Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft’s stance for decades was that community creation and sharing of communal code (later to be known as free and open source software) represented a direct attack on their business. Their battle with Linux stretches back many years. Back in 2001, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously tarnished Linux “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches”. Microsoft also initiated its “Get the Facts” marketing campaign from mid-2003, which specifically criticized Linux server usage, total cost of ownership, security, indemnification and reliability. The campaign was widely criticized for spreading misinformation.

However, in recent years, there has been a partial shift by Microsoft to embrace the open source software paradigm. For example, some of their code is open sourced. Examples include Visual Studio Code, .NET Framework, Atom, and PowerShell. They have also made investments in Linux development, server technology and organizations including the Linux Foundation and Open Source Initiative. They have made acquisitions such as Xamarin to help mobile app development, and GitHub a hugely popular code repository for open source developers. And they have partnered with Canonical, the developers of the popular Ubuntu distro. But many developers remain hugely sceptical about Microsoft and their apparent shift to embrace open source.

This series looks at the best free and open source alternatives to products and services offered by Microsoft.

Microsoft Outlook Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager software system, available as a part of the Microsoft Office suite.

Though primarily an email client, Outlook also includes such functions as calendaring, task managing, contact managing, note-taking, journal logging, and web browsing.

1. Thunderbird

Linux for Starters - Thunderbird
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Thunderbird is widely and deservedly regarded as an exceptional open source desktop email client, especially on Linux. It’s also a proficient personal information manager, news client, RSS and chat client.

Thunderbird is highly customizable, has a rich set of features, and is geared for both novices and professional users.

2. Evolution

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Evolution provides integrated mail, address book and calendaring functionality to users of the GNOME desktop.

Evolution makes the tasks of storing, organizing, and retrieving your personal information easy, so you can work and communicate more effectively with others. It’s a highly developed groupware program, considered by many to be an integral part of the Internet-connected desktop.

Evolution supports Exchange Server and a number of other email setups found in a corporate environment.

3. Kontact

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Kontact is a powerful PIM solution that handles your email, agenda, contacts and other ‘personal’ data together in one place. It consists of the Kontact PIM back end and the graphical applications connecting to the back end.

The suite includes KMail, a feature-rich email client that supports many protocols.

If all you need is a simple and lightweight email client, we recommend Sylpheed or Claws Mail.

All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Microsoft's Products and Services
GitHubDistributed version control and source code management functionality of Git
OneNoteNote-taking program for free-form information gathering and collaboration
ProjectDevelop schedules, assign resource, track progress, manage budget +
YammerSocial-networking platform for organizations
BingSearch services, including web, video, image and map search products
OneDriveFile hosting service and synchronization service
OutlookPersonal information manager that's primarily an email client.
OfficeFamily of client software, server software, and services
Dynamics 365Enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management

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  1. Thanks for your help. I’m aiming to have removed Google and Microsoft from my computer. Really hate these big corps just using me.

  2. I’m worried about Microsoft encroaching on open source. You have got to question their motives. They are not interested in the open source community at all. Even more worrying is when companies like Ubuntu get into bed with them.

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