The products are designed to overcome two obstacles that stand in the way of broader adoption of Linux: lack of interoperability with Microsoft Corp.'s popular business software and difficulty in managing large networks running the system.
I've used the Ximian gnome installer. It was very smooth .. just set lynx to point at and run a shell script, and left it to it. That was back in the wonderful days when my Linux box was on the end of a T1 and not a 56k dialup.
Installed most of the upto date Gnome apps also [ximian.com...] - I thinks it's still a free service...
I don't see how software that allows a Linux computer to talk to an Exchange server is a bad thing. No one is forced to use it. If anyone wants a free alternative to Exchange they could setup a IMAP system.