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A Different Perspective On Snow Leopard's Exchange Support 276

Posted by timothy
from the your-jeans-are-100pct-patches dept.
imamac writes "Apple Insider has an interesting perspective on the MS Exchange support built into Mac OS X 10.6 and how it essentially frees Apple from all things Microsoft: 'Windows Enthusiasts like to spin Apple's support for Exchange on the iPhone and in Snow Leopard as endorsement of Microsoft in the server space. From another angle, Apple is reducing its dependence upon Microsoft's client software, weakening Microsoft's ability to hold back and dumb down its Mac offerings at Apple's expense. More importantly, Apple is providing its users with additional options that benefit both Mac users and the open source community.'"
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A Different Perspective On Snow Leopard's Exchange Support

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  • by 1alpha7 (192745) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:14PM (#29327601) Homepage
    "The Linux community, along with Google's new Android mobile platform, offer even less in terms of minimum standards and quality control, resulting in software that is often free but usually unfinished and typically inaccessible to anyone outside of dedicated tinkerers and hobbyists. While examples of fine open source client software exists, there is no available market driving this kind of development financially."

    Lost in space? Does he use the same stuff I do?
  • by quanticle (843097) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:16PM (#29327615) Homepage

    I'm not sure I understand the article's contention that Exchange support frees Apple users from Microsoft. After all, the Exchange protocol is still proprietary and under exclusive control of Microsoft. As long as this is the case, Microsoft is free to change the Exchange protocol to freeze out third party clients.

    Yes, Apple's increased support for the Exchange protocol may improve the user experience when dealing with Exchange servers. However, it does nothing to actually free users from Microsoft.

    • by TheSunborn (68004) <tiller@[ ]mi.au.dk ['dai' in gap]> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:20PM (#29327639)

      It frees apple from needing Microsoft software on the client.

      And they did license the access to exchange from Microsoft, so they can't just lock them out.

      • by quanticle (843097) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:36PM (#29327755) Homepage

        Even so, it still doesn't guarantee access to any enhancements that Microsoft may make to Exchange/Outlook. If Microsoft adds a feature that only Outlook can access (e.g. a feature that cannot be accessed via MAPI or Exchange Web Services), then Apple is still frozen out from that feature. So, unless Microsoft commits to completely separating Outlook and Exchange, and making the interface between the two fully documented, now and into the future, there's still the possibility (or, rather, probability) that Apple's mail clients will fall behind Outlook in features.

        • by PhunkySchtuff (208108) <kai@automatica.comFREEBSD.au minus bsd> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:08PM (#29327961) Homepage

          A feature that can't be accessed by MAPI? Just how do you think Outlook talks to Exchange?
          I think you mean IMAP and DAV there...

          • by quanticle (843097)

            Its true that Outlook *currently* uses MAPI and DAV. However, that doesn't have to remain the case. If Microsoft adds a feature to Exchange and Outlook that requires the use of some other protocol, Apple's mail client (and all other clients) will be locked out.

            As I said above, unless Microsoft guarantees that the Exchange API will always be fully documented, there's always the chance that new features will use some other protocol (or a modified version of the current protocol). In other words, as long as t

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Even so, it still doesn't guarantee access to any enhancements that Microsoft may make to Exchange/Outlook.

          Have you read Apple's licensing agreement with Microsoft or something? I'm sure they have lawyers that have checked they have terms to make sure things like that don't happen.

      • by jellomizer (103300) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:18PM (#29328027)

        I don't see it locking out Microsoft. But for the most part Microsoft doesn't really want to make Mac Software, but they do, as it is profitable, and prevents the Full Switch.

        Dropping Office will hurt Microsoft More then it will hurt Apple (and it will hurt both) If you dropped Office then there will be a bunch of people with Macs who will email people back and say I need this in a different format. So people will become more use to converting documents. So when people get into the habit of say saving their Docs as PDF etc... They will find that other tools will work just as well.

