Re: [Evolution] Re: [discuss] OO - GROUPWARE - Call for concluison - was: OpenOffice: Say it isn't so.

Agreed! 100%!

Garrett Mickelson

On 05 Feb 2001 15:05:55 -0500, Lloyd Llewellyn wrote:

Lloyd Llewellyn wrote:

I think it would be ignored outside the OO community.  It would carry
more weight if we could say "Here is a real address book implementation.
And by the way, not only does OO support it, but so does Evolution; and
Balsa and a couple other e-mail packages have endorsed the standard and
will support it in their next release."

OK.  Granted that, how do we get there?  OOo is/has a community, ditto Evo,
ditto several others.  And don't forget the iCard/vCard stuff.  But where do they
all talk with each other to arrive at the desired consensus?

That is the $64K question.  Here is my fairy-tale, dream-sequence

== Recognizing The Potential:

Evo and OO both recognize that comprehensive groupware functions GREATLY
enhance the appeal of their respective products:  Evo sees shared
calendars, shared contacts, a user-administered back-end permissions
system, etc. all contribute to making Evo more valuable.  

OO sees that the ability to save OO documents to folder hierarchies on a
groupware server, to do workflow routing of OO documents through a chain
of people in an organization, the ability to publish documents
effortlessly to a corporate intranet or to their website, to store
versions of documents in a central repository for historical purposes -
all these things make OO a much more valuable product.  Groupware can
handle these tasks.

Neither the Evo or OO groups fall into the trap of wanting to control
their own little groupware implementation.  They're smart, and they
realize that whole point of groupware is integrated services for teams.
Groupware depends on communication and transparent sharing of documents.
Evo's got communication, and OO has documents.  An open groupware
standard is a possible eventuality, and they'd rather have a hand in it
than compete against it.  Both groups see that their success hinges on
the success of Linux as a whole, and that the Linux world gains a great
gift if an open groupware standard is realized.    

==  Facing The Reality

Evo and OO realize that building something that competes (at least on
some level) with Exchange and Notes is a significant undertaking.  Their
products are shaping up, but there is still a LOT of work to do.  Time
is of the essence.  Both groups conclude that their time is better spent
working on their core products; but gosh-darn-it, it sure would be nice
to have those back-end features.

== The Light Comes On

Evo and OO know what what open source is all about.  They
advocate/cheerlead/champion an open groupware initiative, put out a call
for developers, post notices on their websites, and sound the general
call to arms:  "We want to free countless corporate employees and system
administrators from the tyrannies of expensive, proprietary groupware
systems and the whims of their vendors!"  To get critical mass, they
might ask some other prominent open source groups - or - gasp - a
standards body - to get on board.

== The Call Goes Out

Evo and OO are pretty well-known among the open source community;
developers hear about this "open groupware standards" thing and become
interested.  The founders of the 20 or so groupware projects that have
languished still-born on sourceforge are reinvigorated by this call to
action, thinking "Hey, I won't be ALONE this time, I'll have Ximian and
OO on my side, and all these other developers are interested too!"  They
call their project sidekicks in on it.  Eventually a persuasive
charismatic (or two) emerges, like a Jobs or de Icaza.  He spreads the
gospel at conventions:  "We're taking it to the next level, people!"

== The Word Is Heard  (or: "Gentlemen: I give you - OOGS!")

Other e-mail client developers hear about this "OOGS" thing ("OOGS is
Open Groupware Standards" :-)):  "They say OOGS lets a user switch
mail/organizer clients without having to re-enter any contacts or
appointments?  And the user can switch right back to the first client if
they don't like the new one without missing a beat?  Man, I better
support this OOGS thing (I know my competition will)!  Luckily it's an
easy-to-use and freely available standard.  This shouldn't be that bad,
and I no longer have to worry about managing addressbooks or calendars

Custom software developers writing workflow applications, who in the
past have relied on Exchange or Notes to underpin their projects (taking
sizable chunks out of their consulting fees) realize that OOGS just
might do the same thing for them for free, if it works.  They devote a
few hours a week to this OOGS thing; their groupware experience has a
positive shaping effect on the OOGS project.

Overseeing and guiding this process are The Evo and OO teams, as the
premier users of OOGS services.  They mentor, and guide, and make known
the kinds of APIs and protocols they would like to see in an OOGS
implementation.  The standard evolves, driven primarily by these two
backers, along with many smaller contributions from other potential
users of OOGS standards.

As Evo and OO's interest in open groupware standards rises, they start
talking to each other more about interoperability.  Neither wants their
fate tied to the fate of the other, but they find areas where they can
cooperate and benefit without risking their own positions.

== Stirrings in the Volcano Island Fortress

The proprietary vendors pretend to ignore OOGS.  They don't even mention
the word.  They forbid their employees to discuss it.  But in the upper
echelons, they're reading everything about OOGS that they can get their
hands on. Extra-double-plus-good lieutentants are permitted to install
the OOGS betas, and submit secret reports to the bigshots.  Finally,
when eWeek or C-Net run an article on it, they break down and issue a

"Open Groupware Standards!  Why, I've never *heard* anything so
preposterous!  It's a fad that will run its course just like... well,
never mind that.  No one would risk their corporate data on a free, open
source product!  Everyone loves closed proprietary systems, a single
server OS, a single desktop OS!"

"And ignore the man behind the curtain!", he adds.

== OOGS 1.0

Finally, OOGS 1.0 is released.  Of course, by this time many have been
experimenting with the Evo / OO / OOGS combo deep in the bowels of their
IT departments.  Some have even been using it for day-to-day work.  A
few brave CIO's conclude: "Say, that Linux web server has been running
just fine; let's give OOGS a try.  Maybe the graphic design people will
stop complaining that they can't access our proprietary groupware
clients with their Macs.  All those propeller-heads in IT will be
tickled silly now that they can use their Linux desktops to access our
groupware services.  (My, how they do go on about that Linux).  And,
what the hell, it's free.  We can always pull the Exchange servers out
of the mothballs if it doesn't work out.  And me?  I can take those
bucks and put them right back on the bottom line where I want them."

Soon,  the world is a brighter place.  Thousands of people are using
OOGS, many of them not knowing it or caring, but nonetheless enjoying
the very real benefits of a choice of
mail/organizer/calendar/document-sharing clients.

And they all live happily ever after.

I"ll leave it to you to decide where the plausibility ends and pure
fantasy begins :-).  But stranger things have happened - and are
happening right now in our midst, I would say.

evolution maillist  -  evolution helixcode com


Garrett Mickelson, Linux Systems Engineer
Telephone: 415.358.2600

Penguin Computing - The World's Most Reliable Linux Systems

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