Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
“By the way, can you recommend an open source programme to match Microsoft Outlook?” The request came this morning on my Facebook wall from an old friend named Brian. And since it was recently Brian’s birthday, and he was named Citizen of the Year on Australia Day, I thought he deserved a decent answer.
The question is asked regularly. It is asked by those who would prefer not to purchase Outlook, presumably for financial reasons. It is asked by those who are sick of Outlook, either because of performance issues once it hits a few thousand emails, or a lack of confidence in Microsoft’s software or reputation. The question is asked very regularly on the OpenOffice.org mailing lists. OpenOffice.org provides an alternative to every component in Microsoft Office except Outlook.
But the question can be difficult to answer. Besides email, people use Outlook for all sorts of reasons, and the alternatives may not cover the feature set identically. Some people need to be able to connect to a corporate Exchange server. Others love the calendar and to do list. Still others appreciate the way Microsoft Office apps work together, and compose their emails in Microsoft Word. Some own a Windows Mobile device they want to synchronise with their desktop.
So before Window shopping through the alternatives below, spend a few minutes and try to identify the key features of Outlook that you use and rely on daily.
Here are five open source programs (and two additional options) that are alternatives to Microsoft Outlook.