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I have received a flood of email from readers about my Outlook backup dilemma. Most of them were sympathizers who have the same frustration. Some offered solutions. I have tried some of them and found none that give me confidence that I have really backed up the very latest information in both the MS Outlook folders and my own personal folders that are stored in Outlook. That was my point about Lotus Notes. I am not trying to get into an argument that Notes that is better or start any marketing efforts here in my weblog; nor am I trying to make my blog into a personal tech support resource. The bigger point is about choice.

Many governments around the world are shifting to Linux open-source software. In response to this, Microsoft has been arguing that governments shouldn’t force Linux on its users — they should have the “choice” to pick Windows. Windows has accomplished some amazing things and much of its software is very intuitive and easy to use. Outlook is impressive in many ways. But when it comes to choice, I find that once you get committed to using Microsoft software you don’t have as many choices. You don’t have a choice of whether or not Windows Messenger is running or not. There are many other examples like this that each of us have. There are even web sites devoted to the subject.

When you use Linux you can pick from multiple browsers, multiple spreadsheets, multiple file editors, etc. They all work more or less equally well and the reason is that the operating system is open. If you want to know something about where your files are stored, how something works, how to modify something, how to include someone else’s ideas, etc. you can easily do so in the open source community. It isn’t one company — it is a global community. That is why it is gaining in popularity. Meanwhile, I still can’t figure out where my Outlook contact list is stored.