June 23, 2003

Friends don't let friends use Outlook

- By Robin 'Roblimo' Miller -

I'm sure Outlook and Outlook Express have many fine features, but they also have many fine vulnerabilities. Even though I run Linux and can't get infected by the many email worms and viruses sent to me every day by unwary Outlook users, they suck up a lot of bandwidth, which is especially annoying when I'm using a phone modem in a hotel room instead of my home/office DSL connection. So please, let's get together and try to stamp out Outlook.

Mozilla has a fine email utility, you know. And Mozilla is available for Windows, so even if we can't get our Windows-using friends to switch to Linux, we should at least try to get them to use Mozilla for their email. (They'll get a better browser, too.)

You'd think it would be easy to 'sell' something free to people, but never underestimate the power of inertia.

"If Outlook Express was good enough for grandpa, then dagburnit, it ought to be good enough for me," is an all-too-human sentiment.

Luckily, Mozilla gives us plenty of ammunition that can help break through this attitude-wall. Here are some of the features it offers:

  • Won't download or pass on most viruses or worms
  • Amazingly easy, 'click on the button' junk email filtering
  • Built-in popup ad blocker
  • Can handle multiple email accounts, no problem
  • Won't download or pass on most viruses or worms
  • Lets you turn off annoying animated GIF ads (or set them to only cycle once, if you like)
  • You know those sites that take over your whole screen? Mozilla can stop them from doing that!
  • Won't download or pass on most viruses or worms

You can buy utilities that accomplish most of these functions if you use Microsoft Internet Explorer and Outlook or Outlook Express.

Or you can move to Mozilla and get them for free, especially if you're a home or small business computer user who isn't locked into a corporate-mandated Microsoft Exchange server -- although there are plenty of browser-accesible email/groupware products that can provide Exchange's essential functions, almost always for less money and with lighter server hardware requirements.

But we're not talking about ourselves here, are we? We already know about (and use) Mozilla and other alternatives to Outlook and Outlook Express, don't we?

Our task is not to convert ourselves, but to convert friends who are still stuck with Outlook because they don't know any better, not only to give them a more pleasant Internet experience, but to help cut down the spread of email viruses and worms that waste bandwidth for everyone, even enlightened Linux and F/OSS users like us.

Download Mozilla here.

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