Idea ID: 2743232

Why it makes sense for GroupWise to build a new client as part of LibreOffice

Status : Waiting for Votes
Waiting for Votes
See status update history
over 1 year ago

In this competitive world of email systems the one that owns the ecosystem owns the users. Obviously moving to Exchange/O365 (or Google systems for that matter) makes sense if you are a Microsoft Office dependant company as of course Outlook is an integrated part of that system. As the GroupWise client is not only visually but also from an integrations standpoint lacking in such ecosystem, moving to Exchange means moving off from any MF solution. In closed systems there is near no room left for competitors, nor for choise.

As there are a lot of (hosted/onprem) email solutions to choose from, how can GroupWise stay relevant? GroupWise would need an Office-like ecosystem around in which an end user feels comfortable. LibreOffice can provide such and could brings a rich MS Office/Google like expirience once settled.

Once we get over the idea to leave the current GroupWise Windows client for what it is and start over based on a framework of a well established (Libre)Office suite I believe this brings what it takes to get GroupWise back as an alternative for current competitors. Sure others could and would provit too from such developments, but having something to choose from does also benfit GroupWise and the Enterprise Messaging Suite (EMS) it's part of. It's obvious LibreOffice is and open source project, so there has to be worked with that community to get this done. The Office part is the most important piece missing in GroupWise and the EMS, but as we already started integrating LibreOffice Online by adding the Secure Content Editor Appliance (which is provided by Collabora Online(COOL)) to TeamWorks and Filr so the first pieces are already there. As LibreOffice is running on Mac/Win/Lin that would secure a cross platform client solution for the long term and honoring the higest voted requests for non-Windows support;

Tough on short term it would take quite some time to develop, I would expect long term that get's less as with LibreOffice more developing partners will maintain the new code at least making sure that what is there is stable and well tested by a huge community. This stable base should be good enough to create enterprise supported clients from for Micro Focus to distribute as part of their GroupWise and EMS solution. As mentioned the COOL solution is already a partnership currently, so could the new client be a part in their long term supported Collabora Office for governments and companies. In the EMS this would complement working off- and online, on any device and leveraging open standards. This collaboration eco-system can be managed by ZENworks and secured by NetIQ solutions which gives MF a way to provide a full ecosystem again.

So, how would this work:
* Start with a new module in LibreOffice called "Contact", complementing Writer/Calc/Impress/etc. Contact-management is the centerpiece of a solution (opinion), this allows accessing, syncing and managing contact information which then can be used in any module for sharing, communication/interacting and as a part of document merges. In the LO Online version the Contact-API allows you to access your contacts from within any module so you can do document merges easily in Online-mode too.
* The Contact module has multiple tab's allowing access to email, calendar, tasks, notes, message(r)s, etc. This is the part that is not much different from what we are used to in the GroupWise Client today. This is the part that is all open source and for that could be used to add multiple tab's of each to be able to access multiple systems at the same time, which could be multiple GroupWise mailboxes or any POP/IMAP or online accounts a user has, well depending on modules privides by Micro Focus and other developing partners and/or the community. Depending how the plugin-infra is setup MF could obviously choose to create closed plugin's and leave other (IMAP, NNTP etc) plugin's up to the community, but my idea is to have a more open and common infra for email, calendar, task which supports the end-users common expirience that will offer. Tough open source plugins could still offer a calendar for like GroupWise which has multi user options embedded and a more simple calendar plug for other purposes. Having a more open infra allows for expermiments by the community.
* The Contact module's core should have a plugin that carries the hart of access to GroupWise (GroupWise client protocol) and should run on any platform. Depending on how it's developed it could be either open or closed source, think we prefer to open it up so it can be build as part of the solution, or only as part of the MF provided binaries. Maybe something with on- and offine mode needs to be part of this in case we want offine mode to be a part of the GroupWise access plugin. From a cross platform perspective I would suggest to leverage the default LO Database, but that could also be GroupWise's (wasn't that use dby eDirectory today and open sourced a while back? It at least runs on all targetted platforms).
* We need a plugin infra for 3th parties so they can ty into the solution, but this could also be leveraged for Micro Focus provided solutions like Vibe/Filr/Retain/SMG etc plugin's. There's a host of 3th parties providing language correction solutions, access to CRM's, etc.

This may not be all, but at least the centerpiece of the idea.

