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Scalix 10 Turns It Up to Eleven

New Server Boasts Cross-Platform Performance

  • February 16, 2006
  • By Brian Proffitt

When you think of Web-based e-mail, images of static text, clunky interfaces, and slow performance may come to mind. Until this week, that was the reality that many of us had to contend with. The release of Scalix 10 promises to radically alter that reality.

The new Scalix product, announced this week at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco, utilizes AJAX-based technology to implement features such as drag-and-drop message handling, real-time searches, and calendar tools. All from your browser on any platform.

Not only that, explained Scalix Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Julie Hanna Farris, the information provided is identical whether users opt for Web, Outlook, or--thanks to the Scalix 10's new ScalixConnect for Evolution--Novell Evolution.

Farris demoed the Web interface client for LinuxPlanet, and the interface was responsive as she proceeded, despite a recalcitrant wireless network at the event. The speed came from the fact that all of the messaging and calendaring data is loaded up front, Farris explained, adding that this also eliminated the ubiquitous "next page" problem found on many Web mail clients.

There was even access to public folders in the Web interface, which gives Scalix client users a form of "lightweight collaboration" as Farris put it.

The Web interface for both messaging and calendaring was simple and clean, with a custom toolbar melded into the browser (in this case, Firefox). Farris indicated no small amount of pride in the Web mail client, saying that many new users were surprised that they were even using a browser.

The Web client is not the only feature of Scalix 10. The server also includes the aforementioned ScalixConnect for Evolution, which will let Linux users use the messaging server using a native client. ScalixConnect for Evolution provides access to integrated email, calendar, and contact data, with full interoperability with Microsoft Outlook and SWA.

Outlook support hasn't been ignored in this new server release. Added support features include digital signatures, group-by and view-by capabilities, faster advanced find, and an advanced rules wizard filter.

Given the work done for all of the clients, it's little wonder that Scalix is pushing this messaging server as a cross-platform solution. The robustness of the Web client alone makes it hard to disagree. Followers of this technology may recall, however, that dynamic Web interfaces are not new to the Scalix product line. JavaScript, Dynamic HTML, and SOAP are all technologies the Scalix development team are familiar with, and Farris emphasized that her team worked hard to convert that technology over to the AJAX system. This, she added, was no easy task.

There are a lot of new players in the open source messaging and collaboration arena these days, such as Zimbra, which gives a hint at why Scalix wants to innovate so quickly. Farris agreed that competition in her company's space is helping to spur Scalix on. But it also tells her she made the right choice in guiding her company in its current direction.

"The more players there are, the more the space is validated," she stated. And it's not like their customer base is slowing down. "We are growing 250% year over year for new customers."

Scalix has done well with open source technology, and Farris wants to do right by it. But given that Scalix is based on the HP OpenMail system, they are not able to completely open the technology's code base, since HP still retains the intellectual property rights for the OpenMail core. For now, Farris emphasized, they are opening as much of their system as they can to the general public, and are providing all of the source code for the product to customers.

Scalix 10 is available immediately, in both the advanced Enterprise Edition and the free, unlimited-use Community Edition that can be downloaded from Scalix's website.

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