Bridging Enterprise Gaps

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-04-01 Print this article Print

Ximian rolls out Connector for Exchange, Red Carpet CorporateConnect.

Open-source software company Ximian Inc. last week released two products to help integrate Linux into the enterprise, Ximian Connector for Microsofts Corp.s Exchange and Red Carpet CorporateConnect.

Connector is a proprietary product that bridges Linux desktops and Exchange back ends. Red Carpet CorporateConnect is a Web-based service that gives customers centralized software maintenance and version management for Linux workgroups and servers.

Connector is a client extension to the Ximian Evolution groupware suite that allows Linux and Unix users to manage personal information and collaborate with Windows-based co-workers using Exchange 2000, said Nat Friedman, co-founder and vice president of product development for Ximian, of Boston.

"With Ximian Connector installed, Ximian Evolution will function as a Microsoft Exchange 2000 client, enabling users to manage their e-mail, personal calendars, group schedules, address books and tasks lists using existing Exchange 2000 servers," Friedman said.

Friedman insisted that the company is not moving away from its open-source roots and remains committed to developing its open-source desktop.

"But, at the same time, we are a business, and many of our corporate customers have been asking for a solution like this," Friedman said. "Our business plan has always been to provide a mix of free and proprietary software, solutions and services."

Ximians move to include proprietary components follows similar moves by ArsDigita Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., which sells proprietary modules to its once fully open-source, Web-based e-commerce software.

Corporate users such as Robert Cole, a systems administrator for pharmaceutical company Zila Inc., of Phoenix, have been evaluating Evolution. Cole said Connector is an important product because his companys e-mail comes through Exchange. "This is something Im really interested in," he said.

"Ximian Connector ... is the missing piece of the puzzle for our development staff using Linux workstations," said Andrew Lozier, vice president of Next Dimension Inc., in Windsor, Ontario.

Connector is available for leading Linux distributions such as Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE and Debian for $69 for a single user, $599 for a 10-user pack and $1,499 for a 25-user pack. Evolution is available from the Ximian Web site or on a CD as part of the Ximian Desktop Standard Edition and Desktop Professional Edition.

Red Carpet CorporateConnect provides multiplatform support and updating of systems running a broad range of Linux distributions, including Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, Debian and Yellow Dog. Red Carpet Corporate- Connect lets administrators configure and distribute software selections, manage users and create group profiles of target machines for installations and updates.

Red Carpet CorporateConnect, available now, is priced at $150 per system per year on a subscription basis, with an initial setup fee of $2,500.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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