One of the biggest and most convincing arguments against Microsoft’s Outlook email is that the PST files which it uses as a store for all information pertaining to an email account, not just the emails.  That PST file is almost impossible to get at without the credentials of the account which created it.  This makes moving your own email from Outlook to any other email program annoying but makes it almost impossible to switch an entire organization.  Microsoft has recently released some tool using Apache License 2.0. that allow read only access to PST files as well as an SDK using a cross-platform C++ library to let you get at them via your own programs.  This may spell the end of dependence on Outlook for many a shop which could be rather interesting for the other various mail platforms that could be used.  More at Ars Technica.

“Back in February, Microsoft released public specifications for PST files, the databases used by Outlook for storing and archiving e-mail. To these specifications, Microsoft has now added a pair of developer-oriented open source projects: the PST Data Structure View Tool for cracking open PSTs to browse inside them, and the PST File Format SDK, a cross- platform C++ library for working with PST files programmatically.”

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