Ximian Inc., one of the brighter lights among open-source developers, on Monday rolled out a personal and workgroup information management tool that works across both Linux- and Unix- based platforms as well as with Microsoft Corp. and Lotus Development Corp. mail environments.
Version 1.0 of Evolution is designed to weave together e-mail, calendar, and contact management functions in concert with a handful of collaboration and information management functions, company officials said.
Some of the program's e-mail features include a threaded mail view, automatic message indexing, and its vFolder contextual views, which offers the ability to more adequately manage large e-mail boxes.
Evolution supports the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), POP (Post Office Protocol), IMAP (Internet Messaging Access Protocol) messaging protocols as well as enabling peer-to-peer calendaring capabilities, with Evolution, Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes applications supporting the iCalendar protocol.
Ximian executives see Evolution's arrival as the final piece of the puzzle that will make Linux and other open-source desktop environments more legitimate in the eyes of corporate users.
"We think Linux and Unix users and workgroups now have a complete e-mail and information management solution they have been needing," said Nat Friedman, co-founder and vice president of product development at Ximian.
Talking about the product's calendaring and collaboration features, Friedman said the product make is simpler for users to create one-time, all-day, or recurring events, including on-screen, e-mail, or sound reminders. Users can schedule or confirm group meetings, including those with Outlook and Notes users.
Evolution also transparently integrates each of the applications within its suite. The program has a summary feature which provides an on-screen snapshot of upcoming appointments, various tasks to be carried out, new e-mail, and news. The program's QuickSearch feature can locate appointments, contracts, e-mail messages, and to-do items, a company spokesman said.
Also on Monday, the company debuted Ximian Connector for Microsoft Exchange, a software extension for Evolution. With the connector, Evolution is able to perform more like a true Exchange 2000 client, enabling users to manage their e-mail, personal and group calendars, address books, and task lists using their existing Exchange 2000 servers, company officials said.
Ximian Connector for Exchange should better enable IT managers to integrate and support Linux and Unix desktops alongside Windows-based clients for Exchange e-mail and group calendaring.
Now under development, the connector is scheduled to be available early next year. Unlike the company's other open-source software, however, it will not be sold under the GPU (General Public License), but rather under a proprietary license.
The connector will cost $69 or $599 for a 10 users, or US$1,499 for 25.
Evolution 1.0 will be included the company's Ximian Desktop Standard Edition and Professional edition products, both of which are scheduled to ship later this month for $29.95 and $49.95, respectively.
Users can download the open-source program free of charge at www.ximian.com/.