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GroupWise: Attachmate Corporation Reaffirms Commitment to Novell GroupWise

Dean Lythgoe

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February 23, 2011 1:36 pm

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Today, Novell released a statement and communication about Attachmate’s commitment to Novell GroupWise!

This is a further affirmation of the statement that Attachmate has already made with regards to product roadmaps and strategies. This is excellent news and information regarding the future of this important collaboration product.

The engineering team is very excited about this statement of support. As we work hard on the delivery of Ascot – the next major release of the GroupWise product line – we are encouraged by the continued support of Novell, Attachmante, our Partners and especially our customers!

Here is the quote from Jeff Hawn, Attachmate Corporation Chairman and CEO

Attachmate Corporation considers GroupWise an important part of our go-forward market strategy. It is a solution that is of great value to both our organization and customers.

We have already publicly stated that we will support existing roadmaps and release schedules across the Novell and SUSE product lines and that commitment includes GroupWise.

More importantly, we are committed to meeting GroupWise customers’ needs well beyond these stated plans. We plan to leverage the collective expertise of the Novell team, invest in GroupWise R&D resources, and deliver key product capabilities customers require—including integration with collaboration products from Novell and others—over the long term.

Check out the website for additional details…

http://www.novell.com/promo/collaboration/groupwise-attachmate.html

Ascot

Ascot is feature complete! We have met our internal milestones on completing features. We have been performing final check-off demos for Product Management and preparing for BETA. We are scheduled to go to BETA in April and are working very hard to make that happen. We are excited about several important aspects of Ascot. New features, improved performance around SOAP, improved quality through significant bug fixing efforts and new architectural changes that position us well for more dramatic changes and features in the future.

Our next internal demo is scheduled for this Friday and is completely focused on the progress of our new tablet templates for WebAccess. We are specifically targeting the iPad, but these templates can be used on all tablet style devices and only require the device browser for access. No client to download or install, no specific setup or adminstration overhead. I am very excited about this aspect of Ascot!

I also think that some of the great new features of WebAccess will be a welcome addition to the GroupWise product. So – who is going to join us for our Ascot BETA program? Please let us know!!

Dean

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Categories: Expert Views, GroupWise

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5 Comments

  1. By:markmendel

    Mr Lythgoe –

    “That’s why GroupWise offers more
    flexibility and choice than any other messaging
    solution, including Mac, Linux, Windows and Web
    clients;” – from PDF on link posted

    Does this mean the Mac and Linux clients will continue to be updated in Ascot? I’ve heard they are feature frozen right now, and this is going to be a HUGE issue for me. I don’t care about Linux desktops terribly, but I have plenty of Mac people, especially in the executive branch. No Mac, no GroupWise. And WebAccess just does NOT cut it – I can see it being a viable solution in say 2-3 more versions of GroupWise. But not now.

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    • By:dlythgoe

      Mark,

      Unfortunately, the plans for Ascot did not include any updates or changes to the current Linux/Mac client. Ascot is now feature complete and we are headed toward our first authorized beta.

      However, we have had lots of feedback from our customers, partners and end-users about our current direction with the Mac client. We are considering several different scenarios and solutions.

      Without making any promises…here are some of the ideas we have considered….

      - only provide a Web solution for Mac and Linux desktops
      - create a native Mac client
      - utilize and leverage the native Mail/Calendar applications already available on the Mac and provide some sort of connector or sychronization solution
      - create a new, fully cross platform desktop and/or web client using technologies like Silverlight, GWT or Adobe Air

      As we consider these different solutions, we discuss the impact of all of the following factors.

      - R/D cost of creating and maintaining another desktop client
      - upgrade/deployment/rollout of any desktop client
      - feature parity between different desktop clients within an enterprise or organization
      - overall end user satisfaction with the solution
      - administrator control of features, options, quotas on desktop clients
      - 3rd-party integrations, APIs, and solutions available for each desktop client
      - training costs associated with moving a user from one access point to another…web, tablet, desktop, native app, mobile device

      Are there other solutions we should consider?
      What other factors would help us make the best decision?

