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Linux Business Communications Microsoft IT

Exchange Alternatives Round-up 365

Posted by Hemos
from the good-news-for-the-it-set dept.
richi writes "eWEEK has a review of Linux-based alternatives to MS Exchange: Group Where? Almost Anywhere. Focusing on how well they integrate with Outlook, it looks at Bynari Insight 4.2, CommuniGate Pro 4.2, Gordano 11 and Scalix Server 9.2.1."
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Exchange Alternatives Round-up

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  • by SailorFrag (231277) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @09:50AM (#13330236) Homepage
    ExchangeIt [nitix.com] is another option.

    Disclaimer: I used to work there (but not on that product), and I still think that company is really cool.
    • ExchangeIt is another option.

      Disclaimer: I used to work there (but not on that product), and I still think that company is really cool.

      No offense, but their marketing department needs to pull their heads out:

      ExchangeIt! is the only groupware product on the market to simultaneously and transparently support the following clients: Microsoft® Outlook®, secure browser-based access over the Internet, and Ximian® Evolution(TM)*.

      I highly doubt that in all the world, there is not another

      • from their tech demo, they want to sell me everything. The software, the hardware, the OS, everything.

        Sorry but no thanks.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:02AM (#13330354)
      Tell the sales dept that some people (like me) are turned off by the lack of pricing information. "Contact us for pricing" is really anoying, as I can't quickly and easilt compare price/features. It also usually indicates (IME) something that is way over priced. I usually won't even bother contacting them, as there are too may other places willing to tell me what it costs.
      • by glesga_kiss (596639) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @12:33PM (#13331676)
        Tell the sales dept that some people (like me) are turned off by the lack of pricing information.

        Yup, I evaluate expensive software suites now and then, and if you have a "contact us" on the pricing page, it's a negative mark. If I am looking at e.g. 20 different packages, I'll only trial 3 maybe 4 of them. If you have too many negative marks, then you get binned early.

        Go ask your HR department how they deal with CV's and job openings. Same process; you have to get the list to a managable size.

    • by Nimloth (704789) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:08AM (#13330394)
      Any perticular reason when I go to the website and open up the Flash demo to see how it works, it says "Best viewed in fullscreen" inside the non-resizable popup window?

      Are they taunting me?
  • by bad_outlook (868902) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @09:51AM (#13330248) Homepage
    Personally I think these solutions only mimic the problems that Exchange had, why not go a different direction? My money is on Hula [hula-project.org], the great open source project launched by Novell with 20,000 lines of code from their proven NetMail. New versions of NetMail will be built from Hula's codebase, so it will be used in large companies/implementations. It's come a LONG way since February, and I have it running on FreeBSD currently. If interested, hit the mailing list, and we'll help you out.
  • by El Cubano (631386) <robertoNO@SPAMconnexer.com> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @09:52AM (#13330252) Homepage
    It may be a good idea to check out OpenGroupware.org [opengroupware.org]. IIRC, it integrates with Outlook and they are also heavily working on OpenOffice.org and Mozilla integration. This is awesome if you want to transition your backend first. Once you get the back office off of Exchange, you can move the front office to OOo and Mozilla, followed by a switch out of the OS from Windows to Linux or BSD.
  • by charnov (183495) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @09:52AM (#13330253) Homepage Journal
    Without full AD integration it's still kind of pointless. Not to mention the hundreds (thousands?) of programs that need Exchange. The closest I have worked with administratively is Domino and that was an admins nightmare. I run Exchange 2000 servers (again) and I tell ya, other than the dollar cost, these things are great.
    • by Noaccess0 (888935) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @09:59AM (#13330322)
      That depends on your environment. There are still some companies who run 5.5 (I work at one) because the AD structure is so large and encumbered that duct taping a messaging environment to it would be really bad. Granted some of the new features of E2K3 SP1 are pretty nice (cross admin group movement, etc), it's still an ugly migration path for legacy clients. Let's face it, if your sites and subnets are not designed along MS whitepaper specs, you are going to have issues with routing in E2kX.
    • Without full AD integration it's still kind of pointless.

