Large companies usually have either a proprietary or a built-in-house groupware tool. Small to mid-sized businesses that prefer to avoid the pitfalls of using Google Apps might be looking for something to house within their company.

If you happen to have a spare Windows, Linux, Solaris, Apple, or FreeBSD machine lying around, you’re in luck because Simple Groupware is ready to serve your SMB’s needs. Simple Groupware’s feature list includes Email, Calendar, Contacts, CMS, Bookmarks, Notes, Files, Chat, FAQ, News, RSS, Backups, Inventory, and much more.

Installation requirements

  • Webserver: Apache 2.x and newer / IIS 7 and newer / nginx 1.x and newer
  • PHP: 5.3.0 and higher
  • Database: at least MySQL 5, MariaDB 5, PostgreSQL 8.2, SQLite 3.0

I will demonstrate how to install this amazing groupware suite on a Ubuntu 12.04 platform.

Step 1: Download and unpack the installation file

  1. Point your browser to the Simple Groupware download page, download the .tar.gz file (download the full source not the Installer), and move that file to your web server’s document root (Ubuntu is /var/www/).
  2. Open a terminal window, change to /var/www, and issue the command sudo tar xvzf SimpleGroupware_XXX.tar.gz (XXX is the release number); this will create the new directory /var/www/SimpleGroupware_XXX (XXX is the release number).
  3. Change the name of the new directory with the command sudo mv SimpleGroupware_XXX SimpleGroupware (XXX is the release number).

Step 2: Create the necessary database

You will need to create a database for Simple Groupware. Since I am using a LAMP server, my database will be MySQL. I used the MySQL Workbench tool to create and manage my databases. From within the MySQL Workbench tool, create a database named simplegroupware of the UTF8 Default Collation type.

Step 3: Install the PHP GD library

Simple Groupware requires the PHP GD library for image processing. To install this PHP extension, follow these steps:

  1. Open a terminal window.
  2. Issue the command sudo apt-get install php5-gd.
  3. Type your sudo password.
  4. Hit Enter.

Once GD is installed, you’re ready to continue.

Step 4: Assign folder permissions

In order for the installation to work properly, you must assign the correct folder permissions with the following commands (from within the /var/www/SimpleGroupware directory):

  • sudo chmod ugo+w simple_cache
  • sudo chmod ugo+w simple_store
  • sudo chmod ugo+w bin
  • sudo chmod ugo+w old

Step 5: Start the web-based installation

You are ready to start the web-based installation portion. Open your browser and point it to http://ADDRESS_OF_SERVER/SimpleGroupware/, and the installation will begin.

You need to make sure you have all of the requirements and correct permissions. If you have set the permissions correctly, you will be asked to choose a language. After you select the language, you will go to the next page of the installation. This page quickly builds the translations and customizations based on the language you select. This page will only contain the lines:

Building translations

Building customizations

Execute ../custom/customize.php

When you see the Continue link, click the link to move on. The next screen is where you enter information for the installation (Figure A). You will need to enter the following information:

  • Database Hostname: Hostname or IP address of the database server
  • Database User: User with permissions to create databases
  • Database Password: Password for the database user
  • Database Name: The database you created earlier
  • Admin Username: Name of the user who will server as the site administrator
  • Admin Password: Password for the admin user
  • Folder Structure: Select install demo folders

Figure A

Click the image to enlarge.

Next, scroll down to the bottom of the page, accept the EULA, and continue with the installation. You will see the installation’s progress (Figure B). When the Continue link appears at the bottom of the progress page, the installation is complete.
Figure B

Click the image to enlarge.

Now you can log in (using the administrative user you created during install) and start setting up your new Simple Groupware site. You should click the Main Menu and then click Admin from that page (Figure C) so you can start building and managing your site.
Figure C

Click the image to enlarge.

We’ll approach the administration of the Simple Groupware site in the next entry in this series. Until then, poke around the site, get used to the locations, and see what it has to offer.