      Dean

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      • By:markmendel

        Sir –

        Thank you for your most prompt and gracious reply. I completely understand that it’s a numbers games, with limited resources. I can only provide my own opinion here.

        - only provide a Web solution for Mac and Linux desktops

        This simply isn’t viable in the short term (next couple of versions). I have seen a demo of Ascot, and WebAccess looks pretty nice. It’s 80% there. But the remaining 20% (notify, archive, smooth user experience, parts of the address book and busy search) will still be a deal killer for us.

        - create a native Mac client

        Obviously that would make us happy. (see below)

        - utilize and leverage the native Mail/Calendar applications already available on the Mac and provide some sort of connector or sychronization solution

        Not enough, not enough power. Worse in many ways than the Web client. This is “good enough” for mobile use, but not for daily workflow.

        A factor you need to take into account is Microsoft has now reintroduced a native client for Outlook (they dropped that a long time ago, and pushed the same sort of Entourage kludge you are talking about). You are not Microsoft. I accept that. But my users don’t care, and it’s another reason for us to consider going to Exchange. Where BTW OWA is pretty darn good too – and looked better than Ascot WebAccess to me.

        - create a new, fully cross platform desktop and/or web client using technologies like Silverlight, GWT or Adobe Air

        Possible, but I don’t see this as truly viable do you? The cost to you of developing that from the ground up, is high I would think. And people would expect at LEAST as much as the GW 8 client for the 1.0 release.

        Now, your factors:

        - R/D cost of creating and maintaining another desktop client
        Obviously only you can figure that out. I would say it is more accurate to say

        ” Cost/Benefit analysis of maintaining another client”

        where Benefit is not necessarily a specific mailbox number but a multiplier of mailbox number x importance of user. More executives (at least in our case) use Macs. They are more important sadly.

        - upgrade/deployment/rollout of any desktop client
        Sure, and unquestionably the web wins here.
        - feature parity between different desktop clients within an enterprise or organization
        Yes and a big argument against the “Entourage” kind of solution
        - overall end user satisfaction with the solution
        Yes
        - administrator control of features, options, quotas on desktop clients
        Yes and a big argument against the “Entourage” kind of solution

        - 3rd-party integrations, APIs, and solutions available for each desktop client
        Yes, and a huge issue in general.

        - training costs associated with moving a user from one access point to another…web, tablet, desktop, native app, mobile device
        Well ok, but that’s for US to let you know about, not for YOU have as a major factor.

        Other factors:
        Well to put it bluntly how many mailbox seats will you lose if you freeze or discontinue a full featured Mac Client? (And again, those clients may influence more mailboxes lost)

        Mr Lythgoe – I do not question that the Web Client is a logical solution for much of the mobile, iPad, etc. I do not question that the Web Client PROBABLY will eventually be good enough. I would say however that in the next couple of versions, you need to continue to provide adequate Mac Client support with something resembling the solution currently provided.

        When will the Web Client be “good enough”? Well, when you feel the Windows client can be discontinued (except for maybe a browser plugin for some enhanced functionality), the Web Client will be good enough.

        sincerely yours,
        Mark Mendel

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      • By:jlodom

        Dear Dean,

        Thank you once again for updating us on the status of GroupWise (glad to hear about the Attachmate support), and also getting back into it on the Mac client end.

        Your thinking seems to have evolved, as has mine. Here are the current state of my thoughts:

        1. The combination of a mobile-enabled WebAccess (coming soon, I assume) and the constantly-improving Data Synchronizer product has completed the GroupWise story on iOS devices. In fact, I am now more likely to read and respond to GroupWise messages on my iPad and iPhone than I am from the Windows or Mac desktop client.

        2. That leaves the Mac. I would definitely like to see the current Java client terminated. It did show promise as a cross-platform solution and it works nicely on Linux. However, the fact that it generally feels 1.5 versions behind the Windows client without being able to leverage any OS X-specific technologies makes it neither fish nor fowl. I don’t believe that it is sustainable.

        3. I could see a future in which an evolved WebAccess, particularly one that used HTML5 local data storage, was a viable solution for OS X users.

