We used to rely on Groove for coordination of a lot of company projects. It was originally an “insanely great” product, with a lot of advantages over web-based alternatives like Central Desktop. Then Microsoft bought it. It’s been downhill since then. Here’s the MS evil plan for the destruction of Groove, as it has unfolded:
1. Make upgrades a hostile account takeover, with limited backwards compatibility.
2. Eliminate essential features, like export of message history to a discussion.
3. Make the product difficult to obtain, reducing its viral appeal, by eliminating trial accounts, hiding old versions, and providing bloated bundles.
4. License per PC rather than per user, to make use for sync uneconomic.
5. Change the name to maximize confusion with regular Sharepoint, which is fundamentally different (server-centric vs. P2P).
6. Break folder sharing on 64bit OS flavors (it worked fine in Groove 3.1)
I have a hard time thinking of an objective function that makes this rational. My guess is that the existing Sharepoint group within MS felt threatened and had the political power to mess up Groove, but not quite enough to kill it outright. This reinforces my suspicion that companies are engines of capitalism on the outside, but inefficient centrally-planned economies on the inside, so we’d be better off if they weren’t so big.
Anyone know a good P2P alternative? Or at least a server-based tool that works well offline? All I really want is integrated file sharing, instant messaging, and discussion, with good security and easy drag-&-drop to the desktop.