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159477)

emacs + gnus

(I've tried evolution and kmail, too, but they just can't compete.)

All you need... (1)

c0l0 (826165) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159482)

is mutt [] or, better yet, mutt-ng [] if you're using IMAP.
No, really.

ZDNet = Microsoft shill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159484)

ZDNet has it's collective head up where the sun don't shine. I quit using any ZDNet services or products, or even looking at what they are doing on their web site a long time ago.

Email Applications Required for Mobile Computing (1)

drgreening (594381) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159489)

I use Linux on a laptop (server development), and the only reason I still (also) carry around a Mac laptop is email and calendaring.

When you are traveling on planes or working on a bus, you cannot use a web email interface. Business people need this capability. Having a good email client with calendaring (Evolution and Thunderbird are not there yet) will make all the difference.

The market > Developers who sit at a desk.

OSDL desktop architect meeting blog... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159493)

There are lots of other reasons. I'm taking notes
at the OSDL desktop architects' meeting; see []

Sorry, but this is not the problem (1)

astyanax (8365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159496)

The problem keeping Linux from the desktop at my large corporate environment is not just email, it's email integration and reliability. I can get email all I want, but if I can't request and accept meeting requests, book meeting rooms reliably through email, etc, Linux has no chance here. The exchange connector plugin for Evolution has historically been completely unstable, which does not even give us a migration path away from M$ exchange.

Not 100% accurate... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159500)

I think the downfall of Linux is going to be the lack of proper GROUPWARE software. There's 'opengroupware' but it's nothing worth writing home about. There might be a few stragglers here and there, but by in large, nothing competes with Exchange other than Notes.

I for one am looking forward to seeing a true competitor to Exchange.

I use Thunderbird because... (3, Interesting)

algae (2196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159501)

Much as I'd like to use Evolution, it's got a few show-stopping problems:

* Leaving POP3 mail on the server is all-or-nothing. I'd like to see the "delete after X days", "delete after it's gone from the inbox" options that have existed in other POP3 clients for the past ten years or so.

* Displaying large messages is slooooow. As a sysadmin, I regularly deal with 1-5MB log files in my email. If I have to wait 30 seconds each for them to display, I'm not gonna use that program.

* No advanced search. You can't search more than a single mailbox at a time.

On the upside, the GPG integration is better than any other mail client I've used. Still, until they can deal with these fairly basic problems/lack of features, it's a no-go.

What email user isn't a power user? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159502)

"I think webmail will soon be replacing client side readers for all but power users"

Your task is to go find me some email users who don't behave they're power users. This is kind of the line of thinking that drives many public transit programs; if we make it better, everyone else (not me) will use it...

Webmail? Not really... (1)

zanderredux (564003) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159509) long there are corporate users and compliance/information security stuff to follow.

For instance, would Microsoft or the FBI trust Google to hold its corporate e-mail system?

Webmail here doesn't sound realistic.

Webmail is insufficient (1)

csoto (220540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159510)

It typically lacks a few features our users would never give up:

-efficient search and sorting capabilities
-spell checkers
-document management (attachments folders)
-good filtering

There isn't a webmail I've seen that comes close to matching Tiger's, or even the slow but useful Entourage 2004.

Slashdot editors are very different people... (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159522)

CmdrTaco said, "I'm unconvinced- I think webmail will soon be replacing client side readers for all but power users."

This kind of thing hampers the ability of Slashdot editors to be good editors. Slashdot editors are very different people than average. In fact, many people who have little computer knowledge spend a half hour a day or more answering email, and those people need backups of all their email. Email is the preferred method of communicating with business people.

Not email, IMO (1)

ameyer17 (935373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159528)

In my opinion, email is not the problem, but general ease-of-use is. I have dabbled in linux in the past, but I actually had to try about 3 different distros before I actually found one that would properly configure X to work properly (stupid shitty onboard video card wouldn't completely disable, leading to problems with hardware detection, but that's not my point). I think a lot of people would use linux if it weren't seen as a nightmare to setup

Web Based E-mail Security (1)

DaedalusLogic (449896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159531)

One thing that is nice about having people use web based e-mail is that there may be fewer points where information can leak out. If you're not using POP and SMTP to access your mail you don't have to worry about configuring your client to ensure security. It also means that people won't be running outlook express, and you don't have to update and patch all those desktops out there.

