[linux-elitists] Groupware servers

Peter Whysall peter@whysall.net
Wed Jan 28 01:22:54 PST 2004

on Tue, Jan 27, 2004, Joakim Ziegler (joakim@avmaria.com) wrote:
> A friend of mine has a problem, at his office, they're slowly migrating
> from Windows to GNU/Linux on the desktops. He needs a groupware server
> that does shared calendars and mail, and that works with Outlook. The
> people who are still using outlook need that to work seamlessly until
> they're migrated, which won't happen in the very short term.
> He looked at SuSE's OpenExchange Server, but that installs a plugin for
> Outlook, and works like POP, in that it moves mail to the local folders
> instead of accessing them over the network. This is unacceptable for
> him, so he's looking for something better.
> So, are there free or reasonably priced proprietary MAPI servers that
> preferably also do IMAP and iCal/WebCal for non-Outlook clients, and
> that runs on Linux? Googling turns up very little.

You could look at Samsung Contact; as with all of these groupware-type
systems, you need to install a little MAPI DLL on the clients, but once
you've done this, it's indistinguishable from an actual Exchange server
as far as Outhouse is concerned.

Forgive me if I'm teaching granny to suck eggs here, but Contact is
basically the old HP Openmail package; it's battle-tested, scalable and
free as in beer.

The website (http://www.samsungcontact.com) is a bit crap; it's
difficult to navigate and seems only half functional if you don't log
in. That said, I registered a couple of years ago and the amount of mail
emanating from their seems to be zero.

The software does seem to be somewhat difficult to get started with;
there's a huge number of om* utilities, seemingly one per possible admin
task. However, the stuff *works*.

Another package you could consider is Opengroupware.org; however, they
don't claim that their MAPI doin's are transparent to the user and their
MAPI client isn't free or Free. http://opengroupware.org

The kicker in all this is bridging the divide between your Outlook
clients and the non-Outlook clients, specifically in the area of shared
calendaring; on this score. 

You can download Contact and OGO free of charge (although you'll have to
cough up for a MAPI client for OGO).

OGO can talk iCalendar and with the MAPI plugin, to Outlook, too. This
would get your people working together.

I prefer the administration interface of OGO (it's web-based) and the
installation on a Debian system, while quite lengthy, is
straightforward. I had more trouble getting SASL set up correctly
between postfix and cyrus than I did getting the OGO end of things

In the long haul, I'd tend towards OGO because it's (a) got a fully
functional web front end (b) talks to Outlook via a proprietary plugin
(c) is Free as well as free.

Hope this helps,


The IWETHEY project: http://www.iwethey.org
Collaborative Media Foundation: http://collaborativemedia.org
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