Cool Solutions

GroupWise: Windermere Changes – Part 2


November 16, 2012 2:31 pm





This is part 2: As plans, decisions and schedules are finalized regarding Windermere – there are several things to share and socialize in order to help you and your organization move forward with Novell and GroupWise.

Windermere is the next major release for GroupWise. It is expected to release in 2013. The focus is on replacing ConsoleOne with a new web administration console, expanding directory support to include Active Directory, and updating the look of the Windows Client. There are also several strategic and forward looking decisions to consider. Through a series of blog posts or related cool solutions articles, these topics will be introduced and socialized. Please review and respond so that considerations are included and potential impact and trade-offs are debated.

Platform Support


As we look toward 2013 and the lifecycle of Windermere, consideration is given to which server platforms will be new and available and which server platforms will be moving past their own manufactures supportability. We review the market, overall, to evaluate which server operating systems are trending and in which direction. More importantly, we attempt to project what trends are currently happening and which ones will happen within the GroupWise customer base. As we evaluate these different options, we also take into account the costs associated with validating each additional platform we choose to support. We have varying degrees of validation, including reference platforms. Reference platforms are operating systems that are part of our QA inventory, IT Data Center and Super labs.

Windows – we will drop the Windows 2003 Server platform. We plan to support Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 2012.

OES/Linux – we will drop OES 2 and SLES 10 platforms. OES 11 and SLES 11 will be supported.


Desktop operating systems are more complicated. We will continue to support the Mac and Linux desktop OS platforms that are currently supported with GroupWise 2012. We don’t anticipate this changing – except to consider new versions of the Linux Desktop or Mac Desktop OS that will be released in the future. We will consider each one individually.

Windows XP – we are watching this platform closely. We will support Windows 7 and we will add the Windows 8 Desktop OS. We will definitely drop Windows Vista, but we are also considering dropping Windows XP. We recognize that many customers still have significant installations of Windows XP and so we want to hear from you and your plans regarding upgrades. We also know that many organizations have recently executed or are planning on Windows 7 deployments. What is your time frame for keeping Windows XP? When do you plan to upgrade and what are you upgrading to?

FLASH We have updated our support of XP…We will support Windows XP for Windermere – See blog post:….

Why drop Windows XP? Many may ask about the rationale for this decision. Let me say again – this is still just a consideration. No final decision has been made. However, several factors play a role in this decision – including your feedback. We consider market trends, we look at support lifecycles from Microsoft, we look at the age of the operating system, but maybe most important, we look at what newer technologies we can take advantage of to make our product easier to maintain, fresher to look at and easier to use. If these technologies are not supported or create too many compatibility issues on an older platform, then this will influence our choice. Please let your voice be heard!


Another significant consideration with each major release of a product is which browsers will be supported. Many organizations do not allow the auto-upgrade of desktop browsers for a variety of reasons. The most common is that they have additional browser based applications that require a particular version of Internet Explorer or FireFox. Therefore, requiring a certain version of browser to run GroupWise WebAccess and now GroupWise Web Administration presents certain compatibility challenges. Here is what we are planning….

Internet Explorer – We plan to support IE 9 and 10 and later. If we decide to continue support for Windows XP, IE8 will be added for Windows XP Only.

FireFox – We plan to support FireFox 15.x and later. All desktop platforms will be supported. Linux, Windows and Mac.

Chrome – We plan to support Chrome 21.x and later. This is only targeted for the Windows platform.

Safari – We plan to support Safari 6.0 or later on Mac OS 10.7 or later.

GroupWise Windows Client Features

Last topic for this blog post. We are also transitioning or updating a few technologies and capabilities in the Windows Client that organizations should be aware of and to begin to plan accordingly.

ODMA – Open Document Management API is a technology embedded with the Windows desktop that simplifies the communication of desktop applications with document management systems. We use this technology to intercept File Open and File Save actions in the operating system and other desktop applications to automatically present the user the GroupWise Document Management File/Open dialog. This capability and technology will be removed in Windermere. ODMA has been superseded by other more standard ways of interfacing. Novell is transitioning its Document Management capabilities to other products like Novell Vibe.

S/MIME – Newer algorithms are now available to better support digital signatures and email encryption. However, these algorithms are not supported on older versions of the Windows platform. As we upgrade these algorithms to the latest technologies, we will be dropping support for S/MIME in the GroupWise Windermere Client for Windows XP platforms ONLY. S/MIME will be better than ever in Windermere with better technology, stronger encryption and more up-to-date integrations. Even if we decide to continue support for Windows XP, this capability will not be available when running the Windermere Windows Client on XP.

