“Outlook alternative”, I typed into Google wondering if there is a substitute for Microsoft Office Outlook on Ubuntu. This, I thought, was the first hurdle I would have to jump before I can implement Ubuntu on my office machine full time.
Of course, I was wrong to think that that was the first hurdle, because connecting to the Microsoft Network is the first hurdle, but an alternative to MS Outlook is the focus of this post so I’ll stick to my erroneous statement for now.
How often do we asks questions of which we’ve had the answers in front of us just the previous evening? Well, that was the case with this question of is there an Outlook alternative on Unbuntu, because not only is the answer “yes there is”, but it is in fact already installed with the default Ubuntu installation and sits in the drop down menu top left of Ubuntu desktop. It’s called Evolution and it looks almost exactly like Microsoft Office, with email, calendars, scheduling, filters, synchronisation, the works.
I can, however, only swear by these facts based on what I’ve read, and seen in screen captures, because I couldn’t actually use mine. I ran the Live CD of Ubuntu in my office computer (which you can do without having to install anything) and I didn’t have the instructions handy for how to connect to the Microsoft Network and the Microsoft Server (without which you can’t progress).
But, am I told through various articles not only on Ubuntu’s Website, but various other websites across the net (interesting comments), Evolution can do what Microsoft Outlook can do, it can connect to the Microsoft Exchange and, as you might have suspected, it’s free.
At this point, I have to apologise for my previous Ubuntu post’s title. I’m a Linux Noob, not a Windows Noob. I’m actually quite proficient on Windows, in fact, I guess when a person has known about Linux and the many, fabulous variants for as long as I have, but have resisted it all this time, you could call them a Windows BOOB. I am thus a Windows Boob, but a Linux Noob.
Pie in the Ubuntu Sky
So with my current burst of Ubuntu Linux induced enthusiasm, which is leading to delusions of grandeur, I have daydreams of converting our entire office network to a no-to-low cost Ubuntu haven of open source software, saving the company gazillions in licensing fees (and virus clean-up fees) in the process. This is severe pie in sky though, because we just shelled out thousands of Ringgit for over 200 Dell computers, which came pre-installed with Vista, but were downgraded to XP with great effort.
That aside, I believe we’re shelling out thousands of Ringgit more for an Exchange 2007 server to compliment the thousands of Ringgit worth of Microsoft Office 2007 software, and on top of that, we just acquired, and are in the process of installing, a multi-million Ringgit Property Management System, which I don’t doubt for a moment doesn’t run on any flavour of Linux.
Taking and devouring the last slice of this pie in the sky is the fact that our IT guys barely know how to deal with Spam and rid our network of viruses (and keep it keep it off), so unless management’s keen to let go all the could-be MCSE’s and hire BOFH’s, a Linux based working environment just isn’t going to happen anytime in the next decade.
Have dream, will dream.
Which brings me back to hurdle 1 and hurdle 0.5 – connecting to the Microsoft Network and replacing Microsoft Outlook. The only thing I had time for was to do a bit of research on how to connect Ubuntu to the Microsoft Network, and apparently this article on the Ubuntu website gives instructions on exactly how to do it.
But, as a Linux Noob (and Windows Boob), I couldn’t really grasp it on the first go, so I’ll have to do a tad bit more research on the subject before I can consider hurdle 0.5 jumped. Once I’m connected to the network, and then hopefully the Internet as well, I should be able to jump hurdle 1 fairly easily.
Hopefully my Ubuntu adventures will benefit somebody else too. Actually, I’m sure I’m not the first to trot this path, so perhaps a little more searching around on the forums are in order.