      It's called LDAP. And we were using it for years before Active Directory...

      Oh wait, Active Directory uses LDAP too.

      • You can use pre-existing LDAP directories with Exchange, too (so can any decent mail server), but it's all the integration of the Active Directory infrastructure that is the big deal. You CAN do that with LDAP, but I hope you have a very large staff of very talented programmers to do it and maintane it. AD is the basis for single sign-on, identity management, policy management, etc. I have yet to see anything else out side of products costing a heck of a lot more that can handle the scale that AD does...tha

    • Huh? What exactly do you mean by "Full" integration?

      Besides the fact that the article states that " All the products support Active Directory", what part of AD do you need to support email?

      AD can be accessed using LDAP so all the information is there, and CommuniGate for one, can be externally scripted to do anything you want. I set that sucker up to externally route emails to different office servers based on an AD attribute.

      And yes, Exchange could do the same thing only a lot more expensively and if anyt
    • I agree that AD integration is important, but as an administrator, I still think Exchange is not the easiest thing in the world to live with. Backups and Restores are still pretty labor intensive without 3d party tools, centralized managed archiving is not possible without expensive 3d party tools as well, which makes leagal compliance tough sometimes.
    • Domino is a nightmare if you think of admining it as an Exchange Administrator. If you get out of that counter productive Microsoft mindset, it does become easy after a while like anything else.

      I've done both and highly skilled from Exchange 5.0 and MsMail before that. Going to another mail store type is a cumbersome task and I thought Domino was the worst product ever. I forced myself to re-learn Domino from the ground up, -not as in Exchange does it this way, how does Domino do the same thing- and it b
    • Without full AD integration it's still kind of pointless.

      Would you care to enlighten us on what "full AD integration" means? Active directory is just an LDAP server user to most applications. That's a trivial feature to implement.

      Not to mention the hundreds (thousands?) of programs that need Exchange.

      Can you give some examples of applications that most firms would actually need? Also note that many of those applications exist because Exchange is deficient in areas.

      The closest I have worked with a

    • I agree I run 3 Exchange 2003 servers and they get on average 200+ days of uptime. The last reboot I had was due to a power loss. These things run like a champ if they are setup on proper hardware.
  • IBM fails once again (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dsginter (104154) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @09:54AM (#13330274)
    You'd think that with IBM being the biggest OSS cheerleader that they'd port Lotus Notes. One might think that their support is just a big ad campaign.
    • by wiggles (30088)
      My college Senior Project was a Linux-based Domino server implementation. Worked great for me.

      Click here [ibm.com] to download a trial of Lotus Domino for Linux. Click here [ibm.com] for a Notes client for Windows (works on Wine) and Mac.
  • by DogDude (805747) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @09:55AM (#13330290) Homepage
    How can any of these be considered a viablealternative if "None of the products provides full Outlook-to-Exchange feature fidelity in Outlook"?

    My *real* alternative to an expensive Exchange server in house is: hosted Exchange [hp.com]. It's *much* cheaper for small businesses, and there's no need to sacrifice any functionality.
    • by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda AT etoyoc DOT com> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:12AM (#13330439) Homepage Journal
      Our organization has been running for several years with a web-based calendar and contact list system. One thing we have going for us is that nobody in upper management has ever worked with Outlook, and the few that have not been able to name a capability in Outlook that doesn't work with our system. (They complain because they have to do it in a browser instead of having it all come up through the Email client.)

      We migrated the stafflist to LDAP, so the argument about the staff list not showing up when composing emails has been vanquished as well.

      I think what people need to realize is that contact and scheduling systems are an amalgam of several networking protocols. With a pretty front end. I keep forgetting the pretty front end. In any case, and fool with enough time on his hands and a DB backend could build his own.

      • (They complain because they have to do it in a browser instead of having it all come up through the Email client.)

        Stick an extra copy of firefox on their machine, give it a nice calendary icon, set the homepage to the calendar page, disable all the menubars, change the executable name, change the titlebar with firesomething, and tell everyone it's their new calendaring app. Sure, it's still separate from their email client, but I bet most people wouldn't be able to tell that it's running in a browser...
    • How can any of these be considered a viablealternative if "None of the products provides full Outlook-to-Exchange feature fidelity in Outlook"?

