Boston.com / Business / Personal Technology / Group aims to capitalize on Firefox success: "Mozilla, which recently introduced an e-mail program called Thunderbird, is working to combine it with the foundation's Sunbird calendar application in a project, code-named Lightning, that could compete with Microsoft Corp.'s ubiquitous Outlook program. Lightning's developers are planning their first general-user release for mid-2005.
At the same time, the Open Source Applications Foundation, headed by Lotus Development Corp. founder Mitchell Kapor, is moving forward on a next-generation e-mail/calendar program, code-named Chandler, designed to enhance computing collaboration by expressing more meaningful relationships between different categories of data. Chandler is targeting its 1.0 version for late this year or early next year.
''Competition and market choice are good for customers, and Microsoft welcomes it," said Microsoft group project manager Dan Leach, noting that Microsoft already vies with a bevy of competitors, from IBM Corp.'s Lotus Notes to Sun Microsystems Inc.'s OpenOffice, in the office productivity, mail, and calendar space. ''Customers continue to choose Microsoft Office because we focus, not on competitors, but on customers and delivering tools they need to be more productive in a seamless, consistent, interoperable environment."
Kapor said the Chandler project, which has taken longer than anticipated, is intended to be a more ambitious platform, combining e-mail, task management, data storage, and other free-floating features into a more intuitive system. A prerelease version, called 0.5, is scheduled for February. And Kapor clearly sees it a building block for an open source alternative to Microsoft.
''Let's just say you have an irresistible force and an immovable object," he said. ''The irresistible force is open source, and the immovable object is the Windows operating environment. I would expect there would be increasing collisions over the next decade.""