Novell on Tuesday announced its Connector for Microsoft Exchange Server. The product will be integrated into Evolution 2.0, Novells e-mail and workgroup client for Linux.
"We have a compatible, open-source Outlook competitor," Nat Friedman, vice president of the desktop technologies group at Novell Inc., said of the move.
"With the Connector, Exchange Server 2000/2003 users will be able to replace Outlook with Evolution to manage their e-mail, calendars, group schedules, address books, public folders and tasks."
The Connector aims both to give Linux users a fully functional Outlook replacement and to enable Windows and Linux desktop users to "collaborate with each other using existing back-end systems and familiar processes," Friedman said.
"Technologies like the Connector, which allow Linux desktops to operate inside a mixed proprietary/open-source environment, make choosing a Linux desktop easier for IT administrators," he said.
Novell is also releasing the entire Evolution product, including the Connector source code, under the GNU General Public License (GPL). The Connector code had been proprietary.
"It is our intent to establish Evolution as the open-source standard for calendaring and address books," Friedman said. "These are the standard things that tie your life together. Its only by making it GPL, which makes it an open standard, that we can do this.
Evolution is already commonly deployed with most Linux distributions. Its 1.0 versions have been bundled with Red Hat Linux and Xandros.
"The open-source release of Novells Connector for Exchange adds an important element to the open-source desktops interoperability with existing enterprise deployments," Mitchell Baker, president of the Mozilla Foundation, said in a statement. "The Mozilla Foundation applauds Novells decision to move this technology into the open-source world."
Novell Evolution 2.0 will be released this summer. Besides the Exchange Server compatibility, it will include a number of new features aimed at improving user productivity and collaboration, such as built-in spam filtering, S/MIME and PGP security certificate management, and tight integration with the Linux desktop and the Gaim instant-messaging client.
It also will have integrated support for the newly available Novell GroupWise 6.5 for Linux. Thus, companies will be able to deploy Evolution on desktops whether they use GroupWise, Exchange, SuSE Linux Openexchange Server, Sendmail, Qmail or another POP/SMTP mail server as the heart of their mail system.
Beginning May 14, current Evolution users will be able to download Connector for Microsoft Exchange Server at no charge.