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Saving Students from The Latest Microsoft Lock-in (Live @ edu)

Let them eat Vista



Two days ago Microsoft issued a press release heralding its plans to take over universities with its Windows-oriented, Live-branded offerings, which typically lock down students and bind them to Microsoft while they still are young. For background about this, see this older post.



We were contacted by a reader who urged us to respond. "With many of Microsoft's minions surreptitiously pulling the plug on IMAP this summer while people are out it might be good to line up shots for the inevitable backlash," he writes. "Or, in the best case, for use in preventative action," he continues, "we should prepare lists." He is pointing to this new success story of a commercial, closed source option.

He recommends that we start framing Free software alternatives, where applicable, as "the list of products Microsoft is trying to dethrone through feeble imitation and nasty intrithogue." We were criticised by this reader before, especially for warning about Microsoft's shots at FOSS without bothering to mention or to link to projects that Microsoft tries to fight, in which case the positive contribution to them is mere.

Here is the list of suggestions, as-is, which he passes on to us (making this a static page would seem too much like advertising). We omit only Scalix because it's Xandros, which we boycott:

Server Applications



Kolab


Project homepage

Kolab is an open source, standards-based groupware server. It is a product of a series of contracts for the federal office for Security in the Information Technology in the German Government. Support contracts are available from several sources including ones in Sweden. It is maintained by the Kolab consortium.

Citadel


Project homepage

Citadel is fully open source with end-to-end GPLv3. It has been production grade for several years.

Bongo


Project homepage

Descendant of the Hula project.

Zimbra


Project homepage

Zimbra is owned by Yahoo! as of 2007. Though the recent bid against Yahoo! by Zimbra's main competitor puts the product at risk. If the deal goes through, given the competitor's history it is likely to be sidelined like FoxPro or broken like HotMail, to name just two examples.

Open-Xchange


Project homepage Open-Xchange is available under dual license GPL + proprietary.

Client Applications



Sunbird


Project homepage

Sunbird is very easy to use, open source calendar client. It can handle both stand-alone calendars and shared calendars using SQLlite, CalDAV and the standard iCalendar. Shared calendars can be accessed via the net or via the file system. The interface is written in XUL, JavaScript, and CSS

Thunderbird


Project homepage

Thunderbird is a very easy to use, open source mail client. It can handle IMAP and POP, with options like encryption. It is readily extensible and many plug-ins exist to provide essentials like culling duplicate messages or PKI encryption.

Kontact


Project homepage

Kontact is very easy to use, open source calendar client from. It can handle both stand-alone calendars and shared calendars using SQLlite, CalDAV and the standard iCalendar. Shared calendars can be accessed via the net or via the file system. The interface is written in XUL, JavaScript, and CSS. [correction: the client interface/program is implemented with Qt and C++]

Google Calendar


Project homepage

Google is easy to use and supports data standards, but it is server-based and the server is located on the other side of the Atlantic. KPlato

KPlato


Project homepage

KPlato is a standalone project management and planning tool. It has many useful functions including Gantt charts, task lists with resource allocations per task, task allocations per resource, cost planning with configurable cut-off date and periodicity, and more.

On Microsoft's dumping technique to ensure lock-in in schools:

  1. Bill Gates' Retirement Merely a Political Lock-in Crusade
  2. Microsoft 'Buys' Dubai Away from GNU/Linux, Calls it “Charity”; Paris Also?
  3. OOXML Sins and “Charity” Against GNU/Linux
  4. It's Not Dumping Because They Call it “Charity”
  5. Boosting Windows Vista Sales Using AIDS
  6. “Let Them Eat Vista...”
  7. Mysterious New Moves in the Gates Foundation
  8. Microsoft Carries on Dumping to Make Its Products a 'Standard'
  9. The Takeaways from the Giveaways
  10. Microsoft Must Be Absolutely Terrified

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