      I think its funny that you do not know what features the alternatives lack, but you see those features as manatory for a viable alternative .

      Microsoft takes, the communication protocol of the day and dumps it in Exchange, and writes the client side support into Outlook.

      IM, VOIP, CRM, ERP, you-name-it, MS as Exchange/Outlook support for it.

      The vast majority of s

    • I'm sorry but that's just a retarded thing to say. Or more precisely that's an unrealistic look at how people compare products. You see that's not the way the world works. You see what your firm ACTUALLY needs and then buy based on that. You don't say well since it doesn't have EVERY SINGLE feature the other product has its not viable. You say, well we need X features and can spend X amount. If a competing product has the features you use that it IS a viable alternative.

    • Hosted Exchange suffers from the problem of attachments. One of their few virtues is that attachments are sent non-interactively; you don't waste time downloading them.

      If your Exchange setup is hosted, you end up having to pull everything from the WAN, which is tedious for larger attachments unless you have 3Mbit or larger pipe and your hosting provider is topologically close to your ISP.

      If you never use them, it's probably a pretty good deal and a lot less headache than in-house Exchange.
  • MAPI? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Do any of these substitute email servers support MS's proprietary MAPI protocol as a fully-implemented workalike? Of course not! Well then, they will never substitute for a real MS Exchange server. MS has seen to that, in that using Outlook as a POP/IMAP client is only a half-assed solution. You might as well just save your money and deploy Thunderbird for free and run it against a free Linux IMAP/POP open source server.
    • Re:MAPI? (Score:4, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:08AM (#13330400) Homepage Journal
      Do any of these substitute email servers support MS's proprietary MAPI protocol as a fully-implemented workalike?

      RTFA:
      None of the products provides full Outlook-to-Exchange feature fidelity in Outlook, but they all hit the basics of group calendar and scheduling, shared folders, and e-mail. The feature that companies are likely to miss most when using the servers we tested with Outlook is forms.
      Administrators also have the additional overhead of deploying a MAPI (Messaging API) connector to each client. With the exception of Bynari, all the vendors support remote packaged distribution of their connectors. With the Bynari offering, administrators will need to perform a few additional tasks to ensure that the connector installs with user- specific settings.

      The problem with MAPI has been less an issue of reverse engineering a protocol, and more an issue of trying to replicate the DCOM interface. Microsoft piled on the technology stacks in making MAPI, thus confounding attempts to create a compatible connector. It was only a year or two ago that Ximian finally figured it out.
      • Re:MAPI? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Kunta Kinte (323399) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:20AM (#13330516) Journal
        It was only a year or two ago that Ximian finally figured it out.

        Ximian hasn't figured out the MAPI, they use WebDAV as their line protocol, I suspect. Could be wrong. Exchange supports WebDAV access.

        Trying to reverse MAPI line protocol is insane. What you want to do is write a client-side connector, like all the vendors in the article. I'm working on one at openconnector.org [openconnector.org]

        MAPI, btw, is a semi-documented standard. There are at least two books on it. But still, MS keeps tweaking it and doesn't release the changes, so we have to go back and reverse engineer those changes. In all its just a lot of coding, rather and reverse engineering.

        • Hmm... I didn't realize that MAPI was not actually reversed by Ximian. Points off them for taking the easy way out. :-/

          Question: Is Brutus [omesc.com] a full MAPI implementation? OMESC claims it is, but I'm not certain if they're referring to the API or Protocol. (My feeling is that they mean the API.)
      • Re:MAPI? (Score:3, Informative)

        by n0-0p (325773)
        Evolution uses the Outlook Web Access over WebDAV interface. This is far simpler than trying to create a compatible MAPI stack because (as you pointed out) there are a number of complex layered protocols required. To my knowledge, only MS has ever made a complete MAPI stack. Everything else uses either MAPI client connectors on Windows or OWA WebDAV to talk to the server from a non-Windows client.
    • Re:MAPI? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Evil Grinn (223934)
      Do any of these substitute email servers support MS's proprietary MAPI protocol as a fully-implemented workalike? Of course not!

