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University Migrating Students to Windows Live Mail?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the does-this-sound-like-a-good-idea dept.

Education 450

An anonymous reader wonders: "My University has begun a migration of student email services to Windows Live Mail. All students will be forced onto the system by the end of the semester, but it doesn't support POP or IMAP. Because of that limitation, the only freely available mail client it supports is Windows Live Desktop, which is only available on Windows and I'm worried its ads might be vulnerable to malware just like the ones in Live Messenger. I depend on my mail client and I am concerned about this, because we're not allowed to forward our mail but are responsible for information received there from the University and classes, I'm not on a Windows machine, and I don't have the time to regularly check for web-mail, during the day." What are the pros and cons of such a move for a mid-sized or large college? If you were in charge of the communications of a such a university, would you outsource [please note the vendor neutrality, here] your e-mail?

Has anyone else's tech department migrated to Windows Live Mail? Why did they make that decision, and how did it work out for the students? For those of us who have already switched our accounts with no way to revert, what ways exist to get around the lack of POP and still use a client? Is there any hope we can get the University to change back or Microsoft to implement POP before the semester's end? How does your University manage their email?"

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Contact them (4, Insightful)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220882)

The program is still in beta (why the university is going with a beta product I have no idea).
Use this form to contact them and tell them what you want (pop, imap support, or whatever). beta&locale=en-us []

Re:Contact them (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221202)

Microsoft is fully aware that any modern email server should support POP and IMAP. But you have to be ignorant of Microsoft's business practices to not see what the facts show -- the program (meant in a general sense) here makes it so one's email is held captive in a Microsoft-only format. Not just your data is captive -- in order to view your data you also have to use a computer running Windows. This is also known as, why the fuck did the United States not complete its prosecution of Microsoft and prevent these illegal business practices. Notice the last: you cannot forward your email. You cannot forward your email. Microsoft does the exact same thing on their Exchange email server -- no email forwarding allowed. But then, you have to know that Microsoft makes its money by charging a tiered price for the amount of data in each account. You won't end up with a lot of data in your account if you forward your email. So, guess what, with Microsoft you do not get to.

You also won't end up locked in.

The correct answer to the student's questions is to go to a different school. Its institution's staff IT people are obviously incompetent or getting kickbacks if they are going with this "solution" that, like Windows Vista (makes XP look like a dream), gets in your way. Microsoft's products are become a severe hinderance to productivity.

Re:Contact them (4, Informative)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221334)

Exchange can forward email just fine. The Out-of-the-Box config allows this. Outside the organization.

You can also define externals contacts. You can install connectors to view Calendars from Notes Organizations, etc. pp.

Step spewing nonsense.

Get what you pay for -- free email hosting from MS (4, Informative)

green pizza (159161) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221422)

My former university moved all 20,000+ student email accounts to Windows Live Mail as well. The reason? Microsoft offered *free* email and web hosting. Everything from the hosting to the migration to advertising the "great new features" of Windows Live Mail across campus were done at Microsoft's expense. There were lots of complaints, but in the end our IT department was able to free up resources (both servers and employees) thanks to Microsoft's new found generosity. How long this will continue, and how long it will remain free, is yet to be seen. For now it seems to be well supported by MS ads and the whole MS Live marketing campaign.

Re:Contact them (1)

x_MeRLiN_x (935994) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221442)

Quite why he's worried about being served malware when in the very same sentence he said he doesn't use an OS capable of running the program in question is anybody's guess, but my main point is that the Slashdot story he links to states that the banner ads pointed to malware, not that Windows Live Messeneger permitted a third party install any unwanted software. Does anyone (technically aware) really click these types of advertisements? I sure don't.

yes and no (4, Insightful)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220884)

Outsourcing mail makes sense, but outsourcing to a service that doesn't support POP or IMAP doesn't.

Your university might want to consider outsourcing to Google Mail...

Does Google support IMAP yet? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221018)

My University [] is switching to Google. One of my concerns is that I really like my desktop clients (alpine and thunderbird) and prefer IMAP. While gmail is an excellent web-client, I don't really use my gmail account that much, because it doesn't offer IMAP & POP is both "flaky" and limiting.

Does google's hosted service offer IMAP? Or are there plans to in the near future?

Re:Does Google support IMAP yet? (0)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221250)

Does google's hosted service offer IMAP? Or are there plans to in the near future?
No and I doubt they will. Imap means you don't need to use the webinterface to delete email permanently. Then they wouldn't be able to get _any_ advertising revenue.

Re:Does Google support IMAP yet? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221338)

Seems like my POP access can delete the e-mail just fine.

Re:Does Google support IMAP yet? (3, Informative)

ibbey (27873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221440)

Gmail doesn't support IMAP, but they've supported POP for ages. You can happily use a gmail address & never set foot on their website after you set up your account.

What are the specific requirements? (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221072)

As with any project, you have to determine the specific requirements before you can even THINK of looking at vendors.

#1. Must support pop3 - will test using clients X, Y & Z.

#2. Must support imap - will test using clients X, Y & Z.

#3. Must support 1 & 2 with encryption - will test using clients X, Y & Z.


It is the requirements that make or break projects. Determine the requirements and how you'll be testing to see if those requirements will be met and THEN you can start looking at which vendors can meet those requirements (and testing to see that they actually DO meet them).

Sounds complicated (5, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221366)

Isn't it easier just to have university policy say "This university best viewed using Internet Explorer"? It could also say "c'mon, everyone uses windows, what are you a communist?"

Re:yes and no (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221170)

Does GotMail [] still work? If so, use that. Just make sure to cron it so it runs in the background and you're not having to constantly wait for the process to complete.

