Embrace, Extend and Extinguish Still Lives!


The Liberator can help you get here. Image source

In the 1999 Wachowski Brothers film "The Matrix", the character "Agent Smith" - the personification of mechanized evil - holds the character "Neo" - an emergent human messiah - in a headlock over a subway line in the path of an oncoming train, the hellish clatter of steel-on-steel rushing towards them.

"You hear that Mr. Anderson?... That is the sound of inevitability."

Clearly, this is the Wachowski Brothers' metaphor for Microsoft's attitude towards customer resistance regarding their inexorable upgrade cycle.

The Liberator uses KMail and Kalendar rather than Outlook. When sending a calendar invitation, Kalendar creates an iCalendar event, compliant with IETF RFC 5545, the fruits of the Internet Mail Consortium's efforts. If you use Google Calendar or Apple Calendar etc, this works exactly like it's supposed to.

But if you use Outlook 2007, 2010 or 2013, Microsoft will relegate the entry to an attachment labelled "unsupported calendar entry." The faint-of-heart might very well ignore the attachment at that point, and not have anything to Accept or Decline.

But take heart, gentle readers - Microsoft has actually Embraced IETF RFC5545 - if you open the attachment, it will then appear as a perfectly-operable calendar entry. Your Microsoft system will not spontaneously explode. Of course, Outlook has additional features - particularly if paired with Microsoft Exchange - the functionality has been Extended.

But why not simply render it in the first place? Well, the skeptical amongst us might suggest Microsoft doesn't want the Outlook user to gain the impression that there are viable alternatives to using Outlook. Feels like Extinguish, again.

Of course, the choice of how to take this is up to you. Agent Smith thinks he knows everything about you, that he's got you in a headlock, that you can't make a change, that you'll have to accept your fate. But know that some of your audience is rooting for your liberation, and can see a way out. You can declare yourself Free, you can redefine yourself, you can be the hero you sense. As the Wachowski Brothers penned it:

"My...name...is...NEO!"