The estimated 400,000 worldwide QuickMail users will be pleased to hear that CE Software, Inc. is now shipping the long-awaited version 2.5, a major upgrade to QuickMail that offers improved server architecture, many new features, System 7 compatibility, a vastly-improved QM Remote, and an integrated packaging scheme that puts all versions in one box. Version 2.5 is a free upgrade to current QuickMail 2.2.x users who request an upgrade immediately. New packages range in price from $4699 for a new 100-user package to $199 for a 1-user complete package or $99 for a 1-user add-on package (the most common package, the 10-user package, is now $599).
QuickMail's server architecture has been improved to allow the software to store or distribute only one copy of any given message or file enclosure, rather than storing separate copies for each recipient. This will increase server performance, since multiple copies won't need to be created, and will dramatically reduce the required disk space for messages with multiple addressees. Similarly, only one copy of each message needs to be sent to other servers on a QuickMail network, or to remote systems through QM's telecommunications options.
Among the additions to QuickMail's feature set is a thorough redesign of the QM Administrator software, which handles all telecommunications tasks as well as administrative ones, to support the Macintosh Communications Toolbox. This means that QuickMail is no longer restricted to communicating by modem, and could in fact talk with other QuickMail sites over a serial line, the Internet, a LAT connection, or any other as-yet-undreamed-of pathway, with the addition of the appropriate CTB tools. This also means that connections using CE's QM-Direct (formerly "Telecom") and QM-QM bridges won't be restricted to the 128-byte XMODEM file transfer protocol of earlier versions; users could implement just about any file transfer protocol for which they can find a CTB tool. (As of this writing, there's still no ZMODEM tool available that I know of, but one is expected from Pacer any day now.)
Other new features include easy installation or upgrading using Apple's Installer software, heightened network security, and simpler network-wide updating of address books, group address lists, and forms. For managers of mixed networks, QuickMail 2.5 includes a file-based server option, that communicates with PC workstations through files on a commonly-accessible file server, rather than over an AppleTalk network. When combined with the existing PC client software, which supports PCs on an AppleTalk network, this file-based server option will greatly increase the number of PCs that can use QuickMail, and will make QuickMail far more affordable to PC users, since an AppleTalk card will now be optional if the computer is already on a network with a Novell, 3+ Open LAN Manager, Banyan Vines, or DEC PCSA file server with AFP support.
QuickMail 2.5 is almost fully compatible with System 7. As anticipated, the client software (the QuickMail desk accessory and QM Remote software) is fully compatible with System 7 in either 24-bit or 32-bit addressing mode. Thanks to pressure from users, CE has also made the server software (the QMServer and NameServer control panels, as well as the QM Administrator application) compatible with System 7 in 24 bit mode. 32-bit support for the server software, which was felt to be less crucial, is expected in the future. Since few users run QuickMail servers on user workstations, and even fewer require those workstations to be in 32 bit mode, 24-bit System 7 compatibility should be fine for now, and will allow network administrators to upgrade their AppleShare servers to AppleShare 3.0 (which will require System 7) when the time comes, without causing problems for QuickMail.
The product can't really be called "System 7 Savvy," though, as it does not offer advanced System 7 features such as balloon help, AppleEvents handling, or publish and subscribe. It does have some nifty color icon families, though. :-)
One of the most visible changes for users will be the new version of QM Remote. This utility allows QuickMail users to connect to their server when they are away from the office network. Previous versions only supported modem communications, but with CTB support, QM Remote can now work over a wide-and-growing-wider range of communications paths. More importantly, the remote access software looks and acts much more like the QuickMail desk accessory than did earlier versions. As an example, a remote user will now have full access to such features as custom forms, address books, group address lists, and message filing. In fact, users who carry their hard disks with them will have complete access to the SAME forms, address books, groups, and personal mail folders, whether they are at their desks or on the road.
A QuickMail improvement that should have resellers and mixed-network managers cheering is the bundling of all QuickMail versions into a single package. Beginning with version 2.5, all QuickMail packages include not only the Macintosh software, but also the DOS and OS/2 client software needed to support PCs with either an AppleTalk connection or a common file server, using QuickMail's new file-based server option. (The OS/2 software has just entered final beta testing, so customers who receive the first batch of 2.5 packages will find a coupon inside which they can exchange for the OS/2 version as soon as it is available. At that point, future shipments will include the OS/2 version in the box.)
International versions of QuickMail 2.5 are in the works, and Jodi Barsch from CE's international department expects upgrades for the existing French, German, Swedish, Danish, and Italian versions to be available in late October or November. At the same time, CE is working on a new Spanish version of the software, thanks to increasing demand from Spain and even from South America. You may remember hearing about CE's new KanjiTalk version of QuickMail 2.2.3 several weeks ago; a 2.5 version of this product is in the works as well, though because the Kanji version uses two-byte-characters, it's not just a matter of translation, as it is with the European language versions. A Kanji version of 2.5 should ship in the first half of 1992.
CE's relief at getting QuickMail 2.5 out the door (it was originally intended to ship in 1990) is best expressed by the T-shirt sent to beta testers with their copy of the 2.5 upgrade. The shirt, which bears the legend "Excedrin Headache Number 2.5" on the front, has the following Lettermanesque list on the back (reprinted with permission):
Top 12 QuickMail Warnings
Do NOT taunt QuickMail!
QuickMail cannot be used as a lubricant.
QuickMail is bigger than your Dad! Na nah na nah boo boo!
QuickMail should be used only under close adult supervision . . . place on network, ignite and get away!
CE Software, Inc., is not responsible for any injuries sustained from prolonged contact with QuickMail or its gateways.
QuickMail may decelerate suddenly.
QuickMail has the right to remain silent and be represented by an attorney in a court of law.
QuickMail reserves the right to refuse to answer any questions which would tend to incriminate it.
QuickMail may contribute to high blood pressure and/or premature baldness.
QuickMail is not now, nor has it ever been a member of, or associated with, the Communist Party.
When not in use, QuickMail should be refrigerated promptly.
QuickMail's code was derived from alien carvings found on a meteor discovered in a farm field in Iowa.
Existing QuickMail owners should make sure that they send in their upgrade requests immediately. CE's offer for a free upgrade from 2.2.x to 2.5 only lasts until 30 September, after which there will be a $25 upgrade charge. If you haven't received an upgrade notice with the appropriate form, contact CE immediately so that you won't miss out. Owners of versions earlier than 2.2.x may also upgrade at a discounted price (such as $95 for a 10-user package), and should contact CE for details.
CE Software, Inc. -- 515/224-1995 -- Fax 515/224-4534
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Sue Nail -- AOL: AFC Sue