Re:yes and no (4, Insightful)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221370)

Utilize the school's student newspaper. Write a letter to the editor, if not a guest editorial. Most editors are cool and will let you write the editorial, as long as you keep it constructive and cite specific examples and sources while keeping it professional and logical. Another option is flyering the campus, but that's a little more difficult at a university of 20,000+ than a college of ~1,500.

Re:yes and no (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221372)

You're forgetting about something, though. Microsoft give huge discounts and tons of free stuff to colleges, therefore the colleges have raging boners for Microsoft.

For example, before I finished my AS degree in programming last year, half of my classes had the word "Microsoft" in the title. When I had office classes, it was exclusively Microsoft Office. When I had C and C++ classes, it was required to use Visual Studio .NET (the solution file was required). I had to have Visual Basic and C#. The database design classes required Microsoft SQL Server. The web classes required the use of Microsoft Frontpage (I got points taken off an assignment for doing it by hand, even though it validated 100% as XHTML 1.0 strict and 100% CSS2 and rendered exactly as it was supposed to). The website we had to upload the homework to only worked with IE6. The only class I had that wasn't Microsoft-centric was Java, but they made sure to make it seem bad by comparison. Notepad was the only editor we were allowed to use in class, had to use the command line (I love the UNIX command line, but can barely tolerate the DOS/NT command line), only wrote command line programs, etc.

As a student, I got free licenses for Office 2003, XP Professional, Visual Studio .NET 2005, SQL Server, Frontpage, Project, Visio, and others. This ensures that students are only exposed to and only know Microsoft products.

Microsoft is probably offering the use of Windows Live Mail for free (or very cheap) so that students will think that Microsoft == Email.

Free vs Not-Free, webmail vs who-knows-what client (1, Flamebait)

green pizza (159161) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221438)

In many (most? all?) cases, Microsoft is providing university student Windows Live Mail hosing *For Free*. Outsourcing email to Microsoft is a no-brainer to the bean counters and overworked IT departments. Let MS take over the email hosting to free up university resources. Also, having no POP or IMAP support greatly reduces the number of tech support calls to the campus IT helpdesk. "Install IE7, go to the webmail site" vs "here's how to configure eudora/outlook/ for your specific OS version".

If you are worried about adverts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220886)

then block them []

Uh, complain? (4, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220892)

Don't waste your time asking about it on Slashdot. You should be writing to the president of your University and make him aware of your concerns. If they don't change, transfer to another college.

Re:Uh, complain? (4, Insightful)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221004)

Uhhh. Why should he bother changing university (and job) over IT email policy? Even if he doesn't like the email service, doesn't run Windows, and won't ever use it - why does that warrant transfer to a new school? Perhaps there are other compelling reasons why he might want to stay. For example, he has a girlfriend there; he has a good relationship with a certain professor who is willing to help his career path; he might lose transfer credits in the process; etc etc etc.

Your suggestion seems a tad excessive, IMO.

Re:Uh, complain? (3, Insightful)

modecx (130548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221298)

Uhhh. Why should he bother changing university (and job) over IT email policy? Even if he doesn't like the email service, doesn't run Windows, and won't ever use it - why does that warrant transfer to a new school?

I would probably think about it if I were in this position, and weren't especially attached to that school, and here's why: an action as poorly thought out as this one is surely not the only silly thing the school has done or will do in the near future. In other words, stupidity is almost positively endemic to the culture of the university, and only it's going to get worse before it gets better... The only way it's going to get better is if customers (students) vote with their money.

Plus, I just wouldn't want my professional reputation to be tied to a university with a habit of making idiotic moves like this, most especially if I were attending for some technology related degree.

Re:Uh, complain? (2, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221364)

In other words, stupidity is almost positively endemic to the culture of the university...
Stupidity is positively endemic to the culture of any university.

Re:Uh, complain? (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221490)

Stupidity is positively endemic to the culture of any university.

Well sure, so it is to everything, or at least it seems that way sometimes. I can say that my university experience was mostly devoid of stupidity. How far from the norm my experiences were, I cannot say.

Re:Uh, complain? (0, Troll)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221034)

Hey, leave the computer and go take your pills.

Re:Uh, complain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221060)

I think he's asking slashdot how to best phrase his concerns to the president of his university.

Re:Uh, complain? (5, Insightful)

gnud (934243) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221124)

Guys, why is every Ask Slashdot item answered with "dont waste your time on slashdot, instead go bug $some_seemingly_appropriate_person". If that is you attitude, just dont read any "Ask Slashdot" threads. Perhaps he just wants ammunition for his blazing letter to the university board =)

Which university? (2, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220898)

Which university?

Re:Which university? (1)

Phantom Gremlin (161961) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220958)

Which university?

That's the first question. Is it a state secret? Is he in fear for his life?

In a situation like this I don't think the story should even appear on Slashdot if the school is unnamed.

Re:Which university? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221154)

University of Idaho. []

Re:Which university? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221242)

Just to clarify a bit. We are forced to use a provided University of Idaho Address...which means we are fully stuck with Windows Live now. More about the situation here: []

Re:Which university? (3, Informative)

ill_conditioned (529750) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221198)

He is talking about the University of Idaho most likely. They are currently migrating students to live, and this same discussion just came up in our LUG discussion group just the other day. Students who oppose the change have been quick to blame the university ITS department, when really this is a product of their student government (ASUI) and the state's yearly budget cuts to the University.

Re:Which university? (2, Informative)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221380)

Students who oppose the change have been quick to blame the university ITS department, when really this is a product of their student government (ASUI) and the state's yearly budget cuts to the University.
Well, it certainly is the fault of the IT department that students aren't allowed to either forward their e-mail, or specify an address of their choice for official university communication. Neither one of those cost anything, and would solve these problems.