As part of the move to the new idea system comments and votes (8 in the last 20 days) have been lost, to reflect the comment history I'll add those here:
----- Thomas S -----
Great idea!
----- Mario v -----
Really godd idea!! Something has to happen in order to stay alive in this eco system!
----- Mario v -----
We just really hope that MF will not just wait until this idea gets enough votes but just see from a business view that GroupWise is seriously dying and something needs to happen!!!


Windows Client
  • Perhaps, a competing product to MS Office. Lebre and GroupWise could fill that need.

  • I really think this an awesome idea. By moving in that direction, Micro Focus opens the doors of opportunity to pick up new accounts. There needs to be another player in the market.

    Along with this, perhaps an SDK for intigrating with major software packages, ie: Salesforce, etc.

  • a very good idea and please, please bring back the linux client within.

  • Hi ,

    While your points are fair an valid my opinion is this idea is not dictating as it was created to offer a vision and builds a case why that might actually work. That differs from the idea's that just dictate "I need a Mac client" and "I need a Linux client". While true, it's in the end all about ecosystem that builds a solution, not about the product on it own; like the client has so much to offer. While the client has it's strong points, so far there's little that convinced customers to stay with GW because a client is just a piece of a product. To be honest most customers/end-users I talk to use strong wording to describe why they do not like the client. Reality is customers move away from Micro Focus because it offers products, not solutions. Painfully in this Corona crisis time GW customers start using more like Teams and Zoom cause Micro Focus has no Video Call solution in their (rather large) collaboration portfolio. The GW Messenger has seen all corners of the corporation but still lacks integration in any of Teamworks/Filr/Vibe/Zenworks which all have their own chat or comment systems. No way for guest access. The irony is Vibe once had conferencing and while Skype was quite popular at the time an alternative was never added to the portfolio. This is the last push that customers needed to move away.

    We all know the excuses why "it" cannot be done; like resources and roi. This is an issue of the present, not one of the past when unfortunate decisions were made. Where's roi when customers walk away? We've been discussing things for over a decade now, back then there was still a large group of customers.

    I suppose you remember GW@HOME like I do, so even such a relative simple move to give a "free" client to end-users is not just magically gonna work. It was a good idea back then and could have worked at the time but I'm pretty sure it will not work out today and even if I doubt it would drive the sales of GW. Fwiw Mozilla Thunderbird would be a much better fit for those users who need a free client; besides open source it supports multiple platforms today and has a lot to offer including an existing community. Sure, I could have made the suggestion to make TB the new GW client, but I think that will not work long term for the reasons described in the idea.

    You do not have to loose tight integration when leveraging an open platform. That is a matter of how you implement the pieces. For example Collabora Office is a commercial branch of LibreOffice where they add new functions and fixes in their current codebase for their paying customers and then after that add those upstream to LibreOffice so it ends up in the next version. Will this all be easy, sure not; for example you have to convince the community that adding "LibreOffice <Contact>" to the suite is a great idea. That will only work if there is commitment, trust and something in for everyone. Assuming they do not accept that as it may not be the Document Foudation's priority you can still build on their codebase and have like "GroupWise Contact" which then at least looks the same and you can still add the needed integrations in LibreOffice by enabling those with a checkbox (fe). The point of my idea was to add LibreOffice as the centerpiece of the collaboration products like Office is that of Microsoft's and Google etc has their ecosystem's center.

    All may be mood points anyway as PM has made pretty clear there are no plans to create any new client.

  • In general, I don't like dictating how to implement a particular idea and would rather make a case for why a particular idea is needed. Once that is done I'm happy to offer some suggestions on how the idea might be implemented...

    It is clear to me from many of the ideas that have been created that customers want and need a full-featured GroupWise Client that is supported on a number of platforms other than Windows. As I see it, from a Micro Focus perspective, there are two main issues:

    • The ROI when compared to other GroupWise initiatives.
    • How to best achieve this with the limited number of available resources.

    While an open source client has its appeal we must remember that the main function of the GroupWise Client is to interact with the GroupWise server. If it were to become a fully Open Source application it may no longer to be possible to maintain that tight integration. I do like the idea of being able to integrate third party add-ons but not if it means compromising the integrity of the application.

    Compared to other email clients, the GroupWise Client has a lot to offer. Perhaps it could be made available to individuals as a stand alone email client for POP/IMAP access to increase GroupWise awareness and hopefully drive future sales...