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 jackwallen.com.

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