POP access (5, Informative)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220900)

A quick google brought this [] up on the first page of results.

Re:POP access (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221050)

Yeah, this was fixed a few months after the service went alive. Move along, nothing to see here.

Ludicrous, idiotic, stupid, corrupt (3, Insightful)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220912)

Well, those are my immediate thoughts.

When word gets out what University is comtemplating
this, well, I would not want to be associated with
the decision.

Here's a suggestion (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220922)

I know people are going to think I'm flaming...


- Shut up.
- Don't worry about your email.
- Focus on your education.
- Don't make webmail out to be more complicated than it is, all you gotta do is click on a bookmark and type your password into a box.
- The Windows Live Mail team put extensive effort into making this a product that got past the "Optimized for IE" barrier that past MS shit tended to do.

Just stop worrying about something so trivial, let the Uni IT department do their job, and focus on getting yourself through college and into the real world where you can make a difference on shit such as this later on.

Re:Here's a suggestion (1)

RockyPersaud (937868) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221014)

I agree, because technology should be our masters.

Re:Here's a suggestion (1)

cyberjunkie98 (658610) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221152)

I don't find it flaming although you didn't mince words. I like that. I've been called caustic several times for telling things as they are.

Communications via e-mail has always been a pet peeve of mine. I read once (it was either Dennis Ritchie or Ken Thompson) checked their email twice a day and set aside that time to do all of their e-mail correspndence. People seem to think that e-mail is like IM (and I won't even go off on that rant) and expect an instant response. If someone needs to contact me and would like an immediate reply, there's this thing called a phone. If you are close by, knock on my door. Too much time is wasted by having you mail client up, notifying of an e-mail and distracting you from whatever it was that you were doing. Don't get me wrong, e-mail is a great tool, can be a great time saver and definitely can CYA. It's just a matter of setting peoples expectations.

Re:Here's a suggestion (1)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221192)

I'm officially feeding a troll here, but in response, if the IT department were doing their job, he wouldn't have anything to worry about, because they'd be making more sensible decisions than this. They aren't, hence his complaint. There's also no sense waiting, since he can make a difference on "shit such as this" right now, rather than later.

Re:Here's a suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221214)

actually, depending one's situation, it can be a tremendous deal. let's see.

many schools have various filtering software installed that are harsher on hotmail, yahoo, etc. accounts while favoring the edu accounts. it got so bad, one of my professors won't use his .edu account because it was filtering so much of his students' emails.

a lot of us need the edu accounts for professional reasons. as a 1L at law school, having the edu address makes a lot more sense to me than my gmail account. regardless of its merit, there is some value to the name of your institution. would you rather be or

yes, you can forward the address to a POP account, but then when you're sending then you have to do double work...

Re:Here's a suggestion (1)

d^2b (34992) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221264)

Hmm, well I agree that one shouldn't transfer Universities based on this as some other poster suggested.

On the other hand "let the Uni IT department do their job" is a two edged sword. I don't think University IT services are
anywhere near infallible, and they certainly can use (constructive) critisism. One thing that has astonished me is the degree to
which the fraction of the University budget consumed by the IT (or computing services, or whatever) seems to stay constant or increase while the actual services provided seem to go down. No doubt people on the inside have a different perspective, but
especially from a more DIY department like CS, it looks to us like they owe us a slice of their budget. Of course the politics are
complicated, but as far as I understand it, computing services does not want to take running the networks and labs that we do. Becaus e then it would cost them something, and we have no budget to give them.

So what does this have to do with the topic at hand?

Well, on our campus, email and public access labs are the only visible services provided by computing services (yes, I know they
run the network, but it is not clear everybody understands how expensive that is). So I think it would be bad politics for them
to eliminate (outsource) email.

No POP service? (3, Interesting)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220928)

One could write a shell script to negotiate the HTTP transactions with wget and pipe the resulting pages through a series of filters to strip away the page cruft (ads, navbars, menus, etc.) and the HTML tags and leave only the message text which could be inserted into standard system /var/mail files. After the shell script was sufficiently defined one could use the source code of wget, the source code of HTML libs, the source code of a mail daemon, and a little innovative C glue and write a formal local Windows Live Mail retrieval tool. Once the custom tool achieves any sort of popularity, though, then MS will begin to change the page formats subtly to confound the stripping filters. Then it'll be another radar race.

Why can't they just offer POP service to those who want it?

Re:No POP service? (5, Insightful)

wile_e8 (958263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221128)

Why can't they just offer POP service to those who want it?

Because then you could use non-Microsoft products to access your mail.

My experience as a student and campus IT admin. (5, Insightful)

jerbenn (903795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220934)

I work at a mid-size university and we outsource student email services to a state run provider. From my experience as both an IT admin and a student, I find that most student's don't use their campus provided email anyway......rather resorting to using their own personal accounts with hotmail, google, etc... The wise thing to do in my opinion is provide some sort of email service (outsourced is fine) for the small percent of students who actually use it, and allow student's to submit their own email addresses to the campus database.......which would then get loaded into the 'official' campus address book for use by faculty and other students.......

Re:My experience as a student and campus IT admin. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221038)

The disadvantage of having official registered student e-mail addresses among many different domains/providers is that you have really no assurance that each message will get to the right person. Yes, you can verify that an official campus message left whatever server it's hosted on, but you can't verify that someone at another provider ever actually had the message delivered to their account.