Part Three – coming soon!

This concludes part two. In part three,how to upgrade will be discussed. We realize that not all organizations will upgrade their entire backend infrastructure at once. There may be situations when an organization has GroupWise 8 or 2012 agents running along side Windermere agents. These agents will require separate tools to execute administration. In part three, we will explain how this will work and what you need to do to be prepared.

If you have feedback, want to voice your support, or want to vote against the decisions listed above, please do so in the comments area for all to see. We only ask that you are professional and courteous. 🙂



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Categories: GroupWise, GroupWise Blog, Technical


Disclaimer: This content is not supported by Micro Focus. It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test it thoroughly before using it in a production environment.


  1. By:alanbrahmrowe

    Will sites with GW libraries be given a migration path for their libraries to VIBE?

    • By:dlythgoe

      We do plan to publish a ‘best practice’ with some utilities that can be used to migrate document to Vibe. We anticipate that many of our DMS customers may choose to continue to use GroupWise DMS even without the ODMA support.


      • By:buckesfeld

        what will it mean license-wise to customers? You’re taking away functionality from Groupwise, and as of today, a Vibe license will mean extra cost.


      • By:dlythgoe

        It is an interesting question….

        There is some minor functionality that is changing…but I am not sure it rises to a cost issue. The vast majority of DMS will continue to work with GroupWise. If the customer is a NOWS customer, they already own Novell Vibe. Also – Novell Vibe is pretty inexpensive compared to other DMS solutions or the cost of migrating to any other DMS solution.

        What do you think or suggest?


      • By:thhg

        When we last looked at Vibe, I did not see Custom Fields or Linked Fields. We use these in our 5 libraries.
        When we come to migrating to Vibe, will these features be in place so that we don’t lose important information ?

  2. By:mickers

    We have a chunk of XP machines that we are planning/hoping to upgrade as the machines expire and we purchase replacements with Windows 7/8 licences over the next year or so. As much as I’d like to kick XP to the curb (or kerb :-), I read recently that up to 30% of global Windows installs are still XP. That’s substantial. If the GW2012 client could communicate happily with Windemere backend, I’d be satisfied with that. No point investing additional time and money into the XP platform.
    Just my 2c.

    • By:dlythgoe

      Thanks for the feedback and input. That is helpful!.


    • By:RDDavis

      State and local budgets gets smaller every year; therefor, we can’t replaced desktops in one swoop. Our agency has adopted a replacement 5 year plan with replacing 150 oldest PC’s each year, which would refresh our current desktops after 4 years.. This being the case, we would want support for both XP and IE8 for our users or we will have to stay on the versions of Groupwise that supports Windows XP.

      All our servers have been 64 bit for quite awhile, but we have not purchased any new servers. We are working with what we have and using Virtualization as a stop gap, until we can purchase new servers.

      All SLES server are version 11.

    • By:jchamp

      We’re a PK-12 public school system with a fair investment in software that doesn’t support any Windows past XP. Until we can move to a more device-agnostic model, we’ll stay with XP. If the WebAccess client can be made almost as robust as the desktop client, then that would make it easier for Novell to discontinue XP support, though IE8 support would be desired.

  3. By:smflood

    “We will continue to support the Mac and Linux desktop OS platforms that are currently supported with GroupWise 2012.”

    So are Novell planning to continue supporting the Mac desktop OS platform in the same way as they currently do (or don’t) … or are they actually going to invest in (re)developing a decent Mac client?

    Whilst Mac users would prefer to use their included applications (Mail, Calendar, Contacts) to handle email, calendaring, and address books those applications don’t integrate nicely with GroupWise and that’s the problem. A big problem.

    Either Novell needs to fix GroupWise so that those applications do play nicely (if Microsoft Exchange works then GroupWise can too … time for Exchange Services for GroupWise perhaps?!) or Novell needs to invest in an updated and modern Mac client for GroupWise. They’re the only two options available, do nothing is not one!

    It’s time for Novell to make a decision.

    • By:dlythgoe

      This is a valid question and request. Novell currently provides a multitude of solutions across the product portfolio to support Apple users. Some of these solutions include synchronization solutions for iPhone and iPads, web solutions for iPads, GroupWise desktop applications and browser solutions. Mobile Device Management solutions, Kanaka, Mobile Apps for Vibe, Filr and Messenger, etc.

      We recognize that there are areas for improvement and we want our Apple users to feel like first class citizens. As new solutions are developed, we will make those announcements public.

