What GroupWise Has that Outlook Doesn't ...



A Forum reader recently asked:

"Help! We are long-time GroupWise users (dating back to 1992 with WordPerfect Office). Now it appears that managment may get swayed to switch over to Exchange/Outlook. Is there a GREAT article that lists side by side the features that Groupwise HAS that Exchange/Outlook DOESN'T? Thanks!"

And here's the response from Lori Quinn ...


Yes, there are features that Outlook/Exchange has that GroupWise does not, and we hear about those all the time. What we don't hear is the dozens of client features lost when you go to Exchange/Outlook. Let's face it, the people asking to go to Outlook are end users, not IT people. So it's the features that matter to them.

Here's a few highlights of features lost when moving to Outlook ...

1) Cannot silently retract messages. Outlook can retract, but whether successful or not, the recipient knows that the attempt was made (and the attempt includes the subject line).

2) Tracking sent items: Outlook sends copies of messages to every recipient; it is not a link as it is in GroupWise. Therefore, if you want to know if someone opened or received your email, you must ask for a receipt at the time you send it. However, not getting a receipt back does not mean the email delivery failed. It could be that the recipient's system doesn't want to give you back a receipt (Outlook users can make that choice themselves, separate from their server). Additionally, GroupWise users often track a
message to see that it was deleted and never opened - or that the message had been replied to. You'll never be able to tell that with Outlook.

3) Viewing attachments: In Outlook, attachments must be opened or saved. There are no viewers. So if you get an attachment made with a program you don't have, you are out of luck. Well, IT-savvy folks will figure a way around it, but regular users won't know to save it, then Open With a compatible program. BTW, there is no "Open With" in Outlook.

4) Reminder Notes: No such thing in Outlook. There are notes, which are dated, but they are not related to the calendar and therefore cannot recur. The equivalent in Outlook is an All Day Event. All Day Events appear at the top of the calendar day before 8 a.m. (or whatever is set for the work time).

5) Recurring appointments: Not all recurring appointments are a pattern (every Monday, the last Friday of the month, every 14 days, etc.). Some are random, like taking vacation days. GroupWise has a calendar where you can just point and click the dates you want to recur. Outlook does not. To use the recurring feature in Outlook, there must be a pattern.

6) Calendar PopOut: In any GroupWise calendar, you can hover your mouse over an item (appointment, note or task) and a yellow popout will display giving you all the details except for the message (from, to, cc, place, time, subject). In Outlook, there is no popout. So a lengthy subject or a place or the from or the due date of a task is viewable only when you open the item. Yes, it's a few seconds - but when you do it dozens of time a day, that adds up.

7) Sending Appointments: When an Outlook appointment is sent, a copy of - not a link to - the appointment is sent. Therefore, when the organizer changes the appointment, an additional message is sent to the original recipient to alert them. If the recipient deletes that email notice, the calendar item is not updated (yes, it's true, folks!). Ditto when deleting an item: the recipient must click "Remove from Calendar" or the item will stay on there forever. Also, for any update, if the recipient acknowledged the update on the calendar, the matching email that arrived stays in the inbox until the user deletes it. If you do a lot of calendaring in GroupWise, the Outlook calendar is very painful. There are several more issues regarding calendaring in Outlook that I won't take space to go into here.

Recurring appointments: if you delete a recurring appointment in Outlook, it does not go to the Trash. It is not recoverable - and you are out of luck.

9) Tracking calendar items that were sent: There is no sent item when an appointment/task is sent. The organizer of the appointment automatically gets a copy of the appointment put on their own calendar. That *is* the tracking copy (it makes for a very busy calendar for a secretary who does a lot of scheduling, and she's probably not even attending any of the events herself!). If that tracking copy is deleted (also out of Deleted Items), there is no way to manage that item. If an appointment/task needs to be changed or removed, it must be done on each recipients account.

10) Recipients of meetings can move the item: It's hard to imagine that this is permitted, but it's because the structure of Outlook is that copies are sent to recipients, not links. You can understand why it is possible for a recipient of an appointment (group meeting) to be able to accidentally drag that appointment to a new place/time on their own calendar. Yep, just click and drag the appointment is all it takes. They get no warning they've done it. The organizer gets no warning they've done it. And in opening the item, there is no way to tell what the original date/time was. The only fix is
for the organizer of that appointment to send an update (how would she know
she should?).

11) Tasks: Unbelievably, Outlook tasks sent to multiple people cannot be managed by the person who sent them (called the Organizer). Remember, a copy of the task is sent to the recipient and changes to tasks require an update message to be sent. For tasks, apparently Outlook is unable to update tasks if sent to multiple people. Therefore, if you sent a task to 2 folks and then you need to change the task or recall it, you cannot. That change (or removal) would have to be done individually for each recipient.