I don't understand the problem with having a universal campus-hosed e-mail service. They have servers accessible to the outside world, so why not throw in an e-mail server? If you make it simple (ie: SquirrelMail seems to be a popular campus e-mail hosting app, probably cause of it's cost and simplicity), I wouldn't think size would be an issue, as long as you set the proper quotas per e-mail/user.

Having e-mail server admin duties has shown me many times more issues, concerning mail from provider to provider, can arise than I ever knew. Heck, I've seen e-mail message >100k be thrown back and have our domain blacklisted from their servers because it was considered "spam with an attachment." IIRC, the message was a summary of a recent event we hosted and the attachment was a photo of the guest we had.

Re:My experience as a student and campus IT admin. (1)

jerbenn (903795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221284)

There isn't any long as you develop a good system for the student to submit their email address to the campus database. This can be done through the campus portal (if one exists), or through a learning management system such as Blackboard. It really doesn't matter as long as the student has an 'easy' way to submit/update their email address.

One would think that a student would want to use the campus email system......however because of a variety of reasons including the fact that today's incoming freshmen generally have had the same email account since they were a preteen (ie. their yahoo account) most want to stick with what they have.

Another very valid reason to not have a universal campus-hosted email service is because of the changing dynamics in Higher Education. Distance Education is growing at an astounding rate. More and more student's are enrolled at universities that they never actually set foot on. I am in my last semester of a graduate program and can honestly say that I have never set foot on the campus. Because I am not on the campus, I never login to the campus network, I have no idea what email system they use...and really don't care. I submitted my gmail account through the campus LMS when I started my graduate program and that is the way it is listed in the campus address book. If I need to find someone else's email address on campus, I simply look them up in the campus address this case via the LMS system.

Re:My experience as a student and campus IT admin. (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221276)

I work at a mid-size university and we outsource student email services to a state run provider. From my experience as both an IT admin and a student, I find that most student's don't use their campus provided email anyway......rather resorting to using their own personal accounts with hotmail, google, etc...

Students will rely on whichever email system is more useful to them. If you do not provide a superior level of client compatibility, accessibility, reliability, and usability, then students will resort to using their existing address. Your mention of a "state-run provider" is making me assume that it is distinctly worse than even the second-tier free email providers, given my experience with government IT.

University-provided email usage will vary greatly from school to school. Those schools that provide useful tie-ins with other school directories and services will see more student use. The 200+ year-old universities that offer email for life are more likely to exist in a few decades than a 10-year old startup. At some colleges, students may the prestige of their school's domain in their address.

In this age, there is not much point in a school going halfway with an email system...either offer something reasonably close to the state-of-the-art or outsource it to someone who does. If you do neither, it won't get used. Even mandating the use of the school email doesn't work. You end up with professors collecting their students' gmail/hotmail/etc addresses at the beginning of the semester and having a TA type all those addresses into a mailing list.

Re:My experience as a student and campus IT admin. (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221358)

This surprises me as well. My university let you forward your campus e-mail account to wherever you want because they were fully aware 90% of the students wouldn't even be using their POP server to access mail since they had home accounts or used Hotmail/Yahoo, etc. Why on Earth would any university go out of their way to ban people from forwarding their personal university correspondence to the e-mail address of their choice? If I relied on e-mail communications from professors I'd just notify them at the beginning of each semester that they need to use my personal e-mail account because the university's official e-mail system is not supported on my platform. I'm sure they would be happy to adjust their distribution list with a simple substitution of your e-mail address.

Re:My experience as a student and campus IT admin. (1)

Dredd13 (14750) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221480)

The wise thing to do in my opinion is provide some sort of email service (outsourced is fine) for the small percent of students who actually use it, and allow student's to submit their own email addresses to the campus database

Are you high? Seriously, what color is the sky in the world you live in?

As a campus system admin, I would completely say bollocks to that. You're opening yourself up to tons of "I never got that message, Professor Xavier," and crap like that.

You give them a campus e-mail address. It's the *official* address. Delivery to that mailbox for all official college correspondence is guaranteed. THEN, if you opt to forward it off-campus to gmail or wherever, that's your own business, and you're responsible for the failings of such at your own peril.

Please check out Thunderbird (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220938)

I have used Thunderbird against the hotmail client of Windows Live Mail. Thunderbird has a webmail addon, that supports hotmail and the Live Mail beta. I haven't tried it on non-Windows machines, but I see no reason it shouldn't work.

Good luck.

So basically they don't provide e-mail (1, Interesting)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220954)

Just open a gmail account, forward e-mail from Windows Live and use the free POP.

Re:So basically they don't provide e-mail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221010)


"we're not allowed to forward our mail"

You have my sympathy (2, Insightful)

dan dan the dna man (461768) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220960)

I work at a University where Exchange dominates proceedings, like many other institutions. Watching staff and students stampede away from it when they realise there is an IMAP alternative when they are told about it (fine yes Exchange supports IMAP but the Uni's implementation does not) is quite heartening.

If they tried this at my institution there would be riots quite frankly - does everyone in your CS department run Windows? Even in the Biology departments not everyone runs Windows! I certainly couldn't accept this kind of situation occurring for staff, so I wouldn't therefore accept it occurring for students. In a world where the concept of choice is so readily bandied about as being 'a good thing' this is a retrograde step, regardless of who the vendor is.

Of course many of the students and staff already forward their email en masse to Gmail and either store it/deal with it there..

Boo Hoo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18220986)

Why don't you cry about it? That was the whiniest "Ask Slashdot" ever. And as if concerns about malware are legit. Go back to masturbating to Linux in your dorm room and come out when you graduate.

Re:Boo Hoo (4, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221044)

Thanks for that enlightening perspective, Mr. Ballmer.


