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Opengroupware 280

An anonymous reader writes: "From the OpenGroupware.org site: the OGo project announces its formation and the release today to the worldwide open source development community of its groupware server software. Gary Frederick, Leader of the OpenOffice.org Groupware Project says: 'Just to be perfectly clear, this is an MS Exchange take-out. OGo is important because it's the missing link in the open source software stack. It's the end of a decade-long effort to map all the key infrastructure and standard desktop applications to free software.' There are also plenty of screenshots of Outlook, Evolution, Korganizer, iCal etc. accessing the server."
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  • by Jonsey ( 593310 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:30AM (#6406717) Journal
    We've not got an exchange server, but with or without the insecurities of exchange?

    I'm lost. Is this like exchange, or is it secure? : p
  • by AntiOrganic ( 650691 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:31AM (#6406724) Homepage
    Does it have menu shadows? :(
  • by mikeophile ( 647318 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:33AM (#6406734)
    Be it by code of bytes or code of law?
  • MAPI? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:34AM (#6406738)
    On the screenshots page it says:

    Microsoft Outlook using the ZideLook plugin and Ximian Evolution using the Connector for Exchange

    So does this mean Outlook will work natively or not?
    • Re:MAPI? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:38AM (#6406776)
      Looking at this [opengroupware.org] it looks as though Outlook requires a plugin in order to access the server. However as that plugin is also Open Source, I don't see a major problem with this. The users can't tell the difference.
      • Re:MAPI? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Acidangl ( 86850 )
        The problem i see with having to use a plugin is that it adds time to your install. Does the plugin and OpenGroupware support public folders, notes, and shareing calendars? Does OpenGroupware support multiple sites? How did OpenGroupware address Outlook Web Access? My users require that feature.
        • Re:MAPI? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2003 @10:19AM (#6406998)
          In a business enviroment rolling out a standard plugin is going to be a complete non-issue. You include it on the standard image(s) and/or deploy it system wide (Either using a deployment tool or the old fashioned way of sending the PFY around with a floppy). The users don't have to touch their computers or the configuration.

          Can the plugin do all the stuff you need? I don't know, the site is scant on details (In fact its now at the point where I'm not sure if the plugin is Open! It may be closed and only in the "Enterprise" version...)

          If OGo doesn't support the stuff you need, its Open Source and it can (And very likely will be) added.
        • Re:MAPI? (Score:3, Informative)

          It looks like their WebUI [opengroupware.org] feature takes care of your web access question. From the screenshots it looks like it does calendars, but the rest is my guess.
      • Re:MAPI? (Score:5, Informative)

        by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @10:28AM (#6407066) Journal
        go to the about page. The plugin is available from the original company. I am guessing that they are selling it .
        • Yes, I was wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2003 @10:35AM (#6407117)
          Starting with the launch of OpenGroupware.org, SKYRiX becomes an enterprise distribution of the OpenGroupware.org software...

          The SKYRiX distribution also includes some additional software which is not available as part of the OpenGroupware.org project
          Outlook Support for ZideStore

          So it is not Open Source. However the OGo wire protocol is documented & available; so it is possible to write an Open Source Outlook plugin that can interface to OGo. Now wether someone does that is another matter (No one has written any Outlook plugins for any other OSS groupware projects yet).
      • Re:MAPI? (Score:3, Informative)

        by stinnux ( 32769 )
        No, it is not open source. I've met them today at the Linux Tag in Karlsruhe. It will start at around 65 per User.

    • Re:MAPI? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dalslad ( 648100 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @10:50AM (#6407204) Journal

      Et tu Brutus?

      This project is laden with hurdles and I'd be very careful before contributing to it or deploying it. In fact, it needs a serious technical review. We've heard this story before.

      Bynari, who has actually replaced Exchange with a Linux server running on the IBM S/390 had some problems with Ximian. Any plugin for Ximian required that one gives the code to Ximian, lock stock and everything.

      The Ximian connector no work with anything but Exchange 2000 in "web mode". Not all functionality is present.

      In an article in Linux Journal, February, 2003 page 52, the author outlines the components necessary for create this product.

      Outlook only works natively with Bynari's Exchange Client Extension and it's Global Address Book. Otherwise, you're looking at an internet mode of Outlook and nothing special exists with that.

      MAPI no longer runs the Exchange server, instead the monster runs XML-RPC. It will accommodate some legacy Outlook software, but not much.

      Outlook 2000 service pack 3 running on Windows 2000 or XP desktop enables most of the functionality. But Microsoft has pulled off another lock in to obsolete Outlook 97 and 98 and will required installing the .Net framework to enable Outlook 2000 which will wind up on the chopping block once Office 2003 makes it's debut.