      That is all that can be shared in this forum and at this time.


  4. By:mselan

    All our customers run GW on OES/SLES and have maintenance so it’s fine

    My vote goes for dropping XP if 2012 clients will be able to access the new POs. Many of our clients still have XP, but are considering upgrading in near future. Also Linux and Mac is not a big issue here, just be sure to support iPhone and Android

    for admins support the latest IE and FF ESR, for end users, well all should work… 🙂

    Windows client: no problem if you drop ODMA and S/MIME, push as much as you can Vibe/Messenger/Skype/Lync/Filr integration, a UI refresh would be nice

    My 2c

    • By:dlythgoe

      Thank you for your feedback….

      Although this will not be discussed or addressed in this blog series…(Part 1, part 2, etc.)….we are planning on creating a new look for the Windows Client. A lot of this work will be presented at BrainShare in a ‘code complete’ forum….Meaning, engineering is very busy making these changes already.


  5. By:tbowman1724

    We are still 95% or more XP. We have a critical application to our environment that is only supported on IE 7. That will be going away some time next year but then we have another critical application that is only supported up to IE 8. Supporting only IE 9 or greater will be a problem for us. As an aside, the trend for “clientless” applications that just use a web browser is a big problem. Too many web based apps have strict browser requirements, making desktop management problematic.

    As we are still tied to IE7, we won’t even being rolling out Win 7 for quite some time and I wouldn’t expect to be done until early 2014.

    • By:dlythgoe

      Excellent feedback…thank you for responding. How many desktops do you expect to still be running Windows XP and IE7/8 by the end of 2013? In addition, what will be your plans regarding rolling out Windermere? Does your organization traditionally upgrade as soon as a new release is available? Are you forced to wait for a specific time of year or is there a corporate policy that limits when you can upgrade?

      Thanks for your input…


      • By:buckesfeld


        we are still a 100% XP shop. We plan to migrate to Windows 7 next year, but we don’t expect this to be finished by the end of 2013.
        For the past two versions of Groupwise, we were confident the initial release version would work for us (Kudos to development and QA for two very good releases. Keep up the good work!) and upgraded quickly. Given the changes in Windermere (C1 replacement scares me a lot) I plan to do much more testing before going live. Nevertheless we’ll have a lot of XP clients left by that time, I’m sure.
        Please don’t give my management more ammo to move to Exchange.


      • By:dlythgoe

        So your vote would be to provide support for GroupWise Windermere on XP….. We are hearing a few other compelling votes in this direction as well.

        One question….I know that management threatens to move to Exchange – but in your case…if management did move to Exchange, they certainly would not be supported on Windows XP – right? So you would have to migrate off of Windows XP in your organization either way…..staying with GroupWise or moving to Exchange – right?

        Also – when you say you are 100% XP…how many users?

        Just making sure I understand the logic….


  6. By:jgosney

    Still no mention of ongoing support or improvements for the Mac Client for Groupwise.

    So let me get this straight. You’re ignoring your Mac client base. You’re ignoring your Linux client base. And now you’re considering no longer supporting WinXP (of which we have an installed userbase of over 1000).

    Please remind me why I continue to support Groupwise?

    • By:dlythgoe

      I apologize for the confusion….this series of blog posts are not intended to spell out all of the features and capabilities we are adding to GroupWise in the Windermere release. It is simply to discuss and address some of the technical infrastructure issues that your organization can consider in preparation for this release.

      As the product moves through its development cycle and we near authorized beta, more details about the specific feature sets and new capabilities will be discussed.

      BrainShare 2013 will also be a showcase for Windermere.


  7. By:buckesfeld


    no plans to support Chromium?
    Please consider supporting Firefox ESR versions, too.


    • By:dlythgoe

      Support is an interesting concept….

      The underlying issue is simply this….it is very time consuming to validate the entire feature set on a new platform…in this case – every browser. Each browser we add, the longer it takes to actually ship the product. Now – it is also true…that just because we did not test it does not mean it won’t work…..think mobile devices. There are 100’s…..there is no way we can validate every aspect of our product on every device. It just is not going to happen.

      In other words…in the strictest interpretation….support = tested. However, most browsers work just fine whether we test/support them or not. What we list here is what we will have in-house and use to validate the code. It is true – that there is a possibility that not all things will work…usually – it will require a browser fix before an application fix. Just FYI.

      Hardware is a similar discussion….we don’t test on every hardware platform…but they all seem to work….

      Hope that makes sense….