Sounds Dubious (5, Interesting)

moehoward (668736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220990)

I am skeptical of your question/issue. I strongly suggest that you post a link to your institution's new policy. Or, post the policy here yourself. Your description is so "worst-case-scenario", that I have too many doubts. University's are not completely stupid and you have framed this as a "dumb-big-institution" gripe. I mean, your question is framed so that there is no possible answer. It seems to be a setup for a bunch of anti-MS posts and "what's-a-poor-student-to-do" grandstanding.

Also, if what you say is true then you can always get a free (as in beer) bot that will provide any auto-forward capabilities that Windows Live may not (or may) provide.

Re:Sounds Dubious (4, Informative)

Saeculorum (547931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221388)

One such institution that has conducted such a change is the University of Idaho [] . The information is available here [] . The ITS department has further clarified that they aren't even going to support Windows Live Mail Desktop (which is also in beta).

Re:Sounds Dubious (1)

troicstar (1029086) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221500)

yah sounds dubious, because they have offered our (smallish english ~c15k) university the service for free. The current exchange admins didn't hear a thing about it, because m$ didn't even bother getting their input. How long will it be free, and free in what way ? And how long will it be before value added 'power-admin' tools, pluggins and upgrades will come along that aren't free ? How long will it be before you have no other choice but to stick with it because it isn't interoperable with other VLEs or student records systems ? It is bait, switch and entrench\subvert.

Looking at the track record; the current exchange admin tools are a disgrace, especially with respect to groups. The beacon of standards-based design that is outlook-web-access fills me with confidence for future incarnations (compared to yahoo beta, fastmail, roundcube, squirelmail, horde or gmail) for example, i can only dread what kinda activex admin abomination this service is going to depend on. And to top it all off; guess who is going to be dealing with abuse and legal issues, yes it will still be coming to us despite the fact that the accounts are outsourced, they'll still be from 'our' domain.

Microshafted is what we'll be. No matter of how glossy the marketing people present it at first, it is still going to hurt, depress and frustrate a lot.

I wish they would outsource! (2, Informative)

Attacked by Snakes (11522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220994)

I'm at a university in DC and they are also talking about outsourcing student's mail either to Yahoo or Google. They're starting the trials soon and there are a number of good reasons for it. Currently students are limited to 250 MB of mail which can be a problem when you're sending papers back and forth to your group paper. Also, they are currently using Lotus Notes webmail and it's horrible to use on the web, regularly failing and being generally backward in its use. Webmail clients like the new Yahoo client would be a fantastic improvement from what we have now.

Reason for the university to do it. I've talked with the folks running this and there are a bunch. 1) It's much cheaper to outsource your email than to run your own servers. 2) Re-purposing email servers to all those new services that you'd love to perhaps a library of recordings of lectures. 3) Long term relationships - While current student's email would be ad-free, the university could allow people to keep their school email accounts forever as long as they went ad-supported after graduation. That has a lot of benefits for the school community and may help them improve donations.

Personally I'm going to see if I can get in on the trial of this. I'd love to keep my email address from the university for a while, especially while I'm looking for a job after I graduate.

Outsource to Microsoft?!? (2, Insightful)

cazbar (582875) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220996)

If I were in a position of authority over a University network, would I outsource the email? Absolutely.

Would I outsource it to Microsoft? Not a chance in hell.

I'd find a company whose primary focus is email. That way I could expect some kind of service.

Re:Outsource to Microsoft?!? (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221174)

If I were in a position of authority over a University network, would I outsource the email? Absolutely.

Better idea: load up a small Linux box in a closet and drywall it: []

Re:Outsource to Microsoft?!? (1)

Thirdsin (1046626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221498)

I do agree that outsourcing email can be the most cost effective step.
That said, finding "a company whose primary focus is email" could be and would be problematic. How many companies today are large enough and reliable enough that only focus on email? And if you find one, what about 2, 3, and 4 years from now when the company begins to see opportunity in other markets... Unfortunately, the Holy Grail of email outsourcing does not exist (but hell, I could be wrong). I guess the trick is simply finding something reliable that works for your user base.

Virtual machine (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220998)

You don't have the time to check mail in a webbased client, but it's no problem to leave a standard client running?

I find that somewhat funny. I think the real problem is that you hate it that they force a way of working onto you, which as an added benefit runs on the Evil Empire's platform.

My solution would be to run a virtual machine at home using VMWare, Xen or something. At the Uni, there will be enough Windows boxes available.

Google Apps (1, Informative)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221032)

Google Apps for Education []

2GB of space. POP3. Spam filtering. Cost? $0.

I use a .forward file at my school just because the local mail is so unreliable (downtime, messages lost, etc.). Even *that* has been a liability when they have managed to crash their RAID array and not have a backup. That was when final projects were due, too. And they limit us to 250 megabytes total on the system. Oh how I yearn for the day they will here my humble petitions and switch to Google Apps.

Re:Google Apps (1)

RealSurreal (620564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221094)

"they will here my humble petitions"

I hope you're not on an English course.

Do they supply free Windows? (1)

rev_deaconballs (1071074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221036)

If this forces you to use windows they need to offer windows for every student free of charge. If this is not the case or if you cannot load windows on your machine, such as a powerbook, they need to supply a work around. You should ask your university's ACS if they do have a work around for those situations. You should also get involved with your student officials. They can get signatures to see how many students do not desire using a Microsoft mail client.

Re:Do they supply free Windows? (2, Informative)

praseodym (813457) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221080)

It doesn't force him to use Windows, there's webmail for that. But the only desktop email client (Live Mail Desktop) works only on Windows.

