June 13, 2005

Groupwise Getting The Boot

Screenshot of Warwick Insite front page. 'Groupwise Instability - Take Precautions: IT Services are working hard to identify the underlying cause of the GroupWise failures which occurred on Friday and Saturday.  However as a precautionary measure you are advised to print out a copy of important emails you may need over the next day or two (particularly travel documents such as itineraries, e-tickets, etc), and print a copy of your appointments for the next week. Staff members can try out the proposed replacement email systems at the roadshow sites in University House, the Science Concourse and the Ramphal Building.'

Groupwise failed over the weekend, just before the main leg of the E-Mail Replacement Roadshow this week.

Who knows whether more university staff are taking the opportunity to trail the systems proposed to replace Groupwise today than over the past two weeks is because of better location – University House among others – or because of the, dare I say, sabotage to make Groupwise seem even worse than it is.

In any case, Groupwise deserves to be let go. Microsoft Exchange/Outlook is so much easier to use and maintain, both from a user and IT Services perspective. Lotus Notes' staggering features are even more convoluted than Groupwise's, but at least it's stable and scalable.

What I can see students not being happy with is being pushed off to one side to a Sendmail -based system with web frontends - either SquirrelMail or MailMan.

As far as I can see Sendmail comes free with any Unix/Linux distribution. SquirrelMail, the more appropriate frontend, is free as well. MailMan, you guessed it, is free, too, but it is meant for managing electronic mail discussion and e-newsletter lists and as such too basic for personal e-mail.

The flipside of the issue is that money – and MS Exchange costs a lot – is better spent on the library when the majority of students sent up forwarding rules to their existing e-mail accounts anyway and never use the university e-mail system.

The student roadshow was last week, but if in doubt vote for SquirrelMail. MailMan looks like my 3 year old nephew designed the look and someone from 1996 decided on the features and user interface. MailMan is so bad, it seems like SquirrelMail has already been decided on and IT Services want to at least appear to be giving students a choice.

The staff roadshow is still on this week, so go and have a play.

- 3 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Lee Davis

    Provided I can get pop3 access to my mail I really don't care what frontend ITS try to enforce. I refused to transfer over to groupwise and still use the unix system as my prefered mail delivery address. Its worked fine for tah last 13 years and the only mail delivery problems I experience are from people using groupwise or one of the mail-relays deciding to have ago-slow.

    13 Jun 2005, 14:27

  2. quota

    …a component of the GroupWise system…
    …a subcomponent (RAID controller) was the most likely cause…

    This would have affected whatever mail system was in place. Also don't confuse email systems with email clients, as Lee points out you can use whatever front end you wish on your own computer, although ITS will only provide the "official" client in workareas.

    13 Jun 2005, 16:37

  3. Ioannis

    Groupwise… I remember that if (and this was rarely) the network was up during a weekend in my first year, then at least Groupwise would make sure it was down.

    That said, my own personal email managed to be down for a whole day two weeks ago, after 7 years of not losing any e-mails. So I am not happy.

    14 Jun 2005, 22:46

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