Appendix C. Open Source and Email

The utility of email-based communications in an enterprise is beyond question. With innovative uses such as monitoring critical systems via email alerts, group communications via carbon copy, and mailing lists, email has been and will continue to be the main application for enterprise-wide collaboration. Here we cover open source email server solutions, mailing list managers, and software that facilitate collaboration.

A Brief History of Email for Enterprise Use

From the very first one sent on Arpanet in 1971 to the billions sent today, email forms the heart of modern electronic communications. The growth of email use follows closely the growth of Internet use in general. As a result, virtually all Internet users rely on email. Early email use was entirely text based, with HTML email gaining prominence in the 1990s.

Graphical email clients appeared in the early 1990s and were a huge success because they made email easier to use. Microsoft Outlook quickly gained a majority of the market share for enterprise use after its first release in 1997. It displaced Eudora and other email clients, because of its superior graphical user interface and its approach to combining email with personal information management activities such as calendaring. Open source graphical clients, such as Novell Evolution and Mozilla Thunderbird, have been steadily gaining ground on Outlook, and they are now ready for prime-time use.

On the email server front, Microsoft Exchange ...

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