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One month with Spicebird. The conclusion

So, that's the month done. Using Spicebird for emailing, caledars and, I'd hoped, blogging. Overall, for a pre-version-1.0 piece of software, it's very good.

Mail-wise, didn't have a problem. IMAP access to gmail and my works Groupwise mail worked very well for me - it usually notified me of mail before my Google desktop gadget had a chance. I don't have Groupwise notifications switched on as they come in the form of an irritating pop-up window that hogs the focus and distracts you, so it was good to have an unobtrusive notification for the works email.

Once it had the details of the LDAP server, it was able to access my works address book more reliably and stably than the Groupwise address book. The only downside to addressing was that it didn't do this automatically through the fields where addresses are input. But that's a minor irritation as all addresses here have the same format.

So mail-wise it's a winner. Simple interface, nice notifications. Good.

Calendars... 2-way access to my Google calendar. Excellent. No-way access to my Groupwise calendar. Not a shock. Groupwise is pretty bloody insular about everything. Read-only access to the works iCal calendar. This is probably down to how I've got the calendar set up (as an iCal feed from a Drupal website) but it's perfect for making sure everyone has access to the events. Groupwise 7 can't do this without taking the calendar feed, saving it as a file and then opening that file from within Groupwise. This is a feature due to be introduced in Groupwise 8 (which won't talk to our PostOffice yet). Turning emails into appointments was good and the email part of the program made a good stab at picking up on meetings mentioned in emails and suggesting you turned them into appointments. Very slick. Groupwise can do this but it's not as slick.

Calendar-wise, then, it's better than Groupwise in some ways. It won't work in our set-up as we all need to be on the same calendar system otherwise things like the busy search don't work.

Blogging. I was hoping to be able to blog from within Spicebird but that feature doesn't work yet. I suspect there's a way to convert Deepest Sender (the Firefox LiveJournal extension I'm writing this from) to work within Spicebird. That's the beauty of working off a common code base. And working with Open Source Software! I couldn't imagine being able to blog from within Groupwise.

All told then, I'd definitely go back to Spicebird. I'll be watching for future releases and trying each of them as they hit the mirrors. It's one of those pieces of software that's almost there. Kinda like Windows, really. Linux is already there.

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