But I don't know if that means that most business users will move over to web-based. There are too many convenience reasons to have a client on the desktop... Outlook is way too complex for most users, Evolution is pretty nice but is in danger of getting too much like Outlook. I am really liking how Mail and iCal work together on OS X... I think all the Mozilla apps are headed that way, and are much more mature in their configurability standing alone.

My question... How can you convince users to give up Outlook, Entourage, and Evolution in favor of simple one function applications that tie together in a loose fashion?

Would *someone* RTFS? (1, Redundant)

overshoot (39700) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159536)

The survey did not turn up e-mail as a weakness in Linux desktops! (Grumble, obscenity, grumble ...)

What it turned up was that:

  • Applications availability was the #1 obstacle to adoption, and
  • The most critical application category in the survey was e-mail.

After that there was a speculation that maybe e-mail is still the killer app, or maybe that Linux needs better mail apps, or something.

It doesn't help that this is /. pointing to a hosed article in ZD citing coverage [] in

telnet and SMTP (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159544)

Jeepers, geeks get by in a pinch with: telnet localhost 25


RCPT TO: yyy


The msg



What more does one need?

Re:telnet and SMTP (1)

affinity (118397) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159670)

you forgot to send the 'helo ' or 'ehlo ' first... :)

Sorry, webmail doesn't work when you're not online (1)

TheNucleon (865817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159565)

"I'm unconvinced- I think webmail will soon be replacing client side readers for all but power users."

Sorry, this only works if you assume ubiquitous connectivity to your e-mail server. Not true today, not likely to be true anytime soon (at least in the US) for many business users. Price is too high, coverage too spotty, standards need to converge, etc., etc.

Standalone personal organizers (e.g., Outlook) are going to be around for a while. In fact, the whole notion in general that web apps can provide the same user experience as thick client apps (AJAX and so on notwithstanding) is suspect, and I am "unconvinced" this will change soon. The lack of any standards for the "Web UI" user experience has caused a mess. Windows, Linux, Mac OS, etc solve this with a unified windowing interface. It's good, and users like it.

Corporations and web based email (1)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159573)

I find it hard to believe the forture 500 companies and the like are going to say "Let's use gmail" even if they have tons of shares in google. With all the litigation and IP wars going on, companies are going to want to carefully control what and where information is stored. I suppose corps could use their own internal web based email as opposed to "fat" clients, but IIRC Outlook/Exchange already have a web based interface...or at least they did a few years ago at a former company I worked.

For Joe Public, yeah, web based email will probably be were he/she eventually ends up, but for businesses it just seems to risky due to the lack for control and implicit trust you must have with the provider.

Re:Corporations and web based email (1)

ahodgson (74077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159647)

I think they have things like [] in mind.

The client isn't the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159581)

Email sucks eggs, for the simple reason that SMTP isn't a trustworthy protocol. The whole email business needs a forklift upgrade, from the bottom up. If you really want to convince me you're a bimbo, tell me it will all be better if you slap me silly with a calendar on top.

E-mail is the least of the worries. (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159588)

In our case.

Novell integration and NT server integration
Virus protection (no system is immune from users)
Automatic updates (push and pull).
software management beyond updates (load/unload un/authorized software)
5250 and 3270 emulation
Office must run on it.

Oh, and all of it must have support available 24/7 from known companies. Then to top it off we will need 3 vendors to provide versions of their software to run under linux which will never happen.

E-Mail is the least of the worries. Its all the other pieces which make up the corporate PC. You then have to get past entrenched individuals (read: can't be fired) who can shoot down anything with FUD. (in our case Novell hacks)

The problem is calendaring, not email. (1)

egarland (120202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159591)

The problem, as the article states, isn't email but a "powerful email application" aka Outlook replacement with calendaring and groupware support.

This has been a big hole for 5 years now. There are a many hurdles to be overcome before Microsoft's stranglehold on corperate infrastructres is loosened. It's nice to see some attention called to this, one of the biggest.

Why do we dance around the truth? (5, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159604)

The key problem to mass adoption of a linux desktop is the lack of proprietary apps on linux.

For example: I work in the dental industry. We use digital xrays and a computerized practice manager. There are few valid options for a practice manager running on linux, and NO digital xray apps.

Hence, we use windows.

I think if you go looking, you will see it's much to same for other industries.