      I wouldn't want to tackle this project. While the intentions appear good, it's just another me too.

      Now, Colab - the German government's well funded project already works albeit with their own client and Bynari's connector which took the place of Steltor after Oracle bought Steltor.

      I hope these guys succeed. But look at the carnage. Ever look at the Open Exchange Project. Abandoned by Luke. What about Sendmail.com's fierce announcement that it was going into groupware -- two years ago?

      This is a tough customer. One of the worse development glitches, you need Microsoft developers to build parts of the product. Ooh, they just don't mix.

      • Re:MAPI? (Score:4, Informative)

        by scalis ( 594038 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @11:37AM (#6407487) Homepage
        "Et tu Brutus?"

        Wasnt this what the Czar of rome said when his former ally Brutus stabbed him in the back?
        The open source movement is hardly an ally of MS Exchange or am I missing out?

        Anyway, what I was thinking was that Yes, you are right. Competing with Exchange IS a tough fight mainly because of Outlook being the most popular browser combined with the most widespread and, in my view, one of the most powerful collaboration systems around.
        I support, implement and manage (mostly) *nix based systems..... And then we have Exchange. Impossible to get rid of because of two things:
        A) Users like outlook
        B) No other collaboration tool for the same cost or less impresses management
        Now, point A) is easy. Most users tend to love Evolution too since it works in the exact same way but without shared calendars and the like, no change of software. period. Points B kicks in.
        Any attempt to solve point B, ANY attempt, is most welcome.
        I DO hope this will work since one of the major downsides of Exchange is the crappy protocol MAPI and its successors.

        • Re:MAPI? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Theatetus ( 521747 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @12:05PM (#6407643) Journal
          Wasnt this what the Czar of rome said when his former ally Brutus stabbed him in the back?

          A: He's usually called a "Caesar" not a "Czar".

          B: He was stabbed in the crotch, not the back.

          C: According to Plutarch he said kai su, teknon; according to Shakespeare he said et tu, brute.

          B) No other collaboration tool for the same cost or less impresses management

          It's funny, I've noticed how in love PHB's are with exchange because of all the bullet-points it has.

          But when I think about it, I've never seen an office use exchange/outlook for anything but email and signing up for the conference room on a single public calendar.

          • Re:MAPI? (Score:3, Funny)

            by scalis ( 594038 )
            He was stabbed in the crotch, not the back.

            Stabbing an ally in the crotch is definitely to stab someone in the back. ;)

          • Re:MAPI? (Score:3, Informative)

            Ts,Ts,Ts. Kids today. Never read something else than comics.

            A: He's usually called a "Caesar" not a "Czar".

            He's not called "a" Caesar. He was the Caesar, Julius Caesar. He was killed at the idens of March 44 BC, because he wanted to become imperator of Rome. The terms "Czar", "Zar" and "Kaiser" are derived from his name. And also the month of July and until 1513 the Calendar was named the "julian calendar" because he invented or at least ordered it.

      • Re:MAPI? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by shokk ( 187512 ) <ernieoporto.yahoo@com> on Thursday July 10, 2003 @12:20PM (#6407722) Homepage Journal
        This sounds like a complete show-stopper. The use of basic Exchange-like functionality in an organization is just a first step. After that come plugins for all sorts of CRMs and other such sales and marketing applications. Still it is admirable that they have covered the tiny fraction of the world that only uses Exchange for what Outlook already does on its own. Also important will be adding functionality that Exchange itself is missing so that people are drawn to this server.
    • > I'm sure you've heard this a million times, but the biggest concern
      > people will have is how to make Outlook interoperate with
      > OpenGroupware.org.

      Yes. I would like to point out that OGo is one of the very few
      solutions which provide a full MAPI storage provider (aka live access)
      instead of just a sync.

      > Is the ZideLook plugin free?


      > If not, what are the
      > licensing costs

      AFAIK about EUR 55, depending on the number of users. For exact
      information contact sales@skyrix.de.

      > and woul
  • by DigitalCH ( 582593 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:35AM (#6406752)
    This still doesn't cut it for really big enterprise. Exchange has excellent features for things like VOip, blackberry, etc. That this solution simply can't meet... now or in the next few years.

    That being said it is nice to see that there is an option for mid-sized businesses finally. They were the ones who really got nailed by the MSFT tax.
    • by laetus ( 45131 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:39AM (#6406781)
      Microsoft didn't start out at the enterprise level. Their apps started small and then they (tried, some people say) to scale them to the enterprise.

