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GroupWise Client for Linux

Alternate Title for this Post: “The Ken and I”

Ever know one of those people who take things that they’re passionate about really seriously?

GroupWIse iconI had an impromptu hallway conversation with Ken Muir yesterday. He’s the director of engineering over Novell’s GroupWise product line. As an engineering manager, Ken is typically very…what’s the word…determined? I’ve always known him to be that way, even way back when he was simply a developer and I was merely a product guy, both of us on the ZENworks product line. (Ken’s gone places since then, and I…well…I have a blog.) But ever since Ken started on GroupWise, he has seemed to be more singularly focused on, and empassioned by, his product than I’ve ever seen him before. I’m not saying that I know Ken extremely well, but I know him well enough notice the difference. I’m glad that GroupWise has his attention.

Anyway…Imagine my embarrassment when I ran into product line manager Phil Karren and started spouting off that we really need to get a much better GroupWise client for Linux out, and get it out soon. (In doing Linux demos, I want GroupWise to look like the coolest thing since beer in a can. I mean, doesn’t GroupWise deserve that?) Just as I was just getting warmed up for a good rant to Phil, Ken appears. To be sure, Phil would have shut me down soon enough, but he wouldn’t have done so quite as…abruptly? Ken pounced on my second or third sentence, his voice already rebuking me before he had even come into sight. Phil settled back and watched on with some amusement. (In fact, come to think of it, Phil’s smile may have expressed the deeply kharmic satisfaction that one gets upon seeing a car that had earlier sped by and cut you off in traffic, now pulled over by a cop.)

Anyway, Ken and I got into it for a couple minutes, and eventually found common ground, worked out agreements, etc. That’s not to imply that we had some kind of out-and-out verbal altercation–it was all very respectable. We have known each other long enough to have the kind of rapport that allows us to debate and know that we will have a productive outcome. Ultimately, we know that we share a commitment to a common cause.

Anyway, one of the outcomes in this case is that Ken posted “GroupWise Linux and Mac Client Futures” on Cool Blogs. It’s a really good post–exactly what I want to see more of from product leaders at Novell. In the post, Ken specifically names the current priority items on his team is working on, and solicits readers’ feedback on the list. Ken will take your comments very seriously. Trust me on that.

One last thing. Ken also mentions that he’ll be at the upcoming GroupWise Advisor summit. If you’re going, introduce yourself to him. He’s a good person to know.


9 Responses

  1. Umm… a better Groupwise client for Linux? Isn’t it called ‘Evolution’?

  2. “Better” is in the eye of the beholder. I am a big Evolution fan. I use it as well and I have been a primary driver in improving its ability to work with GroupWise. GroupWise customers however are not looking for something that behaves different than the Windows client that they love. They want a product that they can utilize to transition their current users from Windows to Linux and satisfy them. Transition from GroupWise on Windows to GroupWise on Linux requires much less training than going from the Windows client to Evo.

    If you are coming from the non-GroupWise world, you/we typically like Evolution more. GroupWise provides choice. I desire that BOTH are better than they are today and we are actively working towards that.

    BTW, Reverend…Thanks for the flowers (I think) 🙂 I have been told that my intensity level is directly proportional to the amount of BS I am hearing…. 😉 However, you are/were absolutely correct. I was just excited to tell you what we are doing to improve the client.

  3. Ken,
    I agree with the need to provide consistency to users should they cross platforms, but it seems (to my feeble brain) that it’s _not_ enough. I tried out Evolution for Windows again yesterday… it’s becoming quite usable, and it has become so extremely fast. It seems like an awful waste of resources to develop two cross-platform groupware clients (three if you include any of the SuSE guys’ work on Kontact). I can’t see the downside to working on one top-notch client, with the best features of each Groupware system highlighted (via plugins, etc) when using it in that role.

  4. Make GroupWise Open Source and include the server in SLES and the client in SLED!
    That would speed development and give our SUSE Linux Enterprise products another boost…
    -> Now I have to duck behind cover because most traditional Novell guys demand my head 🙂

  5. I agree with Andreas, but I also think that GroupWise for Windows should be priced more competetively with Exchange, especially now that there is no small business offering. (Open Workgroup is more expensive than either Netware6.6 for Small Business or Microsoft Small Business Server).
    However, having an open-source GroupWise server would really be a compelling consultation sell to my clients currently thinking of switching to Exchange because of the removal of a viable small-business platform from Novell.

  6. I have used the Groupwise Client 7 for Linux. IT DOESN’T EVEN HAVE THE ABILITY TO “UNDO” A MISTAKE!

    That is how I really feel about that. When is Novell going to get serious about this?

  7. Hey, Tristan [6]:
    I have no idea when, if ever, Novell will give the GroupWise client on Linux the love and feeding that it needs. I left Novell back in September, and I have been out of touch with the progress since that time. You might send an email to Ken Muir at Novell. He was director of engineering for GroupWise, last I was there.
    Please tell Drew that I say hello.

  8. Well, I (we) are being forced into the WIndows/Exchange camp. I really wanted SLES/SLED10 but the cost factors etc coupled with the “Microsoft mentality” from upper management and their new “consulting MSofties” MS was a “cost effective” solution compared to Groupwise (which I pushed for groupwise and was slapped down). We need a “good counter offensive” to this MS madness. I had a roadmap for Linux (SLES/SLED) to replace the majority of our systems; xTuple(OpenMFG) for our ERP, SCADABASE on the control systems and was testing Scalix on the collaboration. Then came the need for CrackBerries so my focus went to Groupwise but the whole thing got shot down, the old “nobody ever gets canned for choosing MS” mentality.. I’m just so frustrated

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