Linux Means Business – Groupware – Best Free Software

Best Open Source Groupware Software

This section covers groupware software, also known as collaborative software. They are specialized software applications that let individuals share and sync information, and also improve communication.

Good groupware software should be scalable, and employ open standards. And it should offer a uniform and comprehensive interface to access information. Businesses should benefit from employees working smarter with individuals both within and outside the organization.

There’s a good range of open source groupware software which made the selection problematic. And it was extremely difficult to rank the three recommendations – they are all open source software at its finest. But the edge just goes to Kopano.

Groupware - Best Open Source Software

Gold medal awardKopano is a powerful groupware application suite available for Linux, Windows, and MacOS. It provides a complete MAPI-based groupware stack with strong interfacing capabilities, together with a diverse range of features including messaging, video meetings, file sharing, email, and calendaring. It's a worthy winner of this section. Additional functionality is provided by DeskApp, a bridge between WebApp and the desktop.
License: GNU Affero General Public License v3 (server-side components, DeskApp, and WebApp)
Silver medal awardZimbra Collaboration offers a comprehensive email and collaboration solution. It's an enterprise-class email, calendar and collaboration solution built for the cloud, both public and private. Zimbra Collaboration is available in two product Editions: Zimbra Open Source Edition and Zimbra Network Edition.
License: Various Open Source initiative-approved licenses
Bronze medal awardKolab is a solid groupware suite. It consists of the Kolab server and a good selection of Kolab clients, including KDE PIM-Suite Kontact, Roundcube web frontend, Mozilla Thunderbird and Mozilla Lightning with SyncKolab extension and Microsoft Outlook with proprietary Kolab-Connector PlugIns.
License: Various open source software licenses

About Groupware Software

Groupware software is designed to enable users to collaborate, regardless of location, via the internet or a corporate intranet and to work together in a virtual atmosphere.

The business efficiency of an organisation can be greatly enhanced by the effective deployment of groupware software. Collaborative applications help to integrate project work so that a group can achieve their tasks and objectives. The term groupware is wide-ranging spanning communications tools (such as email), conferencing tools, and management tools. Collaboration software can also enable teams to interactively share information, for example, via forums.

Besides offering a centralized place for saving and accessing documents or files (along with document version and change management), this type of software offers shared calendars and task management, and communication tools.

This type of software solution can often be heavy on the feature-set, and are sometimes not suitable for more than a few hundred users. However, software which offers only basic groupware functionalities, such as e-mail, contact and calendaring, are likely to meet the requirements of large deployments.

This type of software is particularly important to businesses, service providers and email hosters.

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