MsExchange

EMail and GroupWare server from Microsoft. Key features are:

  • email (SMTP, POP, IMAP including group folders)

  • Group Calendaring (seeing availability time for invitees to a meeting)

  • It's Active Directory use means that there's a single place to maintain user accounts (and group memberships), which can be used in email, network login (File Sharing), Intranet IIS authentication, WebDAV, FTP, etc.

  • Public Folders: lite GUI development environment (e.g. custom fields and forms for a Contact database to make it usable as a sales-prospect tracking system) and other semi-CollaborationWare potential. Rarely used by people.

The combination of MsExchange and MsOutlook is a strong case of Lock-In.

This is a bug up my ass. Even though I keep thinking "it's going to be impossible to break that lock-in", it keeps coming back into my mind. Why is this?

  • I generally hate monopolies/monocultures.

  • I'm annoyed at client security problems (e.g. MsOutlook viruses)

  • I'm annoyed that features like Group Calendaring are proprietary.

  • The server is fragile. The security problems mean a regular need to install patches, but those patches sometimes crash the server. Everything must be kept in a single Data Store file, so any corruption (which is also overly frequent) affects all your data.

Pick an Open Source IMAP server. Almost any EMail client supports IMAP, with varying degrees of success.

Pick a back-end for a unified authentication Data Store - probably either LDAP or SQL, maybe BerkeleyDB. Make sure any new server you need to add supports the choice you make.

Here are my off-the-cuff strategic recommendations:

Ah, found the Exchange Server Replacement how-to, which isn't bad. (focuses on EMail/LDAP - no Group Calendaring)


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