Q

What's up with the Chandler e-mail client?

I've heard a little about Chandler, a new e-mail client and more, that is supposed to be moving into test state in 2005. What can you tell me about the project, and how do you think it will compare with similar products?

Chandler is the code name for an open source Personal Information Manager (PIM) from the Open Source Application Foundation (OSAF). It is intended for use in everyday information and communication tasks, such as composing and reading e-mail, managing an appointment calendar and keeping a contact list. The vision extends to making Chandler a platform for developing information management applications. Chandler is currently in early stage development for Windows, Mac, and Linux-based PCs.

The OSAF website has a wealth of information about the project vision and the current development status. The information tells me two things. First, they have a very strong team with a clear vision and are making solid progress working in an open source framework. Second, they're working in a very important and challenging product space. Today's workers expect a lot of functionality from e-mail, calendaring and PIM software including such features as integration across multiple calendaring systems, PDA integration and management/searching large amounts of email, calendar and contact data.

The immediate comparisons for Chandler are with Microsoft Outlook on Windows and Novell Evolution on Linux. Outlook and Evolution set a high bar for personal productivity, though neither rate as multi-platform solutions. The growing diversity of desktops creates an opportunity that Chandler seems uniquely qualified to solve. Further, the Chandler client is strongly focused on messaging, calendaring and information sharing standards.

As you mention, the software is not end-user ready today but is expected in 2005. Like you, I will continue to monitor Chandler's progress.


This was first published in September 2004

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