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SUSE Takes on Exchange 2003

SUSE Takes on Exchange 2003

SUSE is upping the ante in competing with you-know-who and says that on November 17, a Monday, it will upgrade its all-in-one groupware- collaboration-and-messaging widgetry to Openexchange Server 4.1.

SUSE held back its announcement until after Microsoft formally launched both Outlook 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 on Tuesday as part of the new Office System 2003.

SUSE CTO Juergen Geck calls 4.1 a "watershed moment" in the annals of Linux, which seems more than a bit hyperbolic considering we're talking about a dot release here and it's unclear how much of a following it has at this level. Anyway, this stuff apparently integrates much better than its predecessors with you-know-who's Outlook and, according to SUSE, 70% of the folks who migrate from Exchange to Openexchange keep the Outlook client. So it's a big deal for SUSE.

Apparently Outlook users can now access calendar and contact data as well as tasks and documents stored in Openexchange Server in real- time. So Openexchange can alert Outlook users to appointment conflicts in real-time.

The SUSE software owes its new speed to a gussied-up Web-based Distributed Authoring and Version (WebDAV) interface, which also enables the exchange of data sets from project management, ERP and CRM apps with Openexchange automatically integrating key project deadlines and tasks into appointment and task management tools and removing the need to maintain multiple calendars.

The new Public Folders functionality in Openexchange team-manages appointments, contacts and tasks and any changes made are immediately available to the team. The software can also display daily calendars of multiple team members and resources next to each other to identify overlapping appointments.

The stuff can be used for virtual conferences with a shared virtual whiteboard. There's a shared text editor. Fax functionality comes from Ferrari Office Master.

Thanks to the interface, access can be done with any common platform including Windows, Linux, Unix, MacOS and PalmOS.

SUSE says the thing costs a fraction of proprietary ware. With five CDs, documentation, a year's maintenance and installation support under the SUSE Maintenance Program it'll run $1,240. The price includes a base license for 10 groupware clients and an unlimited number of e-mail clients.

Microsoft got the Meta Group to say that upgrading from the ageing Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003 could represent an operational cost saving of $240,000 to $600,000 a year derived largely from consolidating servers. Microsoft's new e-mail server is reportedly already being deployed with 200 early adopters.

Meanwhile, Novell in the form of its Ximian acquisition said that the add-on Ximian Connector for Microsoft Exchange 1.4.5 would let users of Ximian's Evolution e-mail and groupware suite on Linux or Solaris desktops function as full Microsoft Exchange 2000/2003 clients.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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