Update: Apple’s Activities in Messaging and Collaboration

Tiger (MacOS 10.4) introduced better (but not ideal) integration of Mail.app and iCal with Exchange. Snerdware produces AddressX to which will allow you to access an Exchange GAL via the Apple Address Book. Groupcal (which is not yet compatible with Tiger) allows you to share appointments with Exchange via iCal. Entourage 2004 has Exchange integration including using WebDAV for use with Exchange 2003. There is also an official Mac OS X Lotus client although it has not been updated since mid-2004.

Apple does not currently offer much substantial integrated groupware functionality. There is functionality to share data/messaging on the local network via Rendezvous/Bonjour with a number of applications such as iChat, iPhoto, iTunes and a host of third party applications. For subscribers of its dotMac service, customers can publish calendars to which other users may subscribe, although there is not a simple two way mechanism. Customers may also use the dotMac service to share files via WebDAV with limited access controls.

We don't see much interest on Apple's part of going more "upscale" on the Mac server platform by adding groupware, etc. However, there were a number of new products in the recent Tiger (10.4) sever. These include Postfix for SMTP as the default, Cyrus for IMAP/POP3, a Jabber server using a modified jabberd, and a weblog server using Blojsom (Java-based version of Blosxom) integrated with Apple's Open Directory (a combination of OpenLDAP, Kerberos and Samba with NT domain authentication).

For more on this area, see the  Ferris Research report Recent Innovations in Macintosh Collaboration.

Author: Richi Jennings,
with thanks to Ben Gross and Chris Williams

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