As the rise and dominance of Linux continues, many of those companies that rely heavily on collaboration are finding it difficult to switch to the free world. For them over-reliance on either Windows-based or web-based tools is often a big bottleneck when it comes to making the switch. This situation, however, can easily be dealt with by simply promoting the amazing repertoire of collaboration tools Linux world has to offer.
So, if you're lamenting about the lack of groupware tools in the penguin land, here are some of the best collaboration software for Linux:
Designed for enterprise customers, eGroupWare is a web-based suite of groupware tools. Once deployed, it allows hosting of collaborative applications like group calendar, address book, project management, e-mail, accounting, and inventory. Licensed under GNU GPL, eGroupWare will let you create, manage, and visualize projects and sub-projects. Moreover, it will also let you actively set budgets for staff members. With the modern versions of this tool, you'll be able to sync calendars with multiple devices including your iPhone.
Designed to be a worthy replacement to MS Exchange, Citadel is an open-source groupware system. Equipped with plenty of powerful features, this tool is known for its ease of use, high performance, and excellent documentation. One of the most important offerings of this neatly designed groupware service is calendar and instant messaging both of which are designed in a neat, modern UI. Moreover, Citadel also supports push notifications, a feature which few applications in its genre offer.
Horde is an open-source, enterprise-ready collaboration suite. Once deployed, you'll be able to manage and share calendars, tasks, and notes with your co-workers. The Horde suite of applications includes calendar application (called Kronolith), contact manager (Turba), and a task manager (Mnemo). One of the best features about Horde is that it has a very easy-to-use customizable interface. Users can select from up to 25 different themes to spice up their user experience. Also, Horde supports a variety of databases including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle.
Zimbra, once acquired by Yahoo!, is still one of the most popular groupware tools for Linux. With fully featured support for group messaging and email, Zimbra is known for its ease of use and high compatibility. The groupware is compatible not only with Microsoft Outlook but also with Apple Mail and Novell Server Edition. Once deployed, you'll be able to synchronize your mail, contacts, and calendar items with the ZCS server.
Part of the KDE suite of applications Kolab is a fully featured suite of applications that are designed for collaboration. Completely open-source, Kolab provides full integration with the KDE desktop environment. It also supports Microsoft Outlook and its proprietary plugins. Once installed, you'll be able to access a global LDAP address book that houses all your contacts.
Open-Xchange Server is a software stack that allows seamless collaboration between employees using calendar, contacts, and task management functions. One of the best features about Open-Xchange server is that it supports proprietary environments like Apple iSync and Microsoft Outlook. However, to gain full support, you'll need to install commercial extensions.
Whenever it comes to deploying any new technology, especially if it lacks proper professional support, there are bound to be some risks. It is always a good idea to stick to software and tools that have reputed professional support. In the aforementioned list, there are tools that have either good support or nicely written documentation. If you find it too risky to switch to a Linux-based software right away, you'll need to stick to web-based tools for a while.