It’s the applications, stupid


An article on undeadly.org lists what Echothrust Solutions has done to move to OpenBSD for their client and server needs.  What I find interesting is the list of all the applications they use to solve various problems, including some nontraditional (for open source) things like project management and CRM.

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5 Comments on It’s the applications, stupid

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  1. Joe "Floid" Kanowitz says:

    Okay, time for me to cave and ask this here, though I may have asked most of you already; of course I’ll get booed for preferring GTK, but if a Qt/KDE project works to a significant extent I’ll certainly look into it…

    Are there any address book / contact list frontends out there that suck less than Evolution’s? It’s pretty alarming that Outlook seems to be the best UI out there, when even its UI isn’t especially good. (At least it *does* support different views, and offers some ways to get around arbitrary restrictions on which fields show and which don’t… Looks like Evo is trying to clone it but hasn’t actually implemented much flexibility yet.)

    With all the litigation that goes on in the GNU world, I’d hope there’s a decent solution for a law office out there. (‘CRM’ is overkill, ‘groupware’ is… probably overkill, or at least Evolution moving towards Chandler are probably best for everything *other* than contacts, since both projects are terribly weak in the contact-list department right now)…

    Really, anything that hasn’t been a horror story for a two or three node office with nontechnical users, clue me in.

  2. I’ve never really used address books that much, so I may not be the best person on this, but: Squirrelmail. It works as a web front end, so mail is accessible mostly anywhere, and it has a decent address book mechanism from what I’ve been told.

    I think it may be possible to tie it into LDAP, too. It’s not as pretty as, say, roundcube, but I pick dependable over shiny when it comes to something like mail which should not break.

  3. Joe "Floid" Kanowitz says:

    Heh. That’s the problem, actually — so many address books are tightly integrated with mail systems of one type or another, but what [I/we] care about most are the physical pointers — all five mailing addresses and seven phone numbers for a given person or business, and the ability to search and cut’n’paste such things in a non-completely-ridiculous manner. LDAP should be a fine backend (it seems to allow as many ‘values’ for ‘attributes’ as one wants), but finding a frontend is the hard part. (I did find one nice-looking open source one for Win32 only, ages and ages ago, and promptly forgot the name of it, argh.)

    If Squirrelmail actually works like http://www.squirrelmail.org/images/shots/nodeco/address.jpg , it’s probably a bit limited for this case. :) In fact, the authors of mail clients (e.g. Evolution) commonly fall victim to the idea that e-mail makes all the other information one might be able to cram into a LDAP entry unimportant or obsolete… or at least, that the user only cares about the e-mail address part, because it’s a mail client, after all.

  4. Yeah, LDAP is the answer, but what application is still the question. There may be a plugin for squirrelmail that has an extended address book – unlikely, but worth looking.

  5. Joe "Floid" Kanowitz says:

    Hmm, now that I stop whining and resume looking, candidates are:

    Luma — Py-Qt based, appears flexible yet sane. This is what I thought was available for Win32, maybe it is as well. Since I’m braindead and it’s actually *NIX-first, this one’s getting a shot.

    DirectoryAssistant — For some reason the GNOME world has a tendency to kill address books… Because 2.x became such a major refactoring, GNOME-PIM might have been doomed?, and big name apps like Evolution are supposed to be taking up the slack. This looks like and intends to be a very simple Py-GTK app… so simple that it doesn’t appear to offer a ‘delete’ button. Oops.

    egroupware — Would be the equivalent of Squirrelmail; if I could get over my phobia at configuring httpds just to run simple applications, it might be worth a shot. Like most(?) of the above, screenshots suggests it suffers from one major problem: Cutting and pasting a mailing address looks like it will be somewhere between whitespace and table-element or form-field hell. (Of course, they might have other views for their address book, but if they did, nobody’s posted pictures. Which is why word of mouth is so important with this stuff.)

    KAddressBook — Okay, KDE fans, this one gets it right, and I’ve known it for some time — at the expense of depending on the whole of the KDE libs (as far as Ubuntu’s concerned, haven’t checked pkgsrc), and inheriting some the unpleasant UI features of KDE: “You are in a toolbar of tiny little hieroglyphs, all alike.” Still, it’s not like Outlook *doesn’t* have that, or that they need to be used much, so if Luma fails I think I’ll have to suck it up, even if it means adding another pair of DIMMs to the workstations.

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