      MAPI and the Exchange protocol are two different things. MAPI is an API, a set of functions, for programs that run on Windows to do mail-related stuff. It is also an abstraction, that hides the actual over-the-wire protocol used to talk to Exchange. Third party vendors implement the MAPI interface so that Outlook (and other MAPI clients, if there are any?) can use it. The actual
  • GroupWise? (Score:5, Informative)

    by j-tull (201124) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:08AM (#13330403)
    I'm surprised that the article neglected to mention Novel's GroupWise [novell.com]. Most of your leading anti-Microsoft shops tend to be very pro Novel, and GroupWise is still very much alive and kicking (with version 7 just released [novell.com] yesterday). It supports e-mail, instant messaging, appointments, Microsoft Outlook, and it even comes with a license of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server [novell.com].
    • Oracle Collaboration suite is pretty cool too, works with outlook, IM client, calendaring, document management, etc..
    • Re:GroupWise? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dr.Zong (584494)
      I'll agree with the parent.

      I just migrated my servers from 5.5EP to 6.5, and it is by far the best solution IMHO. Now, we are a Novell Shop mind you.

      We've seen every iteration since the WordPerfect Messaging Server 4.x days. I am debating going to 7.x as the latest version is so solid from the server end and client end (you have to make sure you admin your servers right and not take shortcuts or cheap out, then it's solid). It's decreased my support time dramatically - the users love it, expecially
    • Re:GroupWise? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by G Money (12364) *
      We've been using Groupwise for a long time now and it's been a solid platform for us. Version 7 also natively supports pretty much all the functionality of the native Windows client with Evolution [novell.com] as well which is a big draw for us since we don't use Windows for our desktops. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet but I've been waiting for native calendar access for some time from Evolution to Groupwise.
  • Tools like eGroupware/phpgroupware deliver the standard suite, and are synchronizable with outlook (never seen it work, I do not have MS windows nor the time to see if it is true), which is actually not needed anymore than either. No distribution of software needed at all, and if wanted globally available.
    • I are looking into running eGroupware where I work, but there is no actual Outlook connector (or connectors for any other desktop clients, like Ximian) built for it. The only mention of such a thing dates back from 2004, saying "The next version will have a connector to integrate with Outlook!" and, almost a year later, such a thing has yet to be delivered.
  • by realmolo (574068) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:10AM (#13330411)
    I do a lot of networking/computer repair for a lot of businesses, and many of them use Exchange. But you know what they use it FOR? E-mail. Nothing else. Yeah, they at one time may have used the calendar/scheduling features, but they eventually realized that secretaries could do a better job doing the "old" way.

    It's not that Exchange is bad (though any program that has an entire cottage industry dedicated to backing it up can't be great), it's that it does TOO MUCH. Very few companies have any chance of getting all their employees to actually use all the features of Exchange. And, really, it might not be worth their time to train them on it in the first place. MOST businesses just need good email. All the *collaborative* features simply require too much of a change in the way people think about their job to really get used.

    For the vast majority of small-to-medium-sized businesses, they'd be better served with a good Postfix/Courier-IMAP/SquirrelMail setup, with greylisting and SpamAssassin and anti-virus scanning. All of which is free. And MUCH more stable than any Exchange setup I've ever seen.

    The only thing that Exchange has over everything else is that it can use domain usernames/passwords. Big fucking deal.
    • They use it for a few reasons:

      * To feel important by using more of those MS Office components (Word - check; Excel - check; Outlook - ah ha! check; Powerpoint - hmmmmm *gets cracking on a hum-dinger of a presentation about NOTHING; Access - What the?) They cost a bundle - need to use them!

      * Integration with the Windows Network

      * Corporate, MS monopolized computing environment dictates its use

      * MCSE originally set up the network and all the functionality, carved operating procedures in stone

      * Too ignorant t
      • Well, I don't mind Windows as a server. Active Directory is pretty alright. Group policies are nice. As a file and print server, Windows is good.