Tell the rest of the students not to use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221042)

Why aren't you allowed to forward??? How is that enforced?

I take some classes at a local CC once in a while. I was told that I *MUST* have a specific email account. Ya know, I never, EVER use it. I have checked it, and all that was in there was spam, both from the school and from outside sources.

Every instructor that I have had that required an email address, asked for one to be provided to them. No worries for me there.


Probably from a non techie, this isn't going to matter. For somebody that does not like Window's products, it is just going to make you rebel against them more. Like me, you will try to steer yourself from Windows in the future.

For the school? They do get some control of communication with their students, at least the students that comply with this rule. Who gains profit from this move? Not the students/school.

Too bad they just cannot provide an email address and let folks use whatever client they would like to access it.

Apple Laptop on Live Edu site (1)

praseodym (813457) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221046)

I love the Apple laptop (MacBook Pro/PowerBook) on the Windows Live Edu website!

Re:Apple Laptop on Live Edu site (1)

sokoban (142301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221118)

Yeah, and the demo which isn't a demo at all, but rather a shitty commercial.

Holes in his argument? (0)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221092)

First, keep whatever mail and address you already use and leave the uni one just for uni announcements. Check it once a week - no big deal.

Second,a cursory glance at the Windows Live website finds the Windows Live Mail Desk top Beta [] , which appears to be a standalone (Windows only of course) client that will download the Live mail messages. The claim that e-mail can only be accessed via web mail seems to be not correct.

Really, I can't think that this is a real problem for this guy. What with hotmail, yahoo mail, gmail etc he can pretty much have his main address and e-mail anywhere he likes. He could even pay for a regular ISP account and manage all of his mail any way that he chooses.

Re:Holes in his argument? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221248)

From the freaking summary, man:

Because of that limitation, the only freely available mail client it supports is Windows Live Desktop, which is only available on Windows and I'm worried its ads might be vulnerable to malware just like the ones in Live Messenger. I depend on my mail client and I am concerned about this, because we're not allowed to forward our mail but are responsible for information received there from the University and classes, I'm not on a Windows machine, and I don't have the time to regularly check for web-mail, during the day."
He notes the client, notes that it is Windows only.

Re:Holes in his argument? (1)

SteveAyre (209812) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221314)

I know most slashdotters don't read the articles, but did you even read the summary?

Because of that limitation, the only freely available mail client it supports is Windows Live Desktop...

He knows about the program, but doesn't use Windows so the program is useless to him and many others at his university, and he doesn't want to use webmail.

As for emails it might be. Uni announcements probably will be sent out a week or two in advance so he can check them fine on campus, but universities use email for more than that (at least my one does) such as lecturers letting students know stuff. Assessment clarifications, rescheduling tomorrows lecture, that sort of thing. Things you want to see straight away, not sometime next week. I might be biased though - I do a computer science course so my department are probably more likely to use it for that sort of thing than others.

State university; needs of professors (5, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221096)

If it is a state-run university you may be able to slow the process down by using public pressure or lobbying. Write your state lawmakers. Cite issues like "unfairly giving one company the upper hand at the expense of others" and "forcing students to view ads as a course requirement" etc. If you are lucky, you may find their actions violate state law, although I doubt that's the case.

Talk to professors. Some of them may be running projects which require that certain information never leave the school campus except over secure channels. Or they simply might not want to send certain information anywhere within 1000 miles of Redmond. Find out who they are and have them lobby to change the requirement.

Also find professors and students who are anti-monopoly and anti-forced-advertisements. There should be plenty of them in the School of Liberal Arts. Get them to lobby also.

Given that the decision has already been made, it's probably too late for you. I hope these suggestions help others whose schools are considering outsourcing functions to unrelated entities.

When it comes to educational IT outsourcing of just about anything other than consumer software, I recommend:
  • Have a contingency plan if the outsourcing arrangement doesn't work out or the outsourcing partner quits or folds
  • Buy a white-label solution, with the University's brand on it and no paid advertising unless each ad is university-approved, and no paid ads in IT environments students or employees are required to use. Instead of "GMail," it's "MyUMail."
  • In ad-free areas, only a discreet mention of who the vendor actually is
  • All university data is segregated from the vendor's other customer's data
  • All sensitive data is encrypted to/from the campus or to/from the campus-affiliated person's computer
  • Only certain vendor employees are allowed access to the data, and then only as needed to do their jobs
  • Take extra precautions with information related to identity, grades, payroll, class schedule, and other potentially sensitive information. If email and file-storage is outsourced, be aware that employees and students may put others' sensitive information on that space as part of their jobs or classwork. This data needs to be protected as it would be if the data and its backups were controlled by the University.

Because of security, outsourced email is short-ter (1)

scruffy (29773) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221278)

Current email is a security and privacy hole. All sorts of information goes though plain text email that is probably against university policy to make public. Having your email go through a third-party site makes creates an even bigger hole.

What crap. (1)

Trendy.Ideology (1058410) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221114)

I hate this type of BS. The individual(s) responsible should be shot in the face for making such ignorant decisions. I 3 me some gmail and I would have a seriously big beef with being forced to use some crappy client/site outside of gmail. I hope someone at this college writes a program to log in for you and forward everything to your account of choice.

Re:What crap. (1)

Trendy.Ideology (1058410) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221168)

Whoops. Yay HTML, forgot that < would get caught as html with I meant to <3 gmail.

Re:What crap. (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221488)

I think you should be shot in the face for using GMail. I use Yahoo.

See how much sense that makes?

