Software

EGroupware

The EGroupware suite is a free, open source groupware suite that allows users to manage contacts, e-mail, projects, to-do lists, and much more. EGroupware is very much like Microsoft Exchange Server, only it offers more features.

The EGroupware suite is a free, open source groupware suite that allows users to manage contacts, e-mail, projects, to-do lists, and much more. EGroupware is very much like Microsoft Exchange Server, only it offers more features.

Specifications

  • CPU: Pentium III or AMD K6, 800MHz or higher
  • Hard Drive: At least 500MB for installation (additional space needed for uploads and attachments)
  • RAM: 256MB
  • Operating System: Linux, Windows, OS X
  • Web Server: Apache, IIS, and any Web server that supports PHP
  • Database: MySQL, PostgreSQL, MaxDB, MsSQL
  • SMTP: Postfix, EXIM, Sendmail, Mercury
  • Additional information

Who's it for?

The EGroupware suite would best fit any business or enterprise looking for a scalable, reliable, cost-effective replacement for Microsoft Exchange Server and that has the IT staff to get the system up and running. The size of your deployment should not be a deterring factor with EGroupware, as it can handle thousands of concurrent users.

What problem does it solve?

EGroupware is a massive tool that deftly overcomes the costly licenses of Microsoft Exchange with a much more feature-rich replacement.

Standout features

  • Calendar (including support for groups, resources, and contacts)
  • Contact manager (support for both SQL or LDAP)
  • Integrated IMAP mail client
  • Infolog (tasks and notes)
  • Project Management
  • Resource and inventory management
  • File manager
  • Web-based authoring system
  • Time tracker
  • Bug Tracker
  • Wiki
  • Knowledge base
  • On demand support from Stylite

What's wrong?

The first and most important issue with EGroupware is installation. The EGroupware suite isn't like Microsoft Exchange where you can either purchase a pre-installed server or purchase a piece of software that will seamlessly and easily install it onto a welcoming environment. The EGroupware installation is a challenge. It would be nice if someone would create a Linux Live distribution that contains an installed EGroupware. This, I think, would overcome the single biggest hurdle to adoption.

The next issue is connecting to the server from clients. In earlier versions of EGroupware (1.4) you had to roll into the system another tool to allow synchronization to clients. As of version 1.6 these tools are already implemented. That of course doesn't make synchronizing a snap.

The preferred method of connecting to EGroupware (from clients) is using XML RPC. But this method won't work for Evolution. So if you have users who plan on synchronizing with the GNOME groupware client you better have SyncML support installed with EGroupware. Both Evolution and Exchange will connect using SyncML but Kontact will not. So if you have users who want to use the KDE groupware client you better add XML RPC support.

Competition

Bottom line for business

If you are looking for something to cut costs in your enterprise one of the first areas you should look is open source replacements for costlier solutions. The EGroupware suite is a perfect replacement for Microsoft Exchange Server that will serve small-, mid-, and large-enterprise needs. I have personally deployed EGroupware on a number of occasions and I can happily say they have been running along with little to no intervention.

User rating

Have you deployed EGroupware? If so, how would you rate your experience? Rate this application below and compare your results with other TechRepublic members.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

5 comments
Jaqui
Jaqui

have to look at it again, but the last time I looked at it, even logging into it's web interface to configure the installed modules was broken, making it not usable.

cloudraiser
cloudraiser

Hi, I'm Mike Turner. I'm working now for more than a year with EGroupware in my company. It solves our communication problems! It's a amazing tool and we didn't have problems with installation. We're looking to see that project growing. Mike.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Are you using something in your enterprise besides Microsoft Exchange Server? How would you rate the experience?

maclovin
maclovin

I have been using Kerio MailServer with this organization, actually both of the main companies I work for, for the duration of my current employment, and I have to say, as I use Exchange for one of the other organizations, that Kerio is much better, and you can still sync PDAs without issue, just like it's an Exchange Server. Calendar/Contacts/Email work great! This is on an XServe, so you can get Macs now! :D Just don't use Entourage :D, but once Exchange support comes out on Snow Leopard, that should work great! I'm going through an entire system upgrade at the beginning of next year to get Snow Leopard on all the machines we own :D

W0wbagger
W0wbagger

We use Alt-N's MDaemon, with their outlook connector to great effect. Not free, but much less expensive and *very* feature rich.

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