Free collaboration tools

Answered Question
Mar 19th, 2008
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Hello,


I would like some URLs to free collaboration suites. It is important for them to be as free as possible, because they will be used for a non-profit purpose. I am afraid I am a newbie in this area, so my search in the Internet is a bit painful. If somebody knows of any suite with what is considered "most expected features", I would greatly appreciate it. Right now I do not even know what those features are supposed to be, so I will also appreciate short descriptions of those if anybody has the time to list some that they consider most important.


Kind Regards,

Maria

Correct Answer by jarmitage about 9 years 3 months ago

Hi Maria,


Thanks for the clarification! I'm sorry my first post wasn't right on target for you. :(


Zimbra certainly is the heavyweight in this area. Possible limitations on the free version for you might be:


-Online backups/restore (solve using rsync or similar)

-Clustering (you can use Heartbeat on linux servers though)

-Rebranding (might not be an issue for you, or you can use an in-house proxy service to swap image files on the fly)


I don't know if any of the above items are deal-breakers for you, though. Overall Zimbra is probably poised to be the most actively-developed suite in the field, as Yahoo! is behind them. If a large user-base and active development are key features, Zimbra is probably your best choice.


Since you're looking for lowest possible cost solutions, there are a few other suites out there you might want to consider (if only to get a few more ideas):


OpenGroupware

http://www.opengroupware.org/en/index.html


If you want ideas about features and other uses for this type of software, read the individual items under the "Applications" section. Each area is thoroughly detailed and might inspire you.


Also, this package is available in a Greek language localization (it appears there's also a consultant linked through their website as well).


PHPGroupware

http://phpgroupware.org/


Very flexible, but will require more advanced administration skills to set up and maintain.


Open-Xchange

http://www.open-xchange.com/header/community_area.html


This suite, like Zimbra, has paid and free versions available. I'm assuming you want the free version, so be sure to focus on the "Community Edition" (the site can be a little confusing). You can also download the community version through sourceforge.


Egroupware

http://www.egroupware.org/


Last but not least! Another good candidate for you. Robust feature set, although a The Greek language localization isn't complete, however the major administration functions have already been translated. This is probably the second-most popular package in use (after Zimbra).


Although this isn't collaboration-related it might be interest to you:


There's a great set of tools for education available in a package called Moodle. (http://moodle.org/) I highly recommend anyone who is looking to make every dollar of their education (or training!) budgets check it out, it compares really nicely against commercial offerings like BlackBoard, etc.


I hope that helps a little, just let me know if you're looking for more information on any of the above!


Cheers,


-James.

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jarmitage Thu, 03/20/2008 - 09:41
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Hi Maria,


There are a number of open-source (e.g.: free to use) software packages out there, depending on your requirements.


One of the first things that comes to mind with respect to online collaboration is a "wiki". One of the best examples I can think of is Wikipedia, where anybody can add information and comment on others' contributions.


(See the entry on what a wiki is for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki)


If a wiki is right for you, and you're not sure which version is right for you, try reading this article, it's a pretty good run-down on the most popular packages out there.: http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/2004/11/04/which_wiki.html


For code and document management you could consider subversion. (http://subversion.tigris.org/) It allows you to keep a common directory of files that multiple users can access and make changes to. All changes are recorded, so that it's easy to go back a version, or incorporate different versions together.


If none of this meets your needs, just elaborate on what you're trying to do and I'd be happy to help you out.


Regards,


-James.


Hope this helps! Please rate useful posts...

marikakis Fri, 03/21/2008 - 03:22
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Hello,


Thanks for your reply James. I will be rating the posts. I have been around in this forum for some years now :-) I do appreciate your answer, but due to lack of clarifications from my side, I am afraid it is not quite what I hoped for. Sorry about that. I will try to be more accurate now. It seems that the word "collaboration" means quite a lot.


This is more about helping desktop users to place telephone calls, update calendars, share documents and I do not really know what else those tools are really capable of doing. This is to be used in a public school environment. I have been told to explore the Zimbra Collaboration Suite but would like to check others too.


Please tell me if you need any other information.


Kind Regards,

Maria

Correct Answer
jarmitage Tue, 03/25/2008 - 10:35
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Hi Maria,


Thanks for the clarification! I'm sorry my first post wasn't right on target for you. :(


Zimbra certainly is the heavyweight in this area. Possible limitations on the free version for you might be:


-Online backups/restore (solve using rsync or similar)

-Clustering (you can use Heartbeat on linux servers though)

-Rebranding (might not be an issue for you, or you can use an in-house proxy service to swap image files on the fly)


I don't know if any of the above items are deal-breakers for you, though. Overall Zimbra is probably poised to be the most actively-developed suite in the field, as Yahoo! is behind them. If a large user-base and active development are key features, Zimbra is probably your best choice.


Since you're looking for lowest possible cost solutions, there are a few other suites out there you might want to consider (if only to get a few more ideas):


OpenGroupware

http://www.opengroupware.org/en/index.html


If you want ideas about features and other uses for this type of software, read the individual items under the "Applications" section. Each area is thoroughly detailed and might inspire you.


Also, this package is available in a Greek language localization (it appears there's also a consultant linked through their website as well).


PHPGroupware

http://phpgroupware.org/


Very flexible, but will require more advanced administration skills to set up and maintain.


Open-Xchange

http://www.open-xchange.com/header/community_area.html


This suite, like Zimbra, has paid and free versions available. I'm assuming you want the free version, so be sure to focus on the "Community Edition" (the site can be a little confusing). You can also download the community version through sourceforge.


Egroupware

http://www.egroupware.org/


Last but not least! Another good candidate for you. Robust feature set, although a The Greek language localization isn't complete, however the major administration functions have already been translated. This is probably the second-most popular package in use (after Zimbra).


Although this isn't collaboration-related it might be interest to you:


There's a great set of tools for education available in a package called Moodle. (http://moodle.org/) I highly recommend anyone who is looking to make every dollar of their education (or training!) budgets check it out, it compares really nicely against commercial offerings like BlackBoard, etc.


I hope that helps a little, just let me know if you're looking for more information on any of the above!


Cheers,


-James.

Rob Huffman Tue, 03/25/2008 - 13:39
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Hi James,


Really an excellent thoughtful answer here :) My 5 point vote for this great work!


Thanks so much,

Rob


PS: Maria, have loved reading your recent posts on the NetPro Ideas Forum, most excellent!

jarmitage Tue, 03/25/2008 - 14:02
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Hi Rob,


Thank you for the kind words! Hopefully Maria gets some mileage out of it... It's a little intimidating if you have to set up those types of services for the first time.


I'm just happy I can pitch in a little -- 99% of the time I'm the one learning new things on NetPro!


Regards,


-James.

marikakis Wed, 03/26/2008 - 05:51
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Hello,


Sorry about the late response. I have been all around and only just a few minutes ago did I see your posts guys. I had begun to lose hope in this case.


James, I will take a thorough look through the pointers you provided. It was very thoughtful of you to look into Greek localization issues. Thanks! :-) Sorry I could rate your post only once (xmm, but I can rate another :-))).


Rob, nice seeing you around (As I said in NetPro ideas, Rob has a rather unusually high point average if all posts instead of all rated posts are considered. Well done Rob :-)


If anyone has additional information, please post it here. I will check this conversation regularly.


Kind Regards,

Maria

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