[svlug] Exchange server for Linux?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Dec 23 20:25:26 PST 2004

Quoting Karsten Self (kmself at ix.netcom.com):

> Samsung Contact:
>     http://www.samsungcontact.com/en/product/
>     A perfect match made in email heaven. Users love Outlook, and
>     Samsung Contact provides the best email server for all of Outlook's
>     great messaging and collaboration functions. This includes
>     calendaring, scheduling, resources, public folders, delegation, and
>     offline folders. 

Once again:  Fully detailed in:

"Groupware" on http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Apps/
"Scheduling" on http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Apps/

> Haven't used it, though I've followed it for a few years.  This was
> originally an HP product (OpenMail, if memory serves).

Also OEMed by HP to _Scalix_.  See aforementioned.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, whether Craig would find
that a suitable solution depends on what level of functionality (and
degree of MS-Exchange emulation) his company's staff have made part of
the project requirements.

Craig has only briefly described the project requirements.  He said:
shared scheduling for MS-Outlook users.[1]

Often the techie delegated to find solutions finds out, retroactively,
that the requirements have been expanded on the fly by management:  "Oh,
did we forget to mention that we need to be able to assign tasks from
Outlook and have shared discussion folders?  We saw that over at
FooCorp, and it looks cool."

Samsung Contact / Scalix requires that each Outlook user install a
plugin:  The type of plugin in question is dubbed a "MAPI service
provider", i.e., implying that Outlook will be polling periodically in
"workgroup mode".  Again, sometimes techies put such a solution on the
table and executive staff replies "Workgroup mode?  Periodic polling?
We saw instant updates over at FooCorp, and we want that, too, because
it looks cool.  Did we forget to mention that?"

A higher level of functionality -- real-time updating -- is possible
when the plug-in is what's called a "MAPI _storage_ provider", e.g.,
Skyrix's proprietary ZideLook plug-in for Outlook, or the Novell /
Ximian Connector (recently open-sourced, I think -- but that's for
Ximian Evolution, not Outlook).

I guess one of the more-important things I'm trying to say is:  Craig
would be well advised to make very sure there's a settled requirements
list, preferably that he has in writing.  Otherwise, there's some risk
of "It's just what we asked for, but not what we want."

[1] If you take that description _literally_, then any server-end piece
that adequately implements iCAL and the other IETF scheduling protocols
would suffice.  Unfortunately, such things are thin on the ground.  See
aforementioned Web piece for full details, which will make clear why the
Sun package remains a standout for people with requirements set.

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