Email 'crucial' to desktop Linux's future

Email 'crucial' to desktop Linux's future

Summary: Research from the Open Source Development Labs has found that the take-up of open source on the desktop could falter unless email applications improve

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Email functionality will be the most significant factor governing the take-up of Linux on the desktop according to a study published this week.

The Desktop Linux Client Survey 2005, organised by the Open Source Development Labs, found that the lack of a powerful email application could hinder the adoption of Linux on the desktop.

A lack of application support is also holding back Linux, according to the survey of over 3,300 users. This was cited as the most serious hurdle facing Linux on the desktop.

The survey was conducted by the OSDL Desktop Linux Working Group in October 2005. It found that without quality email applications, Linux on the desktop was not a feasible alternative for most users as email was rated the most important application regardless of platform.

The survey results sent out a clear message to application vendors to focus on developing a quality email application for the Linux desktop.

At present, Novell's Evolution, a groupware client for Linux, provides email, calendaring, tasks and contact management functionality and can connect to Microsoft Exchange, but there are few alternatives.

Mozilla developers are already addressing this issue. The Mozilla Foundation recently published an initial roadmap for 'Lightning', the project to integrate its calendar application Sunbird with its email application Thunderbird. Sunbird has been available as a separate extension for Firefox and Thunderbird for a while, but there's been little integration between calendar and email functionality.

The Desktop Linux Client Survey was carried out to find the key issues driving Linux on the desktop as well as the barriers to adoption.

Peripheral support and end-user training were the other most popular reasons cited for not deploying Linux on the desktop. Some users suggested that end user training issues could be alleviated if Linux supported more common desktop application such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.

The belief that Linux is mainly used as a developer tool was shattered by the survey, which cited employer demand as the top reason, closely followed by the need to keep up with competitors who are using Linux. The survey suggests a cultural shift has occurred among business, with many now willing to seriously consider open source.

Licensing costs and total cost of ownership were the most popular reasons given for deploying desktop Linux, while few users cited security as a factor.

Topics: Apps, Software Development

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6 comments
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  • THE ONLY CRUCIAL THING FOR LINUX FUTURE IS PREINSTALLATION ON HARDWARE. STOP BEING STUPID! PEOPLE USE WHAT THEY BUY AS LONG AS LINUX ISN'T ON THE HARDWARE ITS NOT GOING TO BE ON THE RADAR! E-MAIL IS FINE IN LINUX. FIREFOX, EVOLUTION, EGROUPWARE, KMAIL, AND OTHERS CAN OUTPERFORM OUTLOOK IN MANY AREAS. UNLESS ITS PREINSTALLED PEOPLE WON'T GET IT.
    anonymous
  • Claiming to be an "application engineer", yet you can't even figure out how to turn off CAPS.

    Bright. Working on some award-winning programs? Are the menus in all caps?
    anonymous
  • I believe client-based email apps are going to quickly decline in popularity, replaced by full-featured server-based web email apps such as Zimbra, or IBM Workplace. Nothing to install, no new versions to update, accessible anywhere.
    anonymous
  • I've been using Kontact as my all-round PIM/Email software for a couple of years now. I provides everything that Outlook does - that I need - plus some other benefits, such as displaying HTML e-mail as source, only displaying it as HTML after I click on a button to say that it is Ok to do so.

    I've started using Evolution, but it has one or two things missing or are more difficult to accomplish than in Kontact, but both provide a better user experience than Outlook.

    Hardware support is generally very good these days - much better than Windows, which doesn't support much of my hardware these days without a plethora of downloads or CD's from various manufacturers.

    I visited a couple of friends last weekend and started working on my Linux laptop, within an hour the husband had installed OpenSuSE on his computer and was setting about installing it on his wifes machine - dual boot for now, but the wife spent the whole evening absorbed in the gadgets and games delivered with the OS :-P
    anonymous
  • You seem to have forgotten:
    Novell Groupwise
    Lotus Domino

    And a rather large collection of other open source web-based email clients. eg. horde, squirrel mail etc.

    Seems that this is just a poorly researched article simply trying to obtain attention by being 'controversial'? How boring and transparent. Well at least you got Slashdotted, well done. I guess this helps your advertising revenue.
    anonymous
  • What proportion of home internet users still use desktop email applications? 50%? 40%?

    What proportion of home internet users will use desktop email applications inside 2 years? 5%?
    anonymous