I work at a higher ed .edu. We've been worrying for some time about what
the heck to do with student email. We've been making do with complete open
source software, but the students hate it. What they specifically hate, is
the lack of spam filters.

Don't get me wrong, we have them. What they get IS a filtered feed. It
just isn't filtered to the same quality as, say, gmail, which means they
never use it. Or rather, use it as little as they can get away with since
that's the official communications channel. Last I heard about 20-25% of
students forward their email off campus.

We need to do something different.

This is why we were looking at Google's gmail-for-.EDU and Microsoft Live
solutions, since they give us enterprise-level spam filters for a price we
can afford (free). The problems reside in the 'ad-supported' part of both
products, and the privacy concerns therein. We've been dithering on this
choice for some time.

As it happens, we DO get GroupWise on our Novell contract. If we wanted we
could deploy all of our students on GroupWise. Our faculty/staff email is
Exchange and has been since it was MS Mail, that'll never change
(politics). But as we're looking to dump our current student email system,
GW has some real benefits.

Unfortunately, the make-or-break thing or us is anti-spam. GroupWise is
the same as postfix + squirrel-mail + spam-assasin when it comes to that.
In other words, the students will hate it for the same reasons even if it
looks prettier.

So Microsoft comes out with a new thing. And it is... a niche killer.
Hosted Exchange, for free (for us .EDU types). It comes with the same
great anti-spam service you'd expect from a top tier email provider, which
is the standard we're being held to. AND... is NOT ad-supported. We'll
have to do some identity sharing tricks to make it work, but we'da had to
do that with gmail anyway.

Free. Top tier anti-spam. No ads.

It is a slam dunk decision. I'm looking for deal breakers (we're already
ON Exchange for our fac/staff, so 'Exchange is fundamentally icky', isn't
a deal breaker), but I can't find any.

Which got me thinking about whether or not Novell, or an enterprising 3rd
party, could do something like Hosted GroupWise. It'd increase mind-share,
which is what Microsoft is very forward about doing with Hosted Exchange
in .EDU-land.

But still. Once Microsoft came to us with that deal, it was... game over.

--Borg Consulate--
Tape backup, the bane of my existance