Academic Freedom (1)

MrZaius (321037) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221120)

Look at it from a political perspective. Are there members of the computer science depts or other professors of other sciences & mathematics or graphical arts departments that hold professors that use, or even just would prefer to use, UNIX (Mac OSX, Solaris, etc) or Linux? See if you can get them to sign off an open letter. Bug your school paper. Bug the highest levels of your school's administration. It shouldn't be too hard to make an effective case against your school's IT department's attempt to force vendor lock-in on the campus on the grounds of academic freedom. Who knows? You might even get some people to listen.

How is this a problem? (1)

ChrisRed (948482) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221138)

OK, so there's no pop or imap (maybe there could be?) but I've just tried my Live Mail account on my server box here in Konqueror and it worked just fine.

In fact, I think I prefer it because it shows 'classic mode' which looks like old hotmail rather than the new one which I can't stand.

Yikes (1)

catdevnull (531283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221178)

What a bone-headed idea. I work for a University IT department and that kind of thinking is nuts even for an underfunded .EDU IT dept.

I betchya what happened is some CIO drank some Redmond Kool-Aid and made a deal with the devil. Sounds like everything on that campus is about to go to Exchange. My condolences.

From Experience... (1)

scythe000 (564836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221224)

Okay, just because I'm crazy and have no life, I've built a webstore for the company I work at [] with Windows Live mail as the mail server for the site. I've not had any problems so far...

Vendor-neutrality (5, Interesting)

frisket (149522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221234)

Any institution which forces users to buy one specific platform just in order to read mail has its head so far up its ass that it might just as well climb up in after it and disappear.

Even in my own institution, which is slavishly Microsoft-dominated, both student email and faculty/staff email are accessible from any platform. Not necessarily optimally -- OWA is probably the suckiest email interface ever devised -- but no-one is placed in the position of not being able to read college email just because they happen to use a Mac, or a Sun, or a Linux box.

It's an education/training problem: most Windows users are only very dimly aware that anything else exists: they may have heard of Apple Macs but probably not of Linux. They've certainly never seen or used anything except Windows, and are thus completely baffled and uncomprehending at the concept of someone who is not a Windows user.

When that species of ignorance exists at decision-making level, you will get people making unwise decisions because they are simply unaware that any problem exists. If they are already that badly brainwashed, then recommendations for alternative action from lower down the food chain will have no effect, because they lack the cognitive hooks on which further information can hang.

Outsourcing in a university environment (1)

rakslice (90330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221236)

There doesn't seem to be a lot of discussion about the specific context, so I'll just brainstorm out loud for a bit:

- Is the IT department that made the e-mail outsourcing call in charge of purchasing hardware and OS/software licenses for academic departments' general computing needs? If not, is there a plan to provide academic departments with fully functional access to the e-mail solution on whatever platforms they are using?

- What about ADA compliance? Do the proprietary client and the platform it runs on have sufficient features to make them as accessible as accessible standards-based clients that could have been used previously? Alternately, is the web mail component accessible? Does it provide all the features of the proprietary client?

baaaad move... (0, Flamebait)

TheCoop1984 (704458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221268)

The IT department should all be shot. Simple as that

This is a horrible idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221280)

This is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard of, and not because it involves Microsoft. IMAP is nice, but not necessary. POP is necessary, and the fact that it is not being provided is outrageous. This is a dumb idea and whoever came up with it is, by association, dumb. On the flip side, how fucking hard is it to take 5 minutes out of your day and go to one of the labs at your school to check your mail? I don't care who you are, nobody is too busy that they can't find a couple minutes to do this. Maybe you need to cut down on your masturbation sessions.

Low crisis threshold or liar? (0, Flamebait)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221294)

Windows Live Mail = Hotmail. Get it in your browser. Assuming this isn't a made-up story it seems to me the U in question would have to be some really backwards institution, like a Fundie "Christian" school or something...

Transfer to another school... (1)

olliec420 (1023207) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221304)

Microsoft (especially their free services) suck ass. If they want to outsource they should be going with AppRiver's hosted exchange. They are the only hosted exchange service with unlimited mailbox storage. If anyone claims unlimited mail store they are reselling appriver's service. They also have the #1 spam filtering service included. [] take a look...

absolutely insane... (1)

TheCoop1984 (704458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221336)

I'm in a university that runs its own mail server [] , and the entirety of university life is organised through it. If the uni email went down, even for a couple of days, the university would, quite literally, descend into chaos. If they outsourced the email to anyone there would be a university-wide riot, simply because it will be out of the control of the (extremely competant) IT department.

The whole IT dept at this uni who chose windows live mail (why, for god's sake? WHY???) should be boiled. Very, very, slowly. Then shot, dissected and paraded around the grounds as an example. Then really hurt

The idiots

Uni = large percentage of Mac users (1)

reidconti (219106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221344)

Not too familiar with the Live Mail service mentioned here, but if it truly is Windows-only that would be really confusing. I suspect easily 15-20% of my university students used Macs. It makes sense, if you realize that Apple has relatively higher marketshare in laptops, and most students use laptops.

Of the 10 or so people I'm close friends with that bought new computers while in school (graduated 06), every single one of them bought Macs. About 50% were former Mac users, and 50% switched from Dell or HP type systems. Nobody was buying Windows.

Not sure if this is just my friends, or my (West-coast) school, or if these students are representative of what will be happening on a wider scale in the future...

Issue is not about in/out sourcing or vendor lock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221368)

Its the advertising. If the insitution you have entrusted to develop your critical reasoning skills, uses your enrollment as something to sell to advertisers (or at least to swap for email services), you have a major problem.

Regardless of faculty, one of the biggest roles of a univeristy is to develop independent thought. (Professional training and accreditation is an important, but secondary matter). Advertising corrupts that independence to its core by providing a dollar value on who gets to 'speak' to the students.