      I'm glad to see you're at least giving these guys a chance at the "mid-sized" business market.
    • by 955301 ( 209856 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:43AM (#6406804) Journal
      There is an open source public branch exchange solution already. Supports SIP phones, conferencing, etc.

      Check it out [asterisk.org]. It's stable, easy to work with, and the mailing list is very active.

    • Buzzwords (Score:5, Insightful)

      by uradu ( 10768 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:44AM (#6406817)
      The last two "big enterprises" I've worked for (including the current one) have only used the out-of-the-box functionality of Exchange. VoIP? Ha! Blackberry? Ha! Just because InfoWorld profiles a couple of companies using that stuff doesn't mean that the majority of companies do.
      • by Advocadus Diaboli ( 323784 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:54AM (#6406872)
        I'm working for a "big enterprise" firm and we tried out Groupware several times. All the projects more or less failed not because of technical problems, the real problem is that using Groupware also means that the user has to be "open-minded". Our users unnfortuantely were afraid that by using Groupware others could do some "data mining" on their work and that they have no secrets anymore. Everybody could see what they are working on, how much they do and so on. And they didn't want that. As long as people don't want to share their knowledge and data about their actual jobs you won't get Groupware working, no matter if its proprietary Groupware solutions or OpenGroupware.
      • I'm not sure what's in the blackberry, but WAP browsing and Mobile Active Sync (for Pocket PCs) is out of the box in Exchange 2003. Also, Outlook Web Access is basically unbeatable. Finally, couple Exchange 2003 with Outlook 2003, and you can do cached folders, which means any Exchange server is *fast*.

        My new most favorite feature:
        With a Pocket PC Phone version 2003 and Exchange 2003 (both of which I have), you can have it send you a specially formatted text message when you get new items (read: mail), a
        • Also, Outlook Web Access is basically unbeatable.

          More like, excretable. I have to use it at work, and it doesn't work right with Mozilla, so I have to use NS4. Admittedly, it could be the morons that administer it screwed it up :(.


          • More like, excretable. I have to use it at work, and it doesn't work right with Mozilla, so I have to use NS4. Admittedly, it could be the morons that administer it screwed it up

            Reverse situation here, the admin morons screwed it up so well that IE won't logon (domain authentication issues) whilst Mozilla works fine. 8-)

      • Re:Buzzwords (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Asprin ( 545477 )

        I have far less groupware experience than some of the other posters, but I want to share this in hopes that others can confirm or refute my opinion that the VALUE of groupware is overrated for many (if not most) organizations.

        I have installed GroupWise and Exchange a couple of times as a consultant, as well as managing a mid-size GroupWise network for three years.

        My experience is that everyone uses the group features in the beginning (for scheduling, conferences, etc.), but over time very few stick
        • Re:Buzzwords (Score:4, Interesting)

          by gi-tux ( 309771 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @01:26PM (#6408192) Homepage
          My experiences are a little different than yours. Where I presently work, we use Exchange/Outlook for groupware. Some of the folks use it and use it well, however most use it as email (similar to your experience) or because they are forced to use it by their manager.

          However, at my previous job, we didn't use a groupware package. We had a real X.500 directory server for addressing within the organization, we had an email system that was best of class that tied to the X.500 DSA, we had a calendaring system that was best of class that tied to the X.500 DSA and the email system (at the server). We had shared email folders via the email server and shared addressbooks via the email server also.

          EMail as based on IMAP, SMTP, and IMSP and came from a company then known as Esys, later ExecMail, not sure if they even exist anymore). Their server was basically the same as the cyrus code. The calendar was CorporateTime (later Steltor and now Oracle). We used Palm Pilot handhelds that sync'ed with the calendars just fine. And later even added support for Windows CE (I left there before it was renamed PocketPC but I am sure that it worked as well).

          We had about 3500 email users (all the full time employees of the organization) and close to 1000 calendar users (most of the professional and management type employees). We had about 90% of the users actually using the systems. Everyone was given a training class on proper usage of the systems by our in-house training staff and everyone was confident that they knew how to use the systems.

          I attribute the usage of the systems to three things. First was training the users to use the systems (not every bell and whistle, but what they needed). Second was the fact that we didn't look for everything in one package, but got the best of class for each individual area. Third was that the packages would actually loosely integrate together.

          That is what I would look for today, if I were assigned to get a groupware system together for a company. Unfortunately, with too many people interested in getting everything under one hood, it is getting difficult to get best of class applications. This is true in everything including office suites, office automation (otherwise known as groupware), etc. I have, to this day, never found an email client that I liked as well as the client from ExecMail. It had features that I have never found anywhere else. WordPerfect still tries to fall under my fingers occassionally for WordProcessing (however, I never really liked the rest of their suite.