        4. But I still think it is worth your time to write a better OS X client. If for no other reason, having Novell known as the Enterprise company that supports all major client platforms would be a valuable lure for new customers. Microsoft is addressing Mac needs with new Outlook, but that is as far as they go. If Novell’s offerings supported OS X more fully than Microsoft and more robustly than Apple’s own solutions (which don’t tend to scale), then large companies with growing Mac install bases will turn to Novell (provided your marketing gets the message out).

        5. Your experience with the Outlook connector for GroupWise indicates that a similar hook to Apple’s built-in Exchange connectivity would not be pleasant on your end. And IMAP is a great protocol, but limited in what it can do versus GroupWise. So, I suggest not trying to integrate with Apple Mail at this time (despite having files a rejected enhancement request for precisely that).

        6. That said, adding CALDAV to GroupWise server would be a big win for iCal users.

        7. I think you are better off writing a new client, for two reasons. First, if you pick the proper development tools, you can leverage much of the native OS X functionality (AppleScript, all the stuff just announced for 10.7 Lion) and also future-proof the client application so that there is a reasonable chance of it running unchanged on newer versions of OS X. Apple’s development guidelines have been such that writing fairly close to them will result in very compatible programs. Second, my impression of the future of GroupWise given its recent SOAP additions, and also of Novell’s portfolio as a whole is of an increasing abstraction between server and client pieces. A model including strong servers that integrate nicely across Novell’s service portfolio and clients that hook into the server APIs while being written specifically for the client environment would appear to me to be heavy on development costs but also offer the best path to long term stability, flexibility, and customer satisfaction.

        8. So, what development environment to write the client in? I would argue against Silverlight and Air because they are too close to the Java model, and also because you are adding additional vendors to the mix. Instead, I would focus on Mono/MonoMac or Cocoa. Cocoa because it is the most native platform for OS X (and therefore gets the best benefits in #7 above), having Cocoa resources inside Novell would be a boon to other teams, and because some code could be possibly be reused as Objective-C is a true superset of C. On the other hand, Mono has come a very long way, is primarily developed by Novell, and through the MonoMac project it supports virtually the entire Cocoa API so that you still retain many of the advantages of building a pure OS X app. MonoMac results in output that is standard enough to be hosted in Apple’s Mac App Store. (Yes, I realize that Silverlight and Mono are for all intents and purposes the same thing — C# using CIL, but Mono has MonoMac for bindings and is developed by Novell, which pushes it into the “win” column for our purposes).

        You asked for what is important to your customers. Speaking only for myself as an admin in a large school district, what is most important to me is a client that allows my users to be productive and happy when doing their work, backed by a server infrastructure that is robust, scalable, and integrated with the other server processes in my environment.

        Or, in partisan terms, I want the user quality of an OS X workstation backed by the engineering of a Novell server solution. That is pretty much what I want across the board from Novell — eDirectory users on OS X machines, Zenworks policies managing OS X machines, and GroupWIse communication on OS X machines. Novell makes the best back-end, Apple makes the best front-end. The companies are not actually in the same markets* and Microsoft would like to pretend that neither exists. So, the more Novell products that have great client support for Apple products, the much better my environment becomes.

        * [To elaborate on my favorite topic: SLED is not a real alternative to OS X in much the same way that Apple's Open Directory is not a real alternative to eDirectory. The two companies care about completely different things. Apple has proved -- through the relative scalability of its server OS, its attitude toward roadmaps, its cancellation of the XServe, and many other signs -- that it does not care about "The Enterprise." But the products that it puts into the hands of end-users are great, and all the hooks for Enterprise support are provided -- it is simply that there are no good servers for those hooks. Similarly, Novell aims for a scale that other workgroup solution companies simply do not -- Microsoft still seems to want the midrange more than the top. But user-experience has never been Novell's strong suite (Teaming 2 and Vibe OnPrem being current exceptions), and so I feel that the combination I am suggesting makes long-term sense for everyone involved: Apple, Novell, end-users, and administrators. Okay, rant over.]

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  2. By:markmendel

    Has increased a lot in last few years, at least in the US

    http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/idc_apple_3_in_u.s._with_10.6_mac_market_share/

    Now of course that’s shipping, and not what’s installed.

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