The issue has strong parralels with course 'sponsorship'. How would we feel about 'sponsoring' software development classes?

Address your concern to the right place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221384)

First, check with your associated student body and see if they were involved in the decision. If they were and they agreed with the switch, then you should be addressing your thoughts to them rather than the IT department. If it's like most IT departments, they probably laid out the costs of the various options to the stakeholders (i.e. administration, associated student body) and they made the decision to switch. Also, I have seen people mix up the beta status of Windows Live - Windows Live Mail is not beta, but Windows Live Desktop is.

Re:Address your concern to the right place (1)

Tyrven (976346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221444)

That's incorrect. If you go to (at least via FF on a Mac) you'll get forwarded to hotmail. Once you sign in to (or, in my case, create) your Hotmail account you'll be given the option to try Windows Live Mail beta. Once you confirm, you'll be brought to a address with a banner graphic that reads "Windows Live Mail Beta".

CONTROL is a big issue (1)

MilesNaismith (951682) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221394)

CONTROL over the mailboxes is a very real issue for any large operation. By that, I mean all the business that gets transacted over email, that the organization needs to protect from inappropriate eyes, and make available to appropriate ones. With an on-campus system, if an employee walks off the job, and the organization needs access to their mailbox there are procedures for that which respect privacy while making sure what of it that is business-related is retained. Similarly if a student claims "I sent my homework, the email system must have eaten it!" the prof can call us up, we check the logs, and say whether the student is lying or not. You can probably think of other scenarios but I think you get the idea. University higher-ups probably won't like the idea, that when things all go wrong, they can't just pick up the phone and have a flunky immediately fix it. That sort of service just doesn't happen with GMail or MS mega-corporations, you wait in their live-chat or phone-queue like everyone else.

No forwarding is allowed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18221414)

I know what university this is commenting about. There is no forwarding allowed due to school policy. see [] .

They're doing the same at my college (1)

TwoOranges (994399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221426)

At my college they are doing the same (and this is in Belgium, not in the US). Up until recently we could provide our own email address for communication via the Blackboard platform. But for some reason they are now forcing everyone to use a Windows Live account. If I'm not mistaken they'll start using this at the start or the end of this month (I'm not sure, 'cause I lost my letter with all information on my new address and password...)

It's the University of Idaho (1)

Angry Rooster (972166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221454)

I'm a student at the University of Idaho, and we just got this notice a few days ago.

Signup by April 15th to be entered into a drawing for one of these prizes:

Microsoft X-Box 360 (one available)
Microsoft Zune MP3 Player (one of two)
Office 2007 Standard Edition (one of four)

Sweet, I could win a copy of Office 2007!

The University of Idaho has partnered with Microsoft to provide enhanced e-mail services for students through the Microsoft Live Mail program. This new VandalMail system provides 2 gigabytes of e-mail storage, full calendaring service, task management, note management, scheduled e-mail reminders and enhanced addressbook control.

How do I setup my new VandalMail account?
Login to the website [] with your existing account username and password.
Click on the 'Activate VandalMail Live' menu item.
Follow the instructions to setup your new account.
You will need to migrate your account prior to May 15th to select a personalized e-mail address.

Will anyone be available to assist me with this migration?
Yes, please stop by the ITS Help Desk in Administration room 133 or the Sub and Library computer labs and talk with a Technical Service Representative, they are ready to assist you. You can also reach us by phone at 208-885-HELP (4357).

Will I have a new e-mail address? What happens to my old e-mail address?
You will have a new e-mail address which you can personalize. Your existing address will be setup to automatically forward e-mail to until 2008.

Where can I read more about this new service and how to migrate?
Please visit the web page [] .

Oh, and even though this e-mail would seem to indicate optional participation, the support page clears that up:

Will I be required to use VandalMail Live?
All students are required to move to the new system. This transfer process is mandatory, but if you have problems, ITS will be here to assist you. Please remember that you must create an account by May 15th or your existing account will be upgraded.

What really upsets me is that Gmail finally allows outside POP retrieval, so I finally thought I'd be free of their stupid web interface.(Honestly, when you look at a message, pressing the back button logs you out) Now I find out we're being "upgraded" to a Microsoft web system which apparently will have problems loading on low end computers.

What can I do if my computer has difficulty loading Windows Live E-mail?
There is a light (classic) version available. This can be changed by logging into VandalMail Live and accessing the options page. By switching to the light (classic) version, users can turn off some of the features of Live, but still retains all essential e-mail functions. You can also install Windows Live Mail Desktop on your computer. Note: If the light (classic) version is being used, neither the color themes nor the different reading panes will be available.

Ugh. At least I know the faculty is just as inconvenienced as we are. None of my professors are going to enjoy the lack of POP3.

- Angry Rooster

I see 2 problems (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221470)

1 - relying on a *beta* product ( what, are they nuts? )
2 - relying on a proprietary product ( schools should teach choice, and encourage experimentation. This is counter productive )

Arizona State University (1)

dorath (939402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221486)

Arizona State University is moving around 65,000 students [] to Google Apps for Education [] .

2GB of mail storage, chat, calendar, colaboration, and not locked into Windows.

Webmail for Thunderbird (1)

3choTh1s (972379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18221502)

Seriously... [] Webmail for Thunderbird is the way to go. I have a Live Mail account plus Yahoo Mail and Gmail. Having access to all my accounts from one place with all the abilities of a full desktop client is fantastic. I use it on OS X machine as well as my XP and Mandriva machines and they all work exactly alike so I know what I'm getting to when I move to a different machine. And with the other extensions available it really is my perfect client. ~3cho
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