        But as anything else, it kind of sucks. You get tied into the Microsoft file-formats for everything, making it damn hard to switch to anything else in the future. Which is Microsoft's plan, obviously.

        I just find it funny that so many companies jump on the Exchange bandwagon when the FREE alternatives are better in almost every way that counts.
  • Are they really alternatives when it comes to price? From the article:

    With the exception of Scalix Server, all the products have prices lower than those of most enterprise groupware applications, with per-user costs in the range of $20 to $47. Exchange 2003, in contrast, has a per-user license cost of $67, while Scalix Server's price approaches $60 per user.

    Surely if you're a big enough corporation to pony up the money for Outlook and want Exchange then the saving of $20-$47 per head is peanuts and it w

  • The reverse? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:22AM (#13330529)
    I have absolutely no idea why anyone would use Outlook unless their company runs Exchange, it's a completely useless atrocity in my opinion.

    As such, what works for the reverse - people who don't (or can't) run Outlook in a company that runs Exchange?

    Here's my situation: We run Exchange Server 5.5, *without* IMAP support. Believe me, I've begged for it, it's not happening.

    I've tried Ximian/Novell's Exchange Connector, but it only works for Exchange 2000/2003. Our server is too old, and they don't plan to upgrade yet.

    Anyone know of anything else that'll work? Right now I'm going in through the Java-riffic Outlook Web Access. I'd almost rather eat glass.

    • I have absolutely no idea why anyone would use Outlook unless their company runs Exchange, it's a completely useless atrocity in my opinion.

      I absolutely agree with you. What the world needs is an open source solution to talking with Exchange for those of us forced to use it. One possiblity may be brutus [omesc.com] though it does not appear to be usable yet.
      • I absolutely agree with you. What the world needs is an open source solution to talking with Exchange for those of us forced to use it. One possiblity may be brutus though it does not appear to be usable yet.

        I'll give it a try - they specifically claim support for Exchange 5.5. Thanks.

  • by helicologic (845077) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:22AM (#13330533)
    I'd be more interested in a discussion of alternatives to Outlook. At my company I have no control over the use of the Exchange server, but I can use whatever I want on my desktop. I use Evolution, but frankly it's pretty sucky and gets worse with each release. Anybody out there in my boat, stuck trying to talk to the corporate Exchange server from a Linux desktop? What do you use?
    • by HrothgarReborn (740385) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:48AM (#13330764)
      Switch to a Mac and use Microsoft Entourage. Its a great client. Like Evolution it ties through OWA because even Microsoft cannot figure out how to make anything work with that damn MAPI protocol. But unlike Evolution is has great features and is far better than Outlook. Only drawback is a bit of delay in message delivery (just like Evolution) as opposed to the instant alert Outlook gives through MAPI. If you are a laptop user like I was then it does so much better than Outlook which seems to crash everytime it leaves the network, can never pull up messages and never figure out when you are plugged back in. Entourage keeps you mail local and sincs with Exchange like an email client should, so it handles all this gracefully. You can get it as part of Office 2004.

      Funny how the best software MS writes is for Mac :)
  • by strredwolf (532) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:31AM (#13330620) Homepage Journal
    A client of mine had wanted to switch away from Exchange, and try a few of these out. Out of the ones mentioned:

    Bynari Insight: We've tried working with the software, but testing resulted in much frustration in trying to set it up properly. I'll give kudos for the Bynari folk for helping out... but it looks like there's a long way to go. Maybe they need to upgrade their config to reflect Postfix changes...

    CommunigatePro: Everyone favorite, because it's so eaaaaaaazzzzzzzzyyyyy. This one all I needed to do was manual tweak a few things and it's running perfectly. Expensive, but worth it.

    Scalix: We're testing this one out now. It requires ether RedHat, Fedora, SuSE, or an RPM based system that you can fake out to be ether one of the three -- it ships as an RPM-based installer. It also runs on Java, but it comes with Tomcat, configures itself and Apache, and it works! The community edition is out and free, with some limitations, and there's no native mail fetching (but we can use Fetchmail).

