Steven Vaughan-Nichols just wrote an absolutely excellent article about whether open source can replace Exchange or not. It’s highly suggested. Anyway, the article touches on several products, including Scalix and Zimbra, which reminded me of my own blog about open source and Exchange. Also suggested reading, albeit a much shorter read.
Steven brings up several good points, which I’ll highlight here:
1. MAPI is actually now an open protocol due to EU forcing Microsoft to divulge information on CIFS and MAPI.
2. A research analyst considers many Exchange alternatives, including Scalix and Zimbra, to be “mere ‘noise’ in the business e-mail market”, at least in the US.
3. In other parts of the world, including in Europe, open source and Exchange alternatives have around 10%, which is considerably more than noise.
4. Thunderbird is neglected.
This last part got me thinking. I am a Thunderbird user and have noticed the slow release times, but I haven’t really thought about it. Now that Steven mentions the lag, I think he’s right. Thunderbird releases are very slow. Oddly so.
Is this impacting overall adoption of open source products? Maybe so. I’ve been an Outlook user in the past, and while I use Thunderbird (for now), I do miss some of the integrated groupware features of Outlook.
I do keep meaning to take another look at Zimbra. It’s an excellent package, and once I have some free time I’ll take it for another spin.