IMHO (1)

marlinSpike (894812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159612)

I think what Linux needs to get to the masses is a "default" mail app that ships with every installation. I think that's what the Desktop Linux consortium is trying to get at. It's all well and good that there are five or six good alternatives, but to go Mainstream (and that's key here, because we're not talking about the few savvy techies, but the average Joe or Mom user), Linux needs a default Mail app that ships with EVERY distro, and has the same L&F, no matter whether the Distro ships with Gnome or KDE as the UI.

The other thing Linux needs is a better Install/Uninstall mechanism. I know there are RPMs and I know there are people who'd claim it's so much more powerful than Add/Remove on Windows, but for the Average Mainstream user who wants nothing more than an easy to use Install/Uninstall interface, Linux is quite challenging.

True there are lots and lots of Open Source apps, but all of them ship in this rather convuluted thing called an RPM. Now how in the world is an average user to understand how to install an RPM?! Can he be expected to install ANY RPM with a single click and a little wizard? How about unilstall from a nice GUI Uninstall utility.

These are areas that Linux needs to address. Sure, the core is definitely there, but as in many Open Source apps whos main users are adept at computer internals, the little polish that's reuired for an average user to be comfortable with the app is missing.

My $.02.

Don't feed the troll (2)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159617)

Listen up gang, the morons at ZDNet will always be publishing a "Linux will fail because....." article. Trolling is all they are good for anymore. Evolution even comes with a FREE connector to talk to Microsoft Exchange and they still post trolls trying to divert development effort into unproductive pursuits.

No, if you care about Linux on the desktop we need exactly two things.

1. An open replacement for Microsoft Exchange, so Evolution's connector isn't forever chasing Exchange's taillights and so more shops can get the Exchange monkey off their back. In the same vein as OpenDocument, establish an open standard for the scheduling and calendaring features of Ecchange PHBs love so and ram them hard enough Exchange and Outlook must fully implement them.

2. Pushing a wee bit harder for OpenDocument. Break MS Office's stranglehold on the world's data files and what OS is under your Office productivity app isn't nearly as important.

This isn't hard, Microsoft understood it perfectly when they stated the key to victory was to decommoditize the protocols. So long as they succeed in that they keep winning. And just as obviously if we can commoditize everything important in IT, mail, calendaring, directory services, file sharing, etc, we win.

So the fate of linux ... (1)

bohemian72 (898284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159618)

... is in the hands of old Korean people?

It is the calendar, dummy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159660)

E-mail is no longer the killer corporate app that is holding linux back, it is the calendar. If you don't have calendar, then you are not going to get into corporations.

I would love to switch all the engineering organizations I have been in off Outlook/Exchange, but with no viable calendar .... It is not going to happen.

CmdrTaco is totally high if he thinks that web mail can replace offline mail reading/composing/replying.

Your humble build servant.

GroupWise? (1)

pcguru19 (33878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159662)

Novell makes a GroupWise Linux client. Of course you have to be a GroupWise shop to take advantage of this, but there are corporate mail systems with a Linux client.



DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159673)

I have been using various web mail clients since 1996. I firmly believe in them, because no major service has ever lost anything of mine. I have a hotmail account that has been around since before M$ bought them. I use GMAIL now, and I love it! In fact. I have been a comp tech for some time, and basically refuse to use outlook because, I don't need 100mb RAM {j/k}to be wasted on a program I don't ever need to use!

        >>>But it does x/y/z...
        So does gmail/ hotmail / yahoomail /xmail y mail and zmail too

Ironically now I am forced to use outlook at work, and don't really know it as much as I like to get to know my applications. (yes i like to know my apps that well.)

This isn't my sig, this is

Yer kidding right? (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159700)

e.mail is not the key to victory, neither is plug n play, nor games, nor any of that other stuff.

The key to victory is corps willingly adopting linux on the desktop, and furthermore, vendors *supporting* it (you know, as in writing drivers and recognizing when someone calls in with linux on their dell box.)

Until that point in time, linux will be a niche player.

The Little OS that Could (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159701)

That is a really badly written and thought-out article. The survey doesn't say Linux needs "several powerful alternative email apps", just that it needs a powerful email app. Modifying that to "alternatives to Evolution" is the unsupported assertion of the writer, who doesn't even recognize that there are already alternatives. And their other conclusion, that businesses have "culturally shifted" to acccept "open source" has no backup, even if it's true: businesses are accepting Linux as an alternative to Windows, without regard to the openness of its source - even if that's an essential property of the alternative in question.