          • Esys / Execmail (Score:3, Informative)

            by rickmoen ( 1322 )
            gi-tux wrote:

            EMail was based on IMAP, SMTP, and IMSP and came from a company then known as Esys, later ExecMail, not sure if they even exist anymore).

            Originally it was called "Simeon" (MUA and MTA pieces), from Canadian firm Esys. Then it was Execmail from Execmail, Inc. Then, there were some mergers involving companies called Isode and Messaging Direct, Inc. (one of which may now own the other; I forget).

            In any event, that firm now owns the rights, and could resell it if it wished, but has appare

    • by Erore ( 8382 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:51AM (#6406860)
      It's a misconception that small and medium sized businesses do not have needs every bit as complex as those of large companies. They still have things that need to be done that are critical to their business, and messaging may very well be one of them.

      Also, a mid-sized business was hit no harder than a larger businesses by Microsoft's license 6.0. In fact, Microsoft lowered the entry requirements for Select and Enterprise agreements, which means more mid-size businesses could participate in that particular brand of extortion.
    • maybe this can't cut it in the big enterprise just yet, but there's tons of small businesses that don't need or can live without the advanced features of exchange. Especially when an exchange solution costs [microsoft.com] (I'm sure I could find it cheaper, but I'm lazy) $1199 for win2k server + ($700 || $4000) for exchange + ($67 * #users) for client licenses. For a company with only 10 employees, that's a minimum of $2570 for email software costs alone (since exchange is typically run on a dedicated machine).
    • by mikefoley ( 51521 ) <<moc.foley> <ta> <ekim>> on Thursday July 10, 2003 @10:06AM (#6406933) Homepage
      Let's not put the cart before the horse. Get a solid open-sourced replacement for basic Exchange Server functionality (Contacts, Calendar, Email, etc...) and the add-ons will happen FAST.
      • Let's not put the cart before the horse. Get a solid open-sourced replacement for basic Exchange Server functionality (Contacts, Calendar, Email, etc...) and the add-ons will happen FAST.

        Like this? [exchange4linux.org] I'm not saying it's perfect (closed source MAPI connector), but everything and I mean everything is stored in pgsql and 99% of it is in plain English. I've just been playing with it these past few days (importing 4000 contacts, about 2500 emails, shared folders, calendars, etc.) and checking it out... work

    • > blackberry

      No problem there; a BlackBerry plugin could be written for OpenGroupware. Just a SMOP - Simple Matter Of Programming.
  • Documentation? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nakhla ( 68363 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:36AM (#6406759) Homepage
    Hmmm...The site seems to be lacking any decent documentation as to functionality. Is this just a drop-in replacement for Exchange? Or, do I have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get Outlook, et al to connect to it?
  • Great job and kudos to the OpenGroupware folks and their sponsors. [opengroupware.org]
  • Good, but (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grennis ( 344262 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:38AM (#6406774)
    This is certainly a great step in the right direction, but Microsoft will be releasing their next-generation Titanium [microsoft.com] Exchange server. The major new feature of Titanium is integrated mobile device support for accessing your calendar, emails, etc.

    It sure would be nice to see these features in an open source alternative!

    • As long as OpenGroupWare has a web interface, accessing your calendar, mailbox etc. shouldn't be too much of a problem I guess. It's just that somebody must adjust the html-code so it can be displayed properly on a low-res screen.
    • How secure is a system like that? Where I work, you cannot have a PDA that has any form of wireless connectivity because of security concerns. Security would even like to keep people from bringing their cell phones in to work. I finally got a nice job and I cannot even get my cell phone / PDA.
    • by Lysol ( 11150 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @10:26AM (#6407050)
      I'm not necessairly a fan of Oracle and I'm definitely no fan of Exchange (out of experience), but I watched a little Oracle Collaboration Suite marketing demo on their site and for a moment, just a moment, I put myself in a biz guy frame of mind and thought "wow, that actually looks pretty kick ass". They have it intergrated not only with pda/phone but also with voice commands - everything. The whole enchalada.

      Of course, I have no idea about the stability, hardware costs, and licenses. But, it seems as tho Oracle is already ahead of Titanium - not that that matters much to M$ customers. Still interesting nonetheless.

      While I commend the Opengroupware product, I'm not too sure when the OS community will be able to come up with something like the Oracle Collab Suite. Not that they have to, but I guess biz types will be looking for features that exist in a shrink wrapped solution.
    • Oh my god!! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Gads ( 566341 )
      They did that ? They bring everything to the Mobile?!