        Dropping Remote Desktop will hurt Microsoft Too. RDP keeps the Mac User Pacified while he is working on remote windows systems. So they will keep the windows terminal servers knowing that they won't get to much hassle from the Mac users.

        Dropping Microsoft Messager is kinda a stupid idea. So much competiton if there was to many people say hey I cant do that. They will just switch.

        If you realized Microsoft did Drop IE for Mac. Why well it wasn't updated and second IE is no longer a key to Microsoft Business as Web Developers started to make more browser compatible sites. And relied much less on Microsoft only tools. So when Safari came out there was no point in fighting it. It is just an expense with no gain.

        Exchange is only really useful for corporate use hindering such functionality to the Mac would cause people to switch to such oddities such as Gasp LDAP and other tools.

        Mac is the second largest OS for personal use out there. There is enough vocal to cause change if it spoke loud about it. Linux users you are still around 1% so your cry goes to deaf ears.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by VGPowerlord (621254)

          If you realized Microsoft did Drop IE for Mac. Why well it wasn't updated and second IE is no longer a key to Microsoft Business as Web Developers started to make more browser compatible sites. And relied much less on Microsoft only tools. So when Safari came out there was no point in fighting it. It is just an expense with no gain.

          Really? I thought Microsoft dropped IE for Mac because Apple was doing to Microsoft what Microsoft had done to Netscape.

          That is to say releasing a better browser and shipping it

      • Yeah, and Apple licensed Java from Sun. That hasn't helped in getting a recent Java build on osx now has it? 2-3 years their exchange support will be in a similar situation. If I'm a mac user that needs exchange support, I'm still buying Outlook for mac.
    • by ejdmoo (193585) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:25PM (#29327669)

      There is no single "Exchange Protocol." What you might be talking about is MAPI, the protocol Outlook uses to talk to Exchange (and the oldest protocol Exchange supports, I believe). MAPI is full documented on MSDN, and there are a number of open source implementations of MAPI (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAPI [wikipedia.org]).

      However, the Exchange support in Snow Leopard doesn't use MAPI, it uses Exchange Web Services, which is also open and documented on MSDN.

      • They are implementing this via a custom conduit that uses WEBDAV. It's not clear if this requires anything installed on the server side, if so then its a non-starter for most folks. For Apple PC's you're probably better off simply using the webmail interface anyway. This does provide a means for mobile sysems such as phones or laptops to actually download the messages.

        • by chihowa (366380) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:07PM (#29327955)

          They are implementing this via a custom conduit that uses WEBDAV. It's not clear if this requires anything installed on the server side, if so then its a non-starter for most folks. For Apple PC's you're probably better off simply using the webmail interface anyway. This does provide a means for mobile sysems such as phones or laptops to actually download the messages.

          Snow Leopard's Exchange support works very well for connecting to my department's servers, and they're about as anti-Apple as you can get. They absolutely refuse to even make the smallest config changes to allow non-Outlook clients to connect (ie. Entourage) and I can connect flawlessly (AFAIK...). I have mail support, calendar support (with functioning invited events), tasks/todo support, contacts and access to the global address books, all through Apple's standard applications. They may be implementing this through a WebDAV backed conduit, but as far as functionality goes, this is the real deal.

          • by alen (225700)

            that's because most times it means opening up all kinds of security nightmares. when iphone 3G's first came out and people bought them, some thought we would actually open up imap through the firewall so they could access their emai

            • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:41PM (#29328143)

              If you consider IMAP to be a "security nightmare", I'm wondering why you allow anyone to access your exchange server at all.

              If MS can't get IMAP to work securely, what makes you think they can do any better with any other protocol?

              • by rabbit994 (686936)

                IMAP isn't really security nightmare unless you don't encrypt it and that's pretty trivial in Ex2007.

                Biggest issue with IMAP access is lack of ActiveSync and with that ability to push basic security policies to the phone and brick the phone in case of theft or being misplaced. That's what caused my company not to open up IMAP access. We didn't have any way to remote kill the phone. Once ActiveSync support was available, we had no issues with permitting it.

