Saturday, August 28, 2010

Groupware suite :: Open Source alternatives to Microsoft Exchange

I have been speaking to a friends of mine working at the big companies in Dar and everytime the groupware suite, Microsoft Exchange always seems to show up. Well I went on a hunt for Linux-friendly groupware suite that be used in place of the Microsoft Exchange.

Now I know switching may be a bit tricky, but can be done. It is easier if your organization hasn't started using Microsoft Exchange, it's a good idea to avoid, especially if you do not have a big budget for it. The good news is you'll find several robust Exchange alternatives for Linux.

Generally, these costs will be much less than actually deploying Exchange, so organizations that need them are happy to pay the licensing. So here is some of few that you can if it sorts your needs:-

Kolab is groupware fully open source. It works well with Postfix, OpenLDAP, Cyrus IMAP, Apache, HORDE Webmail, ClamAV, and a number of other open source offerings into a single offering. You get calendaring, email and Webmail, Web administration, shared contacts, and more.Kolab packages are also available in Debian and Ubuntu.

Citadel is one of the pure open source offerings. It provides email, calendaring and scheduling, a Web interface, mailing lists, address books, LDAP authentication, and quite a lot more. It's focused on standard protocols (SMTP, IMAP, POP3) and offers just about all the features that a small or medium-sized business would want. Everything offered with Citadel is under the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3).

The downloads page offers an "Easy Install" package, binaries for Debian and Ubuntu, a pre-built VMware appliance, an eBuild for Gentoo, and (of course) source code.Citadel is a good choice. Bynari Outlook Connector, which is not open source, gives you full Microsoft Outlook compatibility. Clients like Evolution and Kontact can work with Citadel using GroupDAV.

Open-Xchange Open-Xchange has been an alternative to Microsoft Exchange as well as some Microsoft SharePoint features too. It offers email/Web mail, calendaring, task management, document management, and more.

Open-Xchange comes in different versions, depending on what you're looking for. Small businesses will probably want the community edition or Appliance Edition. The Appliance Edition is an install that provides everything from the OS to the Open-Xchange software. The company also provides hosting editions for hosting providers.

Open-Xchange can be extended to do things like gather information from social sites like Facebook, authenticate against LDAP or IMAP servers, and more.

Zimbra provides Web-based email with a slick AJAX client, standard email, calendaring, mobile email, document management, and task management.Zimbra comes in several flavors — an open source edition and hosted editions with additional featuresThe Pro edition that bundles Outlook sync and email archiving features that might be important for enterprises. For mobile syncing, clustering, backup and restore features, you're going to need to look at one of the non-open source editions.It runs on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X, so you should be able to support just about any user with Zimbra Desktop.

At Tri Labs we have set-up Zimbra and it works like a charm.

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