      I can't manage to understand where is the real challenge in bringing such things to Mobile ?
      Since most of Mobile use WAP or i-Mode, you can display anything on it with format similar to HTML.

      In this case, the challenge is: make a good UI, nothing more, I think.
  • So who'll be the first to make a Gentoo ebuild [gentoo.org] for it?
  • This is excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by heironymouscoward ( 683461 ) <heironymouscoward.yahoo@com> on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:39AM (#6406783) Journal
    Slowly, slowly, one step at a time. A position taken by OSS can never be captured back, and the enemy does not have an infinite ground to fall back on. The circle widens, and there are only two kinds of protagonist: 'us' within the circle, and 'them' outside.
    No apologies for my use of the language of aggression - this is the way of human affairs.
    But seriously, this will drive OSS into the heart of mid-sized businesses.
    • The circle just closed, you mean...

      With the massive database support(Oracle, MySQL, DB2...), the small desktop tools (OpenOffice) and all the network management software (Too... Many... Help!...), the Linux was "only" missing some big back office stuff, as in a large cooperation engine.

      Now, if you are really willing, and for the FIRST TIME, you can go end to end Linux.

      and you are tight. Now that the backbone exists, all the WAP and WhatNot connectivity modules can be (openly) develloped.

      Linux covers all
      • by pmz ( 462998 )

        It is important for us to make a more general distinction between those things from Microsoft and those things not from Microsoft. In a healthy market, we should be able to focus on going end-to-end with any OS, given that it supports the necessary standards.

        Linux is simply an option. A very good option, but by far not the only one. We need choice more than anything else, lest we stagnate once more.
    • To quote myself... if you're going to sound like an arrogant blowhard of a jackass, at least use the correct metaphors.

      Your post should be modded +5 Funny.
    • by Ciderx ( 524837 )
      Don't be daft. If you are a professional, there is no "them" and "us". If you are unable to look at all solutions in terms of their technological prowess, as opposed to engineering some ludicrous political ambition about being "us, not them", then no one should value your opinion in an IT decision of the sort of magnitude of which Groupware product to use.
      • If you are an *employed* professional you had better be aware of "them" / "us". Try explaining to your boss at Ford why you authorized the purchase of a fleet of Pontiacs for executive use. "Oh, and we'll be using Chevy vans for delivery."
  • by Zeddicus_Z ( 214454 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:40AM (#6406785) Homepage
    If you notice, the screenies of Outlook are using a plugin called Zidelook. They dont mention whether this is requisite to get full compatibility (i.e. drop-in replacement for exchange), but they DO mention that OpenGroupware base is not [opengroupware.org] compatible with Zidelook.

    To use Zidelook, you must use SKYRiX, and "enterprise distribution" of OpenGroupware. I.e. it's a commercial plug-in.

    Of course, I could be wrong, but that's just how it reads.
    • by lennart78 ( 515598 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:48AM (#6406838)
      Why you would use a security-hole ridden, payware product to access your mail and calendar, when you're allready on the open source bandwagon is beyond me.

      The staying power of Outlook is mostly due to the fact that a lot of companies are hooked on Microsoft products anyway. And I guess it will continue to be that way as long as Exchange keeps outrunning open source groupware alternatives. (Which it probably will for another couple of years, since this is a 1.0 version or something like that.)
      • by a_timid_mouse ( 607237 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:54AM (#6406873)
        So that you can weed out MS products from your back office without upsetting the end user. I would think that if you can replace the server without management noticing, then you've already won most of the battle. Replacing the client will be easier for management to accept once they realize that it will still work with the stuff they already have (and have paid for) and know well. It's a security blanket to know that if you end up not liking the opensource client you can always fall back on what you're already accustomed to.
      • Agreed.. but what would you guys recommend as an outlook replacement for windows? Preferably one that is opensource.. or free... and compatible with opengroupware.
      • Why you would use a security-hole ridden, payware product to access your mail and calendar, when you're allready on the open source bandwagon is beyond me.

        For several reasons:

        1. Existing software investments - some people already have an investment in Windows and Outlook on their desktops and are currently running it, even it they may not be talking to an Exchange server.
        2. Cost of retraining - A lot of people know Outlook because they either are using it or have used it at their job. Something else may
    • If you read the FAQ, they mention that the ZideStore server is open-source, but the Zidelook plugin for Outlook is *NOT*. that's what maps the MAPI calls to WebDAV calls, and is the part you would really want to have for free.

      So this is really just another half-assed payware product. ugh. I hate exchange, I want it's abomination gone, but I'm not going to replace it unless it's with something free, open and stable.