12) Viewing Tasks in the Calendar: If you want to see future tasks on your calendar in Outlook, you cannot. The task list that appears on the Day or the Week view is a static list of tasks as of today. Clicking on a day in the future changes only the appointments, not the tasks. Therefore, to see future tasks, you must look at the task list (where there is no calendar).

13) Losing attachments when changing type: Just like GroupWise, Outlook can change an email to an appointment by just dragging from the mailbox to the calendar. However, in Outlook when you do this, if the email had an attachment, that attachment is gone. Only the contents of the email stay intact. A difference from GroupWise is that Outlook keeps the email in the mailbox (GroupWise converts it, Outlook copies it).

14) Discussion threads: The relationships of posted items in a discussion thread
are lost when converted to GroupWise and cannot be reestablished.

15) Dragging contacts to an email: In GroupWise (I think this began with 6.5), you can drag contacts from the Contacts folder and drop them on the mailbox to begin a new email message. This is very convenient when needing to select several people. In Outlook, you cannot.

16) Resources: What GroupWise considers resources, Outlook generally would set up as a public folder. But there are many resources that need an actual account for a variety of reasons. All accounts in Exchange require a license, even those tho are not real people. Thinking of all the fictious mailboxes you set up for groups or pseudnyms, those will cost $. Even conference rooms often need an account, having a public folder may not be

And oh by the way ...

17) Document Management: GroupWise is the only DMS that allows you to send a document from the library in an email that is addressed to both internal and external folks - and each party gets what they need. Internal folks get a link to the document so any changes they might make are updated in the actual document. The external folks get a copy of the document as it existed at the time the email was sent. All other DMS' will do both things, but they must be done in separate emails. (I hear the groaning now). Yes, the workaround is for an internal person to receive a copy of the document - one email to internal and external with a copy of the document. Why is that so bad? This is why ... because one of the favorite features we hear about for Outlook is the ability to modify an attachment and the changes stick. Yes, they do ... to the file that is attached to that email. We all know the danger of modifing an attachment in an email. But in this scenario, the internal person thinks they are making changes to the document in DMS and they are not.


How To-Best Practice
Comment List
  • The company I work for has migrated from GroupWise to Exchange. What I miss is the ability to defrag the mail system online. GroupWise used to do this each night, or week, depending on the settings and do it online. Now Exchange has to be shut down to be able to claim back unused space in the database files.
  • If we are looking at the deployment cost of Exchange you can also include the fact that each server deployment within a company will need it's own Exchange and Windows server licence. There are no deployment costs for the GroupWise agents and you are provided with the right to deploy SUSE Linux as the OS at no cost.
  • Microsoft doesn't deliver a mail client anymore with exchange 2007

    With exchange 2003, outlook 2003 was also on the CD

    but when you buy an exchange 2007 user license (which is about 100 us$), you DON'T get the neccessary (outlook) client that you need too.
    Nope, the client is sold separately. (another 100 us$)

    Microsoft thinks that everyone uses the microsoft 2007 office suite
    well, the professional suite (which "fortunately" has outlook in it) costs about 450 us$

    So to get exchange 2007 working, you pay AT LEAST about 200 us$ per user!
    (compare that to groupwise, which costs AT MOST 130 us$ per user)

    These prices are all the maximum commercial prices....

    btw. there are some good working commercial migration programs to migrate from groupwise to exchange, but they cost another 100 us$ per user
    and that is EVERY user in groupwise.

    - External entities also will become full licensend users
    - Resources also will become full licensed users

    hope this helps....
    in the end groupwise is cheaper
  • in reply to MigrationDeletedUser
    I don't think there is any doubt that the fame of the Netware 4.x era is over--has been for a while now--and I completely agree that, in a few areas (certainly not all), Novell is playing catch-up to other vendors not just Microsoft.

    But this is the case with all software vendors in the market including Microsoft, not just Novell. Not even Microsoft has a "killer App" in everything they offer. Personally I would say MS doesn't have any "killer apps" in their stable, but that just the fan in me talking.

    Now to address your points from my personal view-point.

    1. I disagree. I like the GW7 client and from what I've seen of the GW8 client it's even nicer. I don't like Outlook at all. Thunderbird is better is better than Outlook, it's a personal preference.