But the article is an excuse to look at the real dynamic of the current phase of Linux acceptance. People have long noticed that minorities have to do much better than incumbent majorities to become accepted, to exploit the same opportunities, to reap the same rewards. Linux is in the position of a tiny minority, facing a highly organized, rich and powerful majority in Windows. But we've also noticed that "#2 tries harder". Apple, the #2 OS in broad terms, has produced high quality innovations (that are often validated by #1, Microsoft, copying them). So we've got to see "#3 try hardest". Fortunately, the open source of Linux and many of its apps, including email, is an advantage. Because anyone who wants to can try as hard as they want, and everyone benefits. Collectively, Linux can produce the greatest effort, the most tries at success, of all the competitors. Which can overcome all those advantages of #1: majority, incumbency, central organization, wealth, media connections, sheer momentum. With time, and a little luck, we can get the benefit of the superior effort. It helps when we help.

ohh,simpletons tech users of the world (~85%) (1)

sketchkid (555690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159716)

webmail replacing client side readers for all but power readers
? I'm not sure how easily this medicine can be taken. For my mother and aunts, I set them each up with outlook, and they're forever (well, for the time being) grateful to me. The only complaint they've had (possibly the only problem they've had with webmail) is when they go to send an email and for whatever reason (ISP, or simple timeout) their message isn't sent. They complain because they've lost the message; they can't simply hit back and have the text of their message there. Unfortunately, being non-'power readers', they write really, really long emails. [I'm not sure I've ever written an email longer than 6 sentences.] I'm not aware if the occurrence of this problem - timeouts, for example - is something that webmail can fix. I believe this directly relates to the features/programs - importance/care - divide-between-users-and-developers-problem with linux adoption. PS - before setting them up with outlook, i had to get them to ctrl-a, ctrl-c, ctrl-v into something else before hitting send, so they would have a copy of their words. this - of course - was something they hated having to do. And why not? with technological advancement age we live in, such simpleton-like, onerous ex-ante troubleshooting shouldn't have to occur.

Linux Hindrance... (1)

th3space (531154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14159717)

I enjoy linux, I really do. It's powerful, it does what you want it to do, and you can customize the hell out of it...and if you're not skilled enough to do it yourself, chances are that someone else has already had the same idea as you, meaning that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. For me, however, this was not always the case.

I first began to interact with *nix environments in ernest while working for a now absorbed (by Earthlink) isp/hosting provider. There were growing pains, and when there was a problem, if someone wasn't around to help me out, and I couldn't find what I needed on the net (or man pages), I was left standing there, trousers around my ankles, and all of my bits flying in the wind. I'm resourceful and diligent, so I got past all of the problems (mostly because I was getting paid to handle things on my own, and I liked the pay checks). But, then, I am not most end users. End users like email, sure. They like the internet, too. You can get all the clients in the world on a linux platform, but in the end, the problem for most EUs is not the initial lack of a program (though one could argue that even Windows users do not like installing new programs), but the lack of an intuitive interface and structure (due to their having been exposed to years and years of readily available brainwashing).

Case in point, I once asked my mom to try her hand at installing SuSe (years back) on a machine that I had been able to get it going on with relatively little trouble...about two hours later, she comes to me and says she had no idea what to do, and that the manual was somewhat helpful, but often times a bit heady for a lay person. Long story short, she never got it installed. My mom, while not a stupid or ignorant person by any means, is about what one can expect from those who would be targeted by linux on the desktop, and until it becomes easier for them to install, use and maintain, the notion is going to remain stuck in neutral with very little forward progression in terms of percentage in use. I know that there are many available distributions that are 'ready to roll' for those less experienced, but therein lies another problem...the sheer amount of distributions that are out there. How is someone who has no real knowledge to know which will work best for them, or if it will be easy to use and work on?

You and me and a ton of other folks out there, the washed and initiated, have very few pains in using the *nix platforms, but we're not the demographic that could make the biggest impact in causing certain mega-entities to rethink how they do business and treat their users. I hate to say it, but sometimes, I think that OSS in general is just too haughty and high-brow for it's own good.

Mozilla Thunderbird... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14159722)

is available on all platforms.
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