Preview: Aethera Brings Business-Level Contact Management to KDE2
Linux Email for Business
For almost as long as there has been a KDE, there has been talk of the on-again, off-again Magellan project, a unified contact management and email application with some PIM-like features. Every few months discussion of the project would re-emerge on KDE mailing lists, with new rumors of a release Real Soon Now.
In the last six months or so, development activity increased considerably, with Magellan's author, Teodor Mihai (known universally as "Teddy"), working with theKompany.com to bring the project to distributable form. Then, late last fall, what in the movie industry are known as "artistic disagreements" led to a forking of the code. Teddy wanted one user interface, while theKompany.com wanted another. Teddy's project is still called Magellan, while theKompany.com's effort was renamed Aethera. And now an early preview release of it has become available. It shows real promise.
Aethera seeks to provide the functionality of a Lotus Notes or, to a lesser extent, Outlook to the Linux desktop. While not all features are enabled in the first preview release, plans for it are ambitious.
"It's a communications platform; however we have a lot of other things we plan to do with it," says Shawn Gordon, president of theKompany.com. This includes taking full advantage of Aethera's plug-in architecture to let users -- the target audience is small to medium-sized businesses -- add what they need without producing an onerously bulky application. A client-server arrangement is in the works, and while Aethera itself is GPLed, there will be some plug-ins that will be available only for a fee (though developers are of course free to produce others that they can distribute in any way they choose).