    2.1. I have no problems with the personal archive. It works fine and does the job.

    2.2. Novell has already spoken publicly about this and their direction, so I don't need to add anything.

    3. Those billion files of which you speak prevent the entire corruption of a users mailbox.

    4. I haven't used DMS so I can't comment.

    5. Ugly? Not to me, but then I don't care what a utility looks like, so long as It does the job and it works.

    I also could go on. I used to work with Exchange (albeit not for very long) and I certainly don't miss its "features" either.
    Now, having said all that, I have a life to live.
  • You should also add to that list:

    1. Horrible and cumbersome client that doesn't conforms to basic GUI standards. Non-resizable or modal windows and dialogs, repetitive "click-fest" actions and don't get me started on rules - 1995 called and wanted its drag-and-drop back. It's 2008 now, you know, even students and open source projects on sourceforge are more user-friendly. All we get from version to version are tiny enhancements and gimmicks.
    2. Archiving mail - Novell took this relatively simple task to a new levels of difficulty. Every folder in the archive has to be restored (read clicked and selected) separately. Nicely done...
    2. The only mobile sync solution is dying together with its zero iPhone support.
    3. Mails, documents and attachments are stored in zilion files, so backups take forever (if you manage to find a backup solution that supports Groupwise, that is). The state-of-the-art and recomended solution is dialog-bash-script product named Reload from Gwava - a company that made fortune on delivering features that Novell was unwilling, unable or refused to implement. Their whole strategy of "Let the partnes make some bucks" is appealing, but hey you didn't need those features anyway..
    4. Slow and unusable DMS with intergration that supports like four file types.
    5. Adminstration is possible only through an ugly java application ConsoleOne that needs direct file access to domain folder. Now that's what I call a C/S solution, very handy in situations like when you don't have a client installed and behind router/firewall.

    And the list goes on. I'm sure users and IT people will all miss those features, but I won't.

    If those everpresent Novell fans would leave their closets, they would see Novell fame of Netware 4.x era is over and it's Novell who's playing catch-up.
  • Exchange 2007 and Outlook 2007 enhances / resolves most of these issues. Some of this info is inaccurate even pre- exchange 2007 (no viewers in Outlook? Since when? Can't drag contacts into an email? Um, yes you can.. )

  • in reply to MigrationDeletedUser
    Getting off of a sinking ship might be ok, but when the ship that rescues you is filled with mountains of steaming cow poo ...

    You go migrate off of GW now, and enjoy the much less flexible, harder to fix Active Directory (gag), more problematic M$ Exchange.

    Oh, and in case you don't know .. AV on your server could bite you in the butt. Oh yeah.

    I had an employer (thankfully, an ex-employer when this happened) that migrated ~ 2000 users to MS Exchange. The server AV detected a virus existing in the pub.edb file (in an email message). Deleted pub.edb.

    Whole mail system = gone.

    42 hours later. They finally got those users back online.

  • in reply to MigrationDeletedUser
    A few comments/corrections:

    Exchange doesn't use a SQL backend - this was considered but not implemented for the 2007 version.

    Apart from the initial cost savings touted by Novel fans, there is really no valid reason, particularly for an enterprise-level organization, to remain on Groupwise. Additionally, these cost savings do not take into account the limited # of applications that work with Groupwise.

    Its over Johnny and Microsoft has WON. Just check the market share. Outlook has the features and UI and end users want, it integrates seamlessly with most of the software used by businesses today, OLE functionality works more cleanly than Groupwise, and its easier to learn and to administer. Because Groupwise has such a small slice of the market, businesses still running on it will find that many core business applications do not work well with it (if they work at all) and that even fewer will support you if you have issues with it.

    We are in the process of migrating to Exchange 2007. Actually "migrating" is too weak a term - sort of like saying that someone "migrated" off of a sinking ship/burning building, but you get the idea.

    If you want to be different, get tattoo or buy a Mac.

    On second thought, stick with the tattoo: they're less painful.

  • I believe that this was the case for EX 2003... but is that still the issue with the latest Exchange product?

  • I'm sure many people can add issues to this list so here are some server side issues

    1) Exchange is licenced by server deployment + user licences, while GroupWise only incurs user licence fees. This can be rather costly if you decide to deploy a branch office email server for a few staff. For GroupWise the cost is going to be just the user licences if you are a NetWare or SUSE OS user, while Exchange will need a MS Server licence, an Exchange server licence and user licenses.

    2) Exchange uses a SQL database for its email store this offers many useful feature but has the weakness of being unencripted so any administrator of the system can read the emails held within the database. GroupWise has a less flexable data store, but all messages are held encripted at all times. This includes when they pass POA MTA and MTA MTA.

    3) With Exchange using an SQL store it consumes far more storage space for a given set of emails than GroupWise which compresses messages.

    4) A GroupWise server indexes just about every item it stores in its database with PDFs being supported in the next release. Exchange also has such a feature, but articals indicate that it can increase the database size by between 10 and 30%. This is often over looked when someone quotes for a GW to Exchange migration project.

    For items 2 and 3 you can purchase third party tools to deal with the issues - for a true comparison of product costs these should be included. For Item 4 you need to add additional disk space.