  8. By:dkeyur

    We need to have a complete makeover of GroupWise Client for Windows. Users are least bothered about what is running in the backend i.e. groupwise/exchange etc. What they want is a jazzy front end and user friendly email client. Many users believe that GroupWise client is made for techi’s and not for normal users. Why they have this perception?? Because it’s not much user friendly & look/feel is boring to be honest. According to me, the key to succeed in a longer run is to focus more on Client. No doubt GroupWise is the most stable & scalable email system. We recieved very positive feedbacks from the users on GW2012 Webaccess client but we were disappointed with GW2012 Client for Windows….Let’s get inspired by ms outlook and be a game changer..Long live GroupWise!

    • By:cafetom

      Hello there,

      While a extreme client makeover might be nice for those who like the client, I am paining for a fully functional web client that can compete with Outlook Webaccess, GMail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. If you give me a fully functional, pretty web client, that also does the mailto: function for all the browsers, we can end the discussion of people wanting other mail systems. I have yet to meet a person moving to another mail system from GroupWise because of technical reasons. There are only two arguements that seem to come up; how the client and web access look, and compatibility with other products. But for the most part, only the “pretty” part seems to matter. If pretty didn’t matter and functionality did, Apple products wouldn’t be in the picture (editorial). I am confident that if you have a pretty client and a pretty/functional web client, people wouldn’t be so “jump ship”. They need and must have sexy technology! Sexy looking, sexy functioning, etc. Justin Bieber needs to use GroupWise. 🙂


      • By:dlythgoe


        Thanks for posting this view. It is helpful and validates a lot of our own thinking and direction. There are several benefits, like you mention, that come with a fully functional web client.

        A few questions….can you name a really good web client/product? One that you live in all day and is as functional and robust as a desktop equivalent?

        What do you do about desktop integrations…is ‘mailto’ the only thing you really need?

        Tell me the size of your organization and or the organizations you represent? Do you think this idea/solution plays better to a certain size customer or vertical?

        Thanks for your ideas and feedback!


    • By:dlythgoe


      We are refreshing the ‘look’ of the GroupWise Windows Client in Windermere. We will be showing this at BrainShare. We also displayed some of the concepts to the audience at GWAVACon in October.

      Thanks for your enthusiasm!


      • By:adamskuo

        Hi Dean,

        We found that a lot client features will be introduced in this Windermere version. Does there any plan for Groupwise 2012 clients ? Could we also get any benefits when Novell takes those great technology changes from GW2012 to Windermere?(We do not user MS Exchange)

        Lots of client operation inconvenient in the GW2012 was expected to solved ! Our users are really expecting Novell could provide more convenient client for us.

  9. By:akronawitter

    Hi Dean,
    many of our customers have groupwise with xp. The Bugdet to change all desktop to Windows 7 or higher is not there. I see a long life for xp at customer with more then 500 clients. Admins say “why i shut change it, anything run well.” Its al lot of work to rollout new Windows 7 clients if customers have to support 170 or more application on xp.

    If the customers are now forced to upgrade to Windows 7, Exchange deter mines the immigration debate will be re-ignited.

    In my opinion it is very important to leave the decision to the customers and allow the smoothest possible transition to Windermere to. Technical new feature will be running Windows 7 with Windermere Groupwise client. If backwards compatibility is at least retained to 2012 Groupwise Client and Groupwise 8 Java clients, the admins or customers decide which departments or user groups on current Windows 7/8 with Groupwise client Windermere be changed. Step by step migration, as it has always been at GW4.1- GW2012 Small budget is no way for a user training Groupwise Client Major Changes perform.

  10. By:zdeluca

    All of our GroupWise 2012 servers are running SLES 11 sp2. The version of Firefox on them is 10. Will we need to go outside of the patch channel to get and install a supported version? No doubt most management tasks will be done from a workstation, but occasionally it might be very useful to be able to access the management console from the server.

  11. By:Barbara8

    Thanks guys. I’ll look into those suggestions. I was under the impression that while our production environment was up, I could build a new OES/SLES VM, install 2012 there and do a test migration. I’ll have to look into the possible issues with Console One. We have a vendor that wants to do the work for us, but we are exploring the option of doing the work ourselves.

    Any input is welcome, I’ll be referencing these suggestions along the way and posting results.

  12. By:dlythgoe

    Based on customer feedback and input, we have updated our direction on Windows XP Support. See latest blog.….


  13. By:tiagoaviz

    Hey Dean,

    Here at my company we’ve been supporting many mail systems through these years. (We’re a Novell parner)

    THe thing lately about GroupWise is that the heavy users that like the groupwise client don’t like to work with it via the Webaccess GUI. It’s very limited if compared to the client.