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                I'm guessing "security nightmare" really means "getting the CEO to stop using 12345 as his password."

            • by MeNeXT (200840)

              that's because most times it means opening up all kinds of security nightmares. when iphone 3G's first came out and people bought them, some thought we would actually open up imap through the firewall so they could access their emai

              God forbid! Giving people access to their email over the Internet? What will it be next, the corporate website? Can you imagine the security nightmare?

    • by raddan (519638) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:35PM (#29327741)
      Does anyone here know if Microsoft is being required to license ActiveSync under the terms of their antitrust settlement? I suspect that Microsoft is now prohibited from changing the protocol in any kind of blatantly anticompetitive way, especially given that they've licensed it out to paying customers. Given their past behavior, though, this still might not stop them.

      For IT shops, though, being able to connect to Exchange without Outlook is a huge enabler. Entourage 2008 is much better than the previous Mac OS X offerings, but it still sucks in some big ways (e.g., free/busy in multi-domain ADs). I just got my copy of 10.6 on Friday. If it turns out to work better than Entourage, you can bet your ass we'll buy more Macs the next time around. OpenOffice is already at feature parity with MS Office as far as we're concerned.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fluffy99 (870997)

        Outlook is not a hard requirement for accessing an Exchange server mailbox. There's plenty of other options such as imap, webmail, pop3/smtp, etc. If you want the full experience and features you gotta use Outlook though.

        I disagree the OpenOffice is at feature parity with MSOffice. It's still not even terribly compatible as documents don't always flow the same when viewed or printed with either platform. It may be better than anything else on Linux or Apple, and work just fine for a lot of folks, but it

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FictionPimp (712802)

          I don't think feature parity means you can use MS office documents. Feature parity means you can do anything in open office that you can do in MS office.

          I don't use either, so I can't comment on that.

          • by fluffy99 (870997)

            I don't think feature parity means you can use MS office documents. Feature parity means you can do anything in open office that you can do in MS office.

            You're right that I did mix feature sets with interoperability. Both are valid points. There are still lots of things you can do with MS Office that you can't in Open Office. I'll be honest and say I use both. I like OO for basic stuff like simple word documents at home. I don't use it at work because the features simply aren't there. Impress and calc are toys compared to MS Office.

            The only thing OO has going for it is the price and multi-OS support. It's quickly becoming slow and bloated though.

          • by dbIII (701233)
            Any long term MS Office user knows that their macros only have a very short life anyway. If they don't break in the next version of MS Office they break in the one after that. Expecting openoffice to support that entire menagerie when MS Office doesn't is a bit of an unrealistic expectation.
        • by rsborg (111459) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:54AM (#29329509) Homepage

          Outlook is not a hard requirement for accessing an Exchange server mailbox. There's plenty of other options such as imap, webmail, pop3/smtp, etc

          Ok, let's look at the options:

          1. POP3 - you better hope that you you never get those "gallstone" emails that clog up your pipes (ie, your boss emails you the 100MB photo gallery from the company party - as a zipfile)
          2. IMAP - I have tried it at my company's system (tried using Thunderbird), and it kept giving me a weird "message not read" error on each sync. Could never get rid of it, even after doing traces and deleting suspect emails on the server
          3. webmail - ok, on a non-IE browser, this is really weak, like worse than hotmail/yahoo kind of weak.

          I've tried all the options, and I keep having to come back to using Outlook... I really look forward to a working Mail.app exchange-compliant connection.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dhalka226 (559740)

      I'm not sure I understand the article's contention that Exchange support frees Apple users from Microsoft.

      It doesn't free Mac users from Microsoft; it frees potential Mac users from Microsoft. Most people don't particularly care about whether something is capital-F Free and so they don't really care if they depend on Microsoft. Hell, by buying a Mac they're largely dependent on Apple. Chances are the average user has a handful of apps that make them dependent on a handful of other companies. And for the

    • The first thing my CIO said (10,000 employee company) was, "great, now I can wipe the last Microsoft products off my hard drive."
    • by MrZaius (321037)

      However, it does nothing to actually free users from Microsoft.