    We haven't tried Gordano, but we have tried exchange4linux (e4l) and that was a mess to set up.
  • Communigate Pro (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spazmania (174582)
    I ran an earlier version Communigate Pro at a previous job. Simply put, it is the only closed-source software package I actively recommend. Its just that good.

    The web mail is slick. IMAP works beautifully. The API for customer-added functionality is extensive. The system is rock solid reliable, and FAST FAST FAST.

    If you have too many accounts, they support clustering on multiple servers. Here's a quote from their manual:

    When your site serves more than 150,000-200,000 accounts, or when you expect really heav
    • Yes, a pity about their MAPI connector for Outlook. The words slow and inefficient come to mind. Just follow their mailing list and see what i am talking about. I almost cried after installing it. It is really a pity, since the rest of the product is so perfect. It stands out as a big wine stain in a white cloth.

      /Pedro

    • Re:Communigate Pro (Score:3, Informative)

      by mrroach (164090)
      >So if you have less than 150,000 accounts you can do it with just one server. I'd like to see
      >an open source mail package that can live up to that particular boast.

      Try Hula [hula-project.org].

      -Mark
    • Re:Communigate Pro (Score:3, Informative)

      by bc90021 (43730) *
      CommuniGate is an excellent piece of software. I've used it, and I would recommend it, too, if I could...

      The only problem with Communigate Pro is that it is *****EXPENSIVE*****. For a small hosting company with 1000 email boxes, they wanted *****THIRTY-TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS*****. That's *****THIRTY TWO DOLLARS PER MAILBOX*****. That's insane. Even Microsoft doesn't charge anywhere near that much, and I think MS's products are way overpriced.

      In case I haven't made my point, it's ridiculously expensive.
  • by ataX (625437) <atahualpa.ledesma@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:52AM (#13330801)
    I don't know why always when there is a discussion about "enterprise messaging systems" OCS is never mentioned. OCS is a US$60/usr messaging system that has Email, Calendar, a WebDAV/NFS/SMB/FTP File Server (Oracle Files), Webconference, UltraSearch (Lets you search inside documents in your Oracle Files installation, in your email, in the intranet or internet etc), it also has Wireless access (via Voice/PDA/Phone/etc), and in the new version it will have Instant messaging, all inside an Oracle Database. and you don't have to pay for the database, you just pay per user and all the Oracle stack is included.
  • by defile (1059) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @10:55AM (#13330815) Homepage Journal

    Groupware Bad [jwz.org]
    And I said, "Jesus Mother of Fuck, what are you thinking! Do not strap the 'Groupware' albatross around your neck! That's what killed Netscape, are you insane?" He looked at me like I'd just kicked his puppy.

  • How about Kolab? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sskang (567081) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @11:00AM (#13330852)
    Surprised that nobody has yet mentioned Kolab Server [kolab.org], considering it's now stable and usable software based on well-proven components. The server is free software, and there's the third party Toltec connector [toltec.co.za] for Outlook users. This project really doesn't get enough attention...
  • So why can't people just make a groupware server that does X standard, make thunderbird and firefox support them (natively and web based) and be done with it.

    Write some migration tools. Viola.

    Or?

    To confirm you're not a script,
    please type the word in this image: rested

    random letters - if you are visually impaired, please email us at pater@slashdot.org
  • by tzanger (1575) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @11:09AM (#13330925) Homepage

    Exchange4Linux is an open-protocol, open-source Exchange Server replacement. It's written in Python, and the Outlook connector, while also written in Python, is not for free, but reasonably priced (small quantity price is $50 IIRC). Everything, and I mean everything is stored in a PostgreSQL database. There is something very, very cool about being able to run arbitrary SQL queries on your todos, calendars, contacts and even emails. It brings a level of data integration together that sometimes makes me want to weep. Perfect example: Our customer service department has a rotating "on-call" person. They have a calendar in which they organize who's turn it is. I query the DB once a day to let my Asterisk server know who to redirect the call to. Totally seamless, and that's just a small small example.

    Neuberger-Hughes [n-h.com], the company responsible for Exchange4Linux also does the whole turnkey solution for those who want someone to yell at but still want the peace of mind that having your data in open software can only provide.