    I’ll second what Andreas said above. the mailto: feature is important because it can act as a mail client replacement.

    Many customers went to VMware Zimbra and the web interface is the only way to go: if you go for Zimbra Desktop it’s just a reduced browser with some added offline mail reading capabilities.

    Zimbra, for an instance, has a very good, light, and intuitive way to use since version 8. It works really fast on the browser and it’s feature-packed. Check out one system some day to get some ideas.

    Exchange’s OWA also got very powerful over the years on its web interface. Now it has something like 60% of the capabilities of the client itself in it. Many users don’t even need Outlook, and both interfaces (OWA and Outlook) got very similar.

    Good thing you guys will maintain Windows XP Support. It is widely adopted on our customers here, and won’t be upgraded in a foreseeable future.

  14. By:akessinger2


    I know this isn’t exactly the correct forum to express concerns to you, but I honestly think your GroupWise team’s lack of support for multi-platform environments is killing off Novell consumers quicker than anything else. Do you really want that to be your defining moment at Novell? Responsible for the biggest exodus from Novell in recent history? Yes, historically, Windows has dominated the business market place. However, there’s a new generation of IT professionals entering the work force that aren’t afraid to think different. And they’re buying Macs, or wiping their brand new PC’s and installing their favorite *nix distro. (Ubuntu, BackTrack, CentOS, RHEL, SLED, openSUSE, DSL, BSD, etc.,..) In the very short term, Windows will continue to dominate as the baby boomers finish up their time in the job market. However, when the newer, younger generations come along, they will be, and are, tech savvy enough to use what they like, and not what they’ve been told they have to use. The older generations use Windows because most know nothing else. That can’t be said for the new generations entering the work force. They grow up through school using a blend of Mac’s and Windows Machines. My daughters school is exclusively a Macintosh environment, she has a Windows laptop at home, and she’s 6 years old!! She can, and does work computers better than the pre-retiree’s I call co-workers!!! She’s the future customer you will be wanting to get, and she feels no loyalty to Windows. It’s just a computer to her now, but when she’s old enough to understand the security implications of using Windows, she will then be biased. Security is becoming more and more disconcerting everyday, and with over 30 million know virus’ for Windows, and approximately 30 for Mac, I will repeatedly, no matter where I work, suggest buying and investing in Apple hardware, and the Mac Operating System. (It is worth noting that for about half of the 30, the actual risk of damage is considered, “very low”.)

    I hate to even be the one to tell you this, but if you really want to support everyone, just pour all your effort in to the Web Access. Problem solved!! Unfortunately to date, it’s not any where close to be usable for day to day operations in a business model. Just my 2 cents.

    • By:dlythgoe


      I received your email and saw this blog post. I will reply to your email with the same information. Your passion is obvious and very much appreciated. It is clear you have an excellent understanding of the market, you understand many of our customers needs, and you have a strong loyalty to Novell and its products. Thank you for your comments and insight.

      The GroupWise team has seen the exact same trends within our customers and within the market as a whole. It is something we have been struggling to balance for several years. It may be obvious that balance has not met everyone’s needs yet. Please know that none of your arguments or points are lost on me or the team of talented engineers and product managers. We are constantly discussing how to meet the current GroupWise users’s needs vs. the up and coming GroupWise user’s needs. The top priority shifts constantly from new Windows features to mobility solutions to web solutions to cross platform support. That’s just to name a few…..

      The short answer to all of this is simply to do it all….Continue to build and support a strong Windows desktop client, continue to built and expand support for a Web client, continue to build solutions for Mac, provide new options for Linux, build mobile solutions that include sync, native applications or mobile web applications. The list continues onward and onward. Sometimes the demands are security, sometimes interoperability, sometimes hosted/cloud, and sometimes eDiscovery/Archive/Anti-Spam, etc.

      The struggle is that priorities, expenses, markets, etc. are constantly shifting. As we plan our resources, we take as much of that into consideration as possible. We focused GroupWise 2012 on mostly web and mobile, we focused the recent support packs on tablet support and interoperability with Exchange. We are focusing Windermere on Administration, Active Directory and 64-bit support. All of this in an effort to address as many of the concerns, you expressed, as possible.

      I hope you will see my response not as a rebuttall or argument to anything you have suggested or said. I agree with all of it. The GroupWise team is very dedicated to meeting the needs of its customers and we want to meet your organization’s as well.

      Thank you again for your candor and input!