Outlook may have killed the commercial marketplace for “Personal Information Management” (PIM) software. So the new Outlook challenger is going to be the product of an open-source project, backed by a foundation. Dan Gillmor writes about it all here.
Mitch Kapor is funding the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF), and its first project will be “a new take on the Personal Information Manager. It will handle email, appointments, contacts and tasks, as well as be used to exchange information with other people, and do it all in the spirit of Lotus Agenda.” Kapor — the Lotus Software founder who later was one of the key people behind the Electronic Frontier Foundation — is blogging the project here.
I missed Agenda during its heyday, fell in love with Ecco Pro and have been mourning its death (or at least its cryogenic suspension) for years now, so I greet this news with delight. Kapor’s team includes the legendary Andy Hertzfeld, a key creator of the Macintosh and later one of the masterminds of Nautilus, Eazel’s Linux desktop. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Don Park (via Scripting News) raises a question worth pondering: “What I am afraid of is the erosion in the sense of value for software. If OSAF succeeds, consumers will have access to a wide array of high quality software for free. Most likely, every PC will start to ship with them preloaded. Every time a new OSAF product ships, a market segment will die.”
To me the key thing here is that this market segment is dead already. Outlook killed it. No one will fund commercial PIM software, and brilliant, wonderful pieces of software have withered on the vine. So how else can we get good software into users’ hands?
There are no revisions for this post.