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Ximian Releases Evolution 1.0

Open-source solutions vendor Ximian (http://www.ximian.com) has unveiled the 1.0 version of Ximian Evolution, a personal and workgroup information management solution for Linux- and Unix-based systems. The much anticipated product suite integrates email, calendar, contact, and task-list management.

Creators of a graphical desktop environment based on the GNOME project, Ximian is leading the open source charge with applications for end-users and corporate customers. According to Nat Friedman, the company's co-founder and vice president of product development, the Evolution suite is the result of two years of open source development with broad community support.

"Ximian is addressing the major challenges to open source desktop adoption: usability, productivity application availability, interoperability, and software management," Friedman says. "The release of Ximian Evolution 1.0 is both a milestone achievement for the company and a key last piece of the puzzle for the open desktop; Linux and UNIX users and workgroups now have the complete, elegant email and information management solution they've needed."

Comprising more than 750,000 lines of code, and providing fairly standard PIM/email client functionality, Evolution seems to want to be the Outlook of the Linux/Unix world. Friedman estimates that there are more than 100,000 people using Evolution.

The company also announced the availability of the Ximian Connector for Microsoft Exchange, which allows Linux and UNIX users to manage personal information and collaborate with co-workers using Microsoft Exchange 2000. The Ximian Connector tackles a key interoperability problem for companies looking to deploy the Linux desktop.

Of the two announcements, the release of the Exchange connector may be the more significant in terms of the company's future—or at least the most attention getting. Evolution is free software licensed under the terms of the GPL, but the connector product is a proprietary add-on, and users have to pay for it. This mix of proprietary and open source represents a new business model for Ximian. How the open-source community will react to the new model remains to be seen.

Evolution 1.0 is available for download for free from the Ximian site. It will also be part of the two boxed versions of Ximian Desktop, which sells for $29.95 in the Standard Edition, and $49.95 in the Professional Edition. The Ximian Connector will sell for $69 per seat.

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About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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