Story 2014-03-04 3F3 Munich standardizes on Kolab for its groupware

Munich standardizes on Kolab for its groupware

in linux on (#3F3)
If you've been following the trials and tribulations of German city Munich's transition from Windows to Linux, you know they've moved 15,500 desktops onto Linux. They've now taken the next step and selected a standardized groupware solution for communication: Kolab. What, you were expecting Exchange Server?
Reply 12 comments

What came before (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2014-03-04 14:20 (#9A)

Assuming they had the typical corporate setup, I'd assume before they had something like Outlook/Exchange before they migrated last year. So what are they using now?

Re: What came before (Score: 5, Funny)

by on 2014-03-04 19:02 (#9E)


Re: What came before (Score: 3, Interesting)

by on 2014-03-04 19:07 (#9F)

Well if they switched to Linux last year and they're only now going to Kolab, they must be using something in that gap. Although now that I think on it, maybe they're just toughing out the loss in functionality temporarily. Or they stuck with Exchange (assuming that's what they used) and are interfacing with that, which I'd be interested to know how that went.

Re: What came before (Score: 4, Funny)

by on 2014-03-05 00:14 (#9G)

Who knows, maybe Exchange runs on Wine? :D

More realistically, they might've stuck with a Windows Echange server, but used a compatible Linux client on the desktop(s). Assuming they didn't just make do with sendmail and Thunderbird, and some Unixy calender application (cron?).

Re: What came before (Score: 2)

by on 2014-03-05 03:44 (#9J)

Outlook Web Access :) completely compatible with linux, except I cant send email while using chrome.

Re: What came before (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-03-07 10:41 (#AM)

Inflicting OWA on your staff will certainly prepare them for the loss of Windows.
After OWA anything is good..

Re: What came before (Score: 5, Interesting)

by on 2014-03-05 11:49 (#9M)

It's not impossible, though it's not ideal: even Exchange allows IMAP functionality, I'm told, though you have to manually make it available. Let's say you have existing Microsoft software ecosystem and want to make a switch. Me, I'd start by changing out Exchange first and let everyone continue to use Outlook as an IMAP client to whatever Linux solution I had on the back end.

But if for some reason they started with the desktops, then they could have conceivably just let Exchange continue as an IMAP server in the gap. Obviously, we could probably learn something by reading the article before speculating, but what fun is that?

I've followed Kolab on and off since at least 2001, when the Kompany was still around (rememeber them? Produced Rekall, the first good GUI MySQL database software for Linux?). Kolab was just getting started and everyone was hot to produce a decent Exchange replacement. Looks like they made huge strides since then - congrats to them.

Re: What came before (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2014-03-05 13:54 (#9N)

Their French brethren have come up with a proxying client that translates all the proprietary MAPI stuff into open standards (IMAP, SMTP, CARDDAV, Caldav). It's here: I've used it at corporate clients any number of times without a hitch.

Nice (Score: 4, Interesting)

by on 2014-03-04 15:53 (#9C)

I've looked at Kolab off and on a few times over the last several years. It really seems to have grown up, and is offering very nice enterprise level functionality. I'm impressed.

Re: Nice (Score: 3, Interesting)

by on 2014-03-05 01:13 (#9H)

I wonder what the base software requirements would be for "Joe Average Company" to consider using a Linux distribution in preference to Windows? Windows probably has a huge advantage due to inertia, and we've been promised the "year of Linux on the desktop" probably for the last 15 years now, but I'm finding that LibreOffice can do everything I'd want to do in Word or Excel (and probably PowerPoint as well) and if Kolab has mail/calendar functionality equivalent to Exchange, then I'm wondering if there's anything essential for general office use that's missing now? And Linux is cheaper than Windows too... :D

Re: Nice (Score: 4, Insightful)

by on 2014-03-05 16:01 (#9P)

The problem is "average" companies tend to be very different. I think non windows setups work best in medium sized companies with one to three tech staff. If they're too small they don't have the resources to get Linux in place. Too big and existing infrastructure (inevitably Microsft) is too far entrenched. The key to the process becomes getting the top decision maker on board with moving to that system. Most managers are too apathetic to care about things that are already "working fine", and don't want to move into unfamiliar territory.

The biggest block I've typically experienced are people demanding Windows/Office. Calc is no Excel, and I'll concede that, but many people insist on using MS Word but could just as well be using freaking Wordpad for all the functionality they used. That kind of thing. Where I work I've given up trying to migrate off of Windows due to various special purpose programs, but I've been doing well on the server side. I don't like the over complexity of Exchange, but have to admit it's been pretty good to me. Still, I'd really like to get us off of it, although our love affair with "Public Folders" will probably never allow that.

I think the answer is more inertia (Score: 1)

by on 2014-03-07 09:44 (#AJ)

Inertia cuts both ways. When android eventually offers a "windowed apps" mode (perhaps inspired by samsung's tizen os which has a similar feature), then people will suddenly realise they have a (linux) system they're familiar with, in their pocket, which they can plug into a screen/keyboard/mouse dock when necessary.

Then maybe they'll think twice before switching to a different computer when they get to work, especially if all they're doing is web pages, documents, spreadsheets, and emails.