Let's Bust Through the Last Barriers to Using Linux at Work!!

I've been trying relentlessly for months to completely switch over my company issued computer to GNU/Linux to use as my work machine. Arggh! It's been very frustrating! Everytime I start to figure out a non-Windows path I end up being restricted by applications not playing friendly with Windows.

So what's the problem?
Well there's two major ones actually - Exchange Email System and VPN access

Exchange Email System
For GNU/Linux to be a realistic solution on the work Desktop, it will have to be capable of connecting to the Exchange Server with a Personal Information Manager (PIM) - like Outlook. And don't say that I can just use OWA either OWA SUCKS!! Linux Devs have already started working down this path, I am able to access my email with Evolution (and likely other IMAPI capable PIMs). But we Linux users need a FULL push towards being able to use our machines to connect with the Exchange so we can then be more suited to choose Linux in the workplace.

Where is the Killer app for GNU/Linux that will make it possible for me to use Exchange for Email, Public Folders, Appointments, Notes, and Tasks? If it doesn't exist, please create one!! I say why hasn't this been a priority? Is it because people don't want to waste development time creating an application to fully work with Exchange server? Is there some Licensing restriction for connecting with Exchange server? What's the real story?

(update 01/22/08) - I'm using Mozilla Thunderbird with IMAP, and it works well (ldaps for GAL autocomplete) except I'm still lacking the calendaring component. Setting up IMAP access is pretty straightforward and apparently Ryan Hadley knows a way to setup iCal Calendar access, see his blog entry here.

VPN Access
Checkpoint, Cisco, Firebox, and others - don't tout having VPN clients available for use with GNU/Linux. This needs to change!!

(update 01/22/08) - I'm able to achieve this via loading Windows XP on VMWare server in my Ubuntu 7.10 installation. From the VM I can connect VPN and access the company network.

Run outside yelling at the top of your lungs, start a bonfire, break some glass!!

Let's get this moving and break the barriers for switching to GNU/Linux at the workplace!!

Shannon VanWagner


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