Fedora 11 to get link to Exchange

Release 11 of Red Hat's Fedora project will include OpenChange, a technology designed to give any email client native access to Microsoft Exchange
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Release 11 of Red Hat's Fedora project will include a technology designed to give any email client native access to Microsoft Exchange.

Fedora is Red Hat's Linux distribution for developers, and is a complement to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The software maker aims to release a Fedora version twice a year, and it uses the operating system to test features that will later make their way into RHEL.

Fedora 11, set for release on 9 June, will include OpenChange, a project designed to offer an open-source implementation of Microsoft's proprietary Messaging Application Programming Interface (Mapi), according to a post on the Fedora Team blog on Tuesday.

Mapi is the protocol that Exchange uses to communicate with Outlook. OpenChange implements it in the form of the 'libmapi' library, which is designed to be built into any email client.

"Using the libmapi library, OpenChange allows clients such as Thunderbird, Evolution, KMail and other open-source applications to utilise the full range of Mapi functionality, including messaging, shared calendars, contact databases, public folders, notes and tasks," the Red Hat team wrote in the blog post. "All applications can now start speaking the same language, regardless of platform."

Right now, Novell's Evolution client and the KMail and Mailody applications include libmapi libraries, according to the OpenChange project.

Fedora already includes the Evolution email client, which has an Exchange connector. However, the OpenChange project will get around some of this connector's limitations, Red Hat said.

"Currently, Evolution has the 'Exchange connector', however this uses WebDAV and is highly susceptible to changes in the Exchange server," Red Hat said in a technical document. "In particular, it will break when native clients (Outlook) do not."

The new feature has required Fedora 11 to use some features of the Samba 4 project, as OpenChange is dependent on the Samba 4 client libraries, Red Hat said. Samba 4, a major rewrite to the Samba project, is currently at the alpha testing stage, with the most recent release in February. No final release date has yet been set.

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