      If I'm going to buy closed source products from someone, it's going to be from somewhere tha
  • Kroupware/Kolab 1.0 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by twener ( 603089 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:41AM (#6406793)
    Don't forget the Kolab 1.0 server [kroupware.org] which is supposed to be released during LinuxTag too.
  • Overhead? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:41AM (#6406794) Homepage Journal

    A drop in replacement for Exchange is great (I love the idea) but how does it perform? It would be silly to assume that just because it's on $FREE_OS it will outperform the Windows counterpart.

    • by ites ( 600337 )
      Oh yeah, forgot this gem.
      We were testing an email application. Send a thousand emails to a tiny free email server on Windows, it swallows and asks for more. Send a thousand emails to our Linux box, it blinks and says 'yeah, so what?' Send a thousand emails to the departmental Exchange server... it crashes and IT support screams at us for 'overloading' their box. Just cracks me up.
  • The front page of the OGo site has a quote from `Gary Frederick, Leader of the OpenOffice.org Groupware Project' saying:

    ` OGo is important because it's the missing link in the open source software stack. It's the end of a decade-long effort to map all the key infrastructure and standard desktop applications -- including ... the browser (Mozilla, Konquerer, Opera) ... - to free software.'

    Last time I checked, Opera was commercial software, neither Free (well, the copy I'm using right now is Free-Beer ad-

  • by invisik ( 227250 ) * on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:51AM (#6406854) Homepage
    As a consultant to small- to miz-sized companies, this has been the place where Linux has fallen short of a "complete" server solution. Everyone wants what Exchange can do, but can't break the bank to buy it. And to top it off, the archive is about 20mb!

    One concern is the selection of client programs. Most need an additional connector ($) or are less then functional (Mozilla Calendar or the web--people always complain about the web access for some reason). It would be my vote that the new split Mozilla works closely on their calendar features with this project. They have a good start already.

    Thanks to all the developers and companies that put OpenGroupware.Org together!!!

  • Our IT department is chearing. We can see President Thomas J. Whitmore declaring, "this...... is our Independence Day!!!!!!"
  • by t482 ( 193197 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @09:59AM (#6406895) Homepage
    There are two definitions of groupware in the industry. The Microsoft one: groupware consists of email with some additional productivity: Calendar, Mail, and basic forms(which are hardly ever used). And the IBM Lotus one: groupware consists of database forms for routing and document management and email.

    Competing with the Outlook definition:
    OS foundations Chandler (Calendar focused) [osafoundation.org]
    Mozilla Mail (+calendar proj) [mozilla.org]
    Evolution [evolution.org]
    Open Groupware [opengroupware.org]
    kmail/KGroupware [kde.org]

    And from the Lotus Perspective:
    www.phpgroupware.org [phpgroupware.org]
    zope [zope.org]
    OpenACS [openacs.org]
    And Lotus Domino [lotux.com]which runs on Linux. The client works fine in wine or crossover - but is not officially supported.
  • check their e-mail/calendar/appointments even though their site is slashdotted? ;o)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Check Convea (http://www.convea.com) which is a great open source web based groupware product (currently supports MS platform only with Linux / Moz version in development).
  • huzzah! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Machine9 ( 627913 )
    now I'll finally be able to realize my dream of having an Exchange-like structure where I work...

    Believe it or not, nobody here is aware of the others' appointments...

    ...and ever since switching every (office) PC down here to Mandrake, it'll all cost my company 0,00 (apart from my measly wage, which they'd have paid anyways)

  • OpenGroupware.org is not a Sun [sun.com] sponsored project.
    That explains why they're running on Linux [netcraft.com] rather than Solaris [netcraft.com].
  • by scottymonkeypants ( 627445 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @10:12AM (#6406962)
    I think that this comes at a good time in the waning of the microsoft cycle. Somewhere above (the first post, I think) I read that this is not a good solution for big enterprise. I agree. The microsoft people have given the big businesses so many features (read: crutches) in their recent releases of exchange that it would be, to them, like severing a limb to switch to a software package that lacks even one of said features.

    I know this because I work for one of those corporations, and they're getting killed by the microsoft licensing bullshit that's happening right now. They're still not switching to a more reasonable deployment platform, because they feel they can't live without all of the "state of the art" features in the microsoft package.

    But I digress. I also agree that this is a great solution for mid-size businesses. And that's just fine, because the country is not made up entirely, or even mostly, of big business; mid-sized businesses comprise a huge chunk of the market, and they really are the ones who get screwed by the microsoft model. If they come on board to the open source game, then the market comes with them. The large businesses will follow along soon after microsoft loses the market share that small to mid-size businesses comprise.
  • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @10:19AM (#6406996)

    For all the posts saying "it still doesn't do every last little thing that Exchange does!", do you really need those things?