      It does something: For any user with no administration responsibilities, this makes it possible to completely avoid directly running or ,in the case of organizations that allow personally-owned equipment on their network, purchasing any Microsoft product. Freedom is relative, but this is change is certainly a noticeable one.

  • by ejdmoo (193585) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:19PM (#29327635)

    The article says:
    "Apple built its support for Exchange using WebDAV..."

    Untrue. The Exchange support for Snow Leopard was built using Exchange Web Services, just like the next version of Microsoft's client, Entourage.

  • Particularly when the MS monopoly trial was going on, there were discussions here on Slashdot about why MS has such a strangle hold on the OS market.

    Everything always came down to "because only Windows really supports Exchange."

    Well well.

  • by alen (225700) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:35PM (#29327745)

    there is an exchange client on over 40 million iphones and ipods. even though people don't use it MS still get paid. Just like the old days when they would get paid from Dell for every PC no matter what the OS. Google is licensing ActiveSync as well for Android and Docs so MS gets paid again. Palm licenses AS as well.

    It's pretty much a given that Apple is not going into the server business so MS is safe on that end.

    The big loser is RIM. I bet MS was scared with the BB's success because it puts the importance of email on the phone, and not the server or client. people didn't care what server software ran the email as long as they could get emails anywhere. and since BES supported almost every email server it made migration a lot easier. Just try to migrate to a Linux mail server when all the users are using Pre's and iPhones to get email on the road

    • Uh... apple do make servers, and they have a version of the OS for servers. Just fyi. http://www.apple.com/uk/xserve/ [apple.com] http://www.apple.com/uk/server/macosx/ [apple.com]
      • by alen (225700) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:12PM (#29327993)

        xservers are crap compared to HP and dell. 1U server with only 3 drives is a joke. nehalem server and no support for 144GB of RAM? i just priced out 1U HP servers a few days ago and they can go to 144GB of RAM in a 1U server with 8 hard drives. and Apple only sells 1U servers and no blades. unless you are strictly an OS X shop or need OS X for something there is no reason to even consider Apple for anything serious

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SaDan (81097)

          Considering the Xserve I manage in the office seems to handle all the functionality required to support network logins with roaming profiles for all of the users and workstations, I could care less what HP or Dell have to offer.

          All of our production servers run Linux on the "big" servers from HP. The office machines are more than well supported by the Xserve hardware we have.

          You don't buy an Xserve because it smokes everything else out there in raw hardware performance numbers. You buy one because it is r

      • by alen (225700) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:15PM (#29328005)

        not to mention the apparent lack of 24x7 onsite support. i know someone who works in a Dell server shop and everything they buy comes with 27x7 4 hour response time onsite support. if anything in the server breaks, someone is onsite within 4 hours to replace it

    • by MeNeXT (200840)

      Just try to migrate to a Linux mail server when all the users are using Pre's and iPhones to get email on the road

      ????
      Where's the issue?

      My iPhone accesses 6 different servers to get email. Makes my life simple without mixing stuff up and not needing to download all. It's a none issue. It's been my experience that the only people who suffer most of these compatibility issues are the ones who are tying themselves into proprietary solutions. 2 of which are Linux, 2 are FreeBSD, one is Exchange and one I never bothered to even check.

    • Companies love RIM/Blackberry and choose the devices especially for the amazing level of Exchange support.

      Nokia provides Exchange sync on Symbian for years, for free in enterpise (E) models. Who cares? They go and buy Windows Mobile or Blackberry handsets.

      When you talk about exchange support, don't forget how old fashioned and stupid these companies are for using a non standard protocol while open, documented things exist for years now. Don't expect them to move to Snow Leopard or even iPhone just because s

  • by onlyjoking (536550) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:36PM (#29327753)
    I haven't upgraded to Snow Leopard yet but as far as I'm concerned unless Apple has fixed the dire state of its SMB networking all talk of Exchange support is whistling in the wind.
    • Re:Fix SMB first (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mortonda (5175) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:29PM (#29328077)

      What SMB problems? My MBP connects just fine to all te shared drives around, and when I connect to a new network, it shows all the available shares very quickly.

      Compare that to a XP install that repeatedly tells me that "I don't have the necessary permissions" to view the public, no password share.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:22PM (#29328041)

    Are there really hordes of grassroots windows partisans? I can see people who use it because they find the alternatives worse or impractical, or even people who kind of like using it. But Enthusiasts? Is it the same sort of person who joins the College Republicans, and the Comcast Fan Club?

    • by dangitman (862676)

      But Enthusiasts? Is it the same sort of person who joins the College Republicans, and the Comcast Fan Club?

      Pretty much, but they certainly exist. They also appear to be the biggest zealots in the industry - much worse than Apple or Linux fanboys. Only Richard Stallman could possibly top them. A good starting point for investigating this species might be the commentators at Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows [winsupersite.com]. It's super!

  • by weave (48069) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:26PM (#29328057) Journal
    The Mac version of MS terminal server client is horrible -- it lacks ability to connect to a corporate TS gateway. Yet another limited app to make it appear Macs are not pro-business. So can Apple do up one of those as well? Please?
    • Howso? Although my experience with the application in question is somewhat limited, I've always understood it to be just as full-featured as its Windows counterpart.

      Could you possibly have VPN issues instead? There are a number of windows-only proprietary VPN clients that don't play nicely with macs.

      • by weave (48069) *

        Nope. [microsoft.com]

        A TS gateway sits in a DMZ zone to allow connections from outside a firewall. It also provides several other advancements, like enforcing only clients with up-to-date virus software can connect. VPN in might work unless the TS gateway is required for internal machines as well, which is the case at some companies.

    • by alen (225700)

      TS on Windows is just Citrix lite and MS licenses it from Citrix. You have to install it first if you install Citrix's products as well.

      Apple probably needs to pay Citrix some more cash for more features

  • by moosesocks (264553) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:44PM (#29328155) Homepage

    It's been mentioned elsewhere (but not here as far as I can tell) that this development is particularly notable, given that Windows doesn't support Exchange out of the box. You need Office for that.

    • by alen (225700)

      IE + OWA

      Mac's cost a lot more than your typical corporate Windows PC as well so it's not like people will save money by going to Mac. And HR won't care that Mac's come with Garage Band

      • by WMD_88 (843388)
        OWA works on Firefox, too.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Phroggy (441)

          Sort of. OWA gives you a stripped-down interface if you're using Firefox, Safari or any other browser besides IE. On Exchange 2003 if you've never used IE you might not be aware of this; on Exchange 2007 it tells you on the login page that you can only use the Lite version.

      • Who cares what the human resource department thinks of the software that comes on the computers around the office? Is computer buying a responsibility of your organization's HR department? Glad I don't work where you work.
    • both, but only if you're a quantum computer.
    • It's been mentioned elsewhere (but not here as far as I can tell) that this development is particularly notable, given that Windows doesn't support Exchange out of the box. You need Office for that.

      Windows also cannot open Word, Excel, or Powerpoint files out of the box. You need Office for that. Ubuntu, on the other hand, opens them just fine (for certain values of fine mind you).

  • I feel so lucky, that even though 99.9 percent of our IT is based on MS Windows, I can peacefully develop in non-MS languages (php,perl mainly) with mostly free development tools. Even though I use 2 Macs at the office and 2 others at home, I have no problems or interoperability problems whatsoever. No one forces me to use Word, Exchange (pop/imap is just lovely) or anything that would be a problem on a Mac. In months the first problem I faced was an invitation (calendar event) my Thunderbird did not quite

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