The Fedora distribution allows open source enthusiasts to see the future of Linux technologies. Some of these technologies are an early demonstration of helpful functions that crop up in other Linux distributions. By creating innovative features in Fedora; which is developed rapidly, released twice a year, and used by millions of people, we can help drive improvements to a myriad of open source projects.
One such project centers around interoperability. Fedora contributors are constantly working on technologies which enhance, improve and advance interoperability because our audience of developers and enthusiasts interact with a variety of systems every day. Fedora 11 gives users a chance to see these future technologies at work today.
An important interoperability feature included in the upcoming release of Fedora 11 is OpenChange. OpenChange aims to provide a portable open source implementation of the Microsoft Exchange and Exchange Server protocols. Microsoft Exchange is a proprietary messaging and collaborative software product. And until now open source clients have been unable to use its full functionality because Exchange utilizes a proprietary protocol, the Messaging Application Programming Interface or MAPI. OpenChange is the first open source implementation of the MAPI protocol.
The OpenChange implementation provides a client-side library which can be used in existing messaging clients to offer native compatibility with Exchange. Using the "libmapi" library, OpenChange allows clients such as Thunderbird, Evolution, KMail, and other open source applications to utilize the full range of MAPI functionality including messaging, shared calendars, contact databases, public folders, notes and tasks. All applications can now start speaking the same language, regardless of platform.
In order to enable OpenChange and libmapi to function properly, parts of Samba 4, the open source software suite for interoperability with Microsoft network resources, has been updated in Fedora 11. Samba is the software that allows Linux hosts to use services such as Windows File and Printer Sharing, authentication and authorization functionality, and name resolution.
This is another way that the Fedora community is solving problems for open source users. To check out OpenChange download a copy of Fedora 11 from fedoraproject.org.