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Open Source Zarafa Goes After Microsoft Exchange

Zarafa 6.2 will support RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server, Windows Mobile, Symbian smartphones, and Apple's iPhone.

This time it's Zarafa, developer of collaboration software, that has announced it's adding native support for the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) to its Linux-based e-mail and calendaring server.

Zarafa's server already contains support for several other Microsoft and open source products, including Outlook, SugarCRM, OpenERP, and Alfresco.

Company officials think an important advantage that should appeal to prospective IT buyers is the product's no-muss, no-fuss installation and configuration process.

"It connects to BES just as Exchange does, with no need to install anything on the phone itself," Zarafa CEO Brian Joseph said.

Collaboration features already include Outlook interoperability, and integration with open source tools such as SugarCRM, OpenERP, and Alfresco.

Besides RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server, Zarafa's product also works with Microsoft's Windows Mobile (now called Windows Phone), Symbian's smartphones, and Apple's iPhone. It also features an Ajax-based Web client sculpted to offer the look and feel of Microsoft's Outlook Web Access.

Joseph said development efforts involving Zarafa lately have focused on tighter integration with other open source applications and tools using its Z-Merge technology. This technology employs plug-ins and server-based Web services to tie open source products to a number of Microsoft server-based offers, including SharePoint, Office, and Dynamics.

With its newly added BES support, Joseph said his company will position Zarafa 6.2 for both corporate enterprises and small and medium-sized IT shops. The product is sold under the GNU Public License.