    I don't work for them, I am just a happy user of their software.

  • I've been running Communigate on my home system for years for myself and friends and it just works, with a small footprint and lots of features. Granted I have not run it in an enterprise environment, but I am familiar with Outlook and Exchange, and Communigate gives you what you need. Plus it can either integrate with or run its own LDAP directory, providing a lot of the same abilities as Exchange if it is run in a mostly MS or even non-MS shop.

    The interface is entirely web-based, it runs on all the major

  • what about kolab? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RelliK (4466) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @11:29AM (#13331125)
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned it yet. It has outlook integration and it's open source, so there is no vendor lock-in. http://kolab.org/ [kolab.org]
  • by slim (1652)
    Way back in 1998, work began on an open source Lotus Notes replacement. The design looked pretty cool, and they got replication between Berkley DBs doing I think, before the whole thing stagnated -- probably because very few people are really interested in groupware, and those who are probably don't want to model it on Notes...

    Anyway, it was called Yoga, and its homepage [anu.edu.au] is still available.

    And the reason I mention this? Well, it started off called Gnuotes, which didn't exactly trip off the tongue, and so th
  • Open-xchange [openexchange.com] is a great product. Reliable, fast and intuitive interface. It was easy to roll out, easy to maintain. Comes with Spam filters and all kinds of goodies. Best of all, it looks like an MS Exchange server to an Outlook client with shared public folders, calendars, contacts, notes, etc...
  • Open-Xchange? (Score:3, Informative)

    by forevermore (582201) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @11:57AM (#13331396) Homepage
    Pity they completely overlooked Open-Xchange [openexchange.com] and its free open source cousin [open-xchange.org].
  • by Jim Conley (908077) on Tuesday August 16, 2005 @12:58PM (#13331890)
    I just finished an article for Redmond magazine on this subject that was published in July - considering it came out very pro OSS groupware, I was fairly surprised it made print. Admitted, it did get listed as 'opinion'... I'm also a longtime MAPI programmer and have a pretty solid understanding of how Outlook and Exchange work and don't work. Being polite, ever since MS added 'security features' in Outlook that gorked thousands of custom groupware solutions (some with very large corporations)I've been looking for anything OSS that can replicate the functionality of Outlook and Exchange. Guess what - it still doesn't exist and probably never will. The problem isn't finding an Exchange replacement - it's finding a client that can speak to your Exchange replacement. A client, not a web interface, but a full-featured PIM client. I know, web interfaces are a lot more robust than they used to be but it's still not the same as a native app. 95% of the work in an Outlook/Exchange environment is being done client side. Google MAPI and TNEF and you should get a sense of situation. You'll find many OSS groupware vendors give the server away for next to nothing but charge for the Outlook connector because a) it takes a hell of a lot of work to spoof Exchange to a level that Outlook will believe and b) it's a great revenue source. One of the biggest problems is there are now at least a dozen OSS Exchange replacements of widely varying quality. IMHO, there is still not a single product that will adequately replace a power-user combo of Outlook and Exchange, yet. Unfortunately, by the time OSS groupware gets it together, Exchange as we know it probably won't really exist anymore. The next version is sounding very modular and will be moving away from the traditional monolithic structure. OSS Exchange replacements are, in general, slavish half-ass replicas of Exchange rather than innovative products because that's what the market wants. The problem with hanging off the tiger's tail is that when the bastard changes direction you really get sent flying. As some other posters have mentioned, Hula is very exciting and not just because of jwz's essay 'Groupware Bad' (which really belongs next to esr's 'the cathedral and the bazaar' in some future anthology). Nat Friedman (of evolution fame and now working for Novell) is one of the people behind Hula and I suspect Evolution may be back burner while effort goes into improving the Hula web interface. Final speculation - Novell has an OSS client and an OSS groupware server. They also have Groupwise, perennial #3 in the groupware wars which runs quite comfy on Linux and Windows and has the same mail server under the hood as Hula. Wouldn't it be interesting if Groupwise made the transition to open source as well?

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