I wanted to try out some groupware servers recently. Although these systems are designed for use in an organisational environment, there are advantages in using a groupware system at home. In my particular case, it saves me the trouble of backing up important personal data such as calendar, tasks, notes, contacts etc. I would be able to store and access it in a single convenient and central location. Thanks to the powers of virtualisation, I was able to easily play with a number of popular open source solutions to see which one was easiest to use.
I created a number of new virtual servers and installed three popular open source groupware solutions – citadel, egroupware and kolab – one in each. They are all easy enough to integrate with Kontact, my personal information management software of choice. Of the three, the easiest to install, setup and use was Citadel. Citadel is an all-in-one groupware and email solution. It is entirely integrated. Therefore, I did not have to set up a database, imap, pop3, smtp and web servers separately. Another advantage of using Citadel is that it can be accessed in a number of different ways – through a web browser, a telnet terminal and also through email (imap).
With a groupware server, my email, calendar, tasks and contacts are now all stored on the server. This can now be accessed anywhere in the world. I can access them at home on my laptop computer and also access it through a text/web interface through the Internet. In fact, Citadel can be used to retrieve RSS feeds and also email from other servers. I am sure that there are other features that I have yet to discover about it.