    You might try defining your requirements based on business needs, rather than the feature set of one piece of software. Or is that a crazy, radical idea?

    Reminds me of all those guys doing simple web graphics, who say that Gimp doesn't do {some esoteric prepress color feature} that PhotoShop does, so they just can't use it ;)

  • by micaiah ( 593598 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @10:19AM (#6407000)
    We just purchased Oracle's collaboration suite for various reasons. One thing that Oracle needs improvement on is the web interface. Why, because it totally sucks! A high school web development class could do a better job. IMHO, what Oracle needs to do is borrow the code from OpenGroupware's web interface and then give back something. Just like Apple did with Safari/Konqueror.
  • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @10:21AM (#6407009)
    I hate the fact that so much effort is going into interoperability with MS. That includes OpenOffice too.

    I think this idea of having a "drop in" replacement for Exchange is just nuts. Do you think the Apache project would have gotten to where it is today if they decided what they had to do was a "drop in" replacement for IIS? (Yes, I know the chronology of metaphor is skewy, but you know what I'm trying to say).

    What we should be concentrating on is making the best possible tool for the job, not making it compatible with existing close-source software. That's the only way to win in the long term.
  • by Bates ( 76023 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @10:23AM (#6407022) Homepage
    Umm.... Why do I have to use a closed source plugin to connect an open source client to an open source server?
  • I'm trying to give this a whirl on my Mac, and am getting exactly nowhere. The README file just says
    - for build instructions, go to the developer section on

    But the (apparently) relevant page [opengroupware.org] on their site is just a walkthrough of the major system components, with a note saying

    Note that OpenGroupware.org packages are different to SKYRiX ones and do not contain any autoconfiguration, so you need to do some steps on your own.

    We are going to improve that section over the next days, stay tuned.

    Which means that, apparently, the old ./configure && make && make test && sudo make install is unlikely to work here.

    So -- has anyone tried this yet? Has anyone tried it on a non-Linux machine?

  • Exchange has nothing to be proud of!!
    Exchange is a horrible product... The groupware calendar sharing isn't even real time. Updates are sent in the message queue. I hate Exchange... people are stupid... The only reason it does well is the same reason people buy a combo TV/VCR/DVD/DirecTV/Tivo that is all together... It's simple if it's all in one package.

    I think the answer to Groupware problem is not new software; but to create a new protocol standard. Something to replace in a groupware environment by
    • Exchange has nothing to be proud of!! Exchange is a horrible product...

      Which is why the world is full of IT staff that wish there was some way to dump it without having to get Accounts to agree to install a whole new set of clients (and possibly OSs).

      A backwards compatable replacement is the classic first step to replacing a legacy system like Windows. With the current user base freed from their old system you can then go on to give them all the other things you mentioned.


  • It should be "EGo".
  • by Moderation abuser ( 184013 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @10:35AM (#6407114)
    Exchange really isn't very good at groupware. It does nice calendaring, but calendaring isn't groupware. It's also very rigid in terms of functionality and not terribly flexible.

    Notes would be a better template for a groupware solution. From a server point of view anyway.

  • Another choice (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ded Bob ( 67043 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @11:01AM (#6407264) Homepage
    more.groupware [moregroupware.org] is another Open Source project for web-based groupware.
  • by tadas ( 34825 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @11:07AM (#6407289)
    To me, a drop-in replacement for Exchange server means that I can move all of my users' mailboxes, public folders, etc. to the new server, using something like System Manager. A drop-in will also let me replicate public folders, pick up email addresses, etc. from Active Directory, etc. etc. All I would need to do is point the Outlook clients to the new "exchange server".

    If it doesn't do all that (I can't tell, site is /.'ed), it may be a wonderful product, but it is definitely *not* a drop-in replacement.

    • I've been looking for a spot to shout "The emperor has no clothes!" This post seemed appropriate in that I was able to view the site, and read the FAQ. And while I applaud this effort and wish it every success, this is NOT an Exchange Take-out... Yet.

      Every place I've ever worked for the past 6 years has had an Exchange server, and at each company, the email and calendaring features were the most used. I am no fan of Exchange, or any MS product, but Exchange does provide a certain baseline of service, right
  • by the_rev_matt ( 239420 ) <slashbotNO@SPAMrevmatt.com> on Thursday July 10, 2003 @11:09AM (#6407306) Homepage
    Now that's an enterprise ready organization. Maybe I'll try back in a few hours. Or maybe I'll have forgotten by then. Fortunately, /. will remind me by posting a dupe of this in the next few days (it's just a joke, sheesh!).

  • by thefoobar ( 131715 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @11:11AM (#6407324) Homepage
    This seems to be one tough niche to break into. Look at the number of products trying to get into the market Exchange and Notes seem to dominate. The main issue is giving companies a reason to switch. I run an Exchange / Outlook shop simply because that's what it was when I got there. There simply is not the time or the money to try and make the switch. And why? Because it's Open Source? That is no reason to throw previously invested money out the window.

    The other issue is unification. One search on Freshmeat reveals over sixty related projects. No one wants to band together on something. No one wants to create a "unified" product. It seems that there are a few things that have to be included by default - Exchange compatibility and transition tools.

    Look at Oracle's Collaboration Suite, SuSE's OpenExchange Server, and all of the commercial "alternatives" out there. They include transition tools, but you have to hire a consultant to perform the transition. They include "Exchange compatibility" in that you can continue to run Outlook. Well, once you throw in the consultant and the cost of the connection utilities, you cost more than buying Exchange and licensing Outlook outright.

    It's an endless cycle. Companies will continue to dump out alternatives, trying to play catch-up with Exchange, while Microsoft continues to add new features, lower their price to be competitive, and offer "free" training with purchase.

    What's the solution to this issue? Hell if I know...I just install the stuff. But if we want a competitor that is _competitive_, the community will have to develop both an incentive to switch and the tools to do it.
    • And why? Because it's Open Source? That is no reason to throw previously invested money out the window.

      I think you're forgetting that it is possible that an MS Exchange outfit may very well have a higher TCO than an open source solution. As a result, companies may choose to switch simply because it's cost effective. For example, suppose it cost you x to switch over to another system, but in the long run, it'll save you 2x every year. Sounds like a great deal to me. After all, it's arguments like this
    • And why? Because it's Open Source? That is no reason to throw previously invested money out the window.

      Actually, that is not true. Previously invested money should have no bearing on decision making.

      If you take any economics courses, that is usually something that is covered early on. People have this instinct to worry about money that has been spent already, but logically it is wrong to do so.

      You need to do the math to see if the future value of using an alternate solution is greater than the current
  • by PsyQ ( 87838 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @11:41AM (#6407510) Homepage
    If you buy the current issue of Linux Magazin (Germany), you'll get a bootable Knoppix CD where OpenGroupware with all its components (PostgreSQL, Cyrus-IMAP etc.) is already set up and ready to use. You can try almost all the features, so you see what you'd be getting without having to spend the hour or so required to set things up on a fresh server.

    Looks like this is exactly what we've been looking for all this time, and Skyrix will offer commercial support for the package as well as nifty add-ons (that cost some money).
  • by ErikJson ( 27997 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @01:00PM (#6407997)
    We're trying to replace Exchange where I work and I've been involved in the process. I suppose it all depends on which features of exchange you want to replace. The main problem, I think, is Outlook. Outlook is hard to talk to. We would like to be able to use other clients along with Outlook (Mozilla and Moz Calendar, some web-based service maybe, Evolution, etc).

    But Outlook has to stay. Primarily because no other application is able to do synchronization with PDA:s (both PocketPC and Palm devices) in a decent way. It's a shame that such a basic feature seems so hard to implement in OSS clients.

    Mail is easy to replace. Exchange already supports IMAP, and throwing in an OSS IMAP-server (Cyrus for example) is a piece of cake. Tell everyone to configure Outlook to use the new IMAP-server and you're done.

    Address book functionality _should_ work with an LDAP-server like OpenLDAP. Read this [onlamp.com].

    The calendar thing is the hard part. Outlook supports publishing iCalendar data via WebDAV and FTP, but that's just FREEBUSY-info wich Mozilla Calendar ignores, and Mozilla publishes complete iCal-events which Outlook ignores. Great. Sure, there are closed source plug-ins for Outlook that could do the job, but we're after a completely open source solution at the server end.

    I think we're going to replace what we can anyway and just skip the calendar part right now. Hopefully some software will evolve that we can drop in for a complete calendar solution some time in the near future.

  • by unoengborg ( 209251 ) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @07:11PM (#6410812) Homepage
    This is great. We really need this type of software in the open source world. Unfortunately it doesn't run on windows. That meeans that it will be harder to get it to be used in windows infested work places.

    Getting open sourced applications to run well on the windows platform is probably the best way of fighting the Microsoft monopoly. It's much easier to convince management to replace propriatory software if can be done radually and in a less high profile fashion.

    And when enough open source software have invaded Microsft space, there will be no reason to run windows as your OS. At that time there will be little resistance in replaceing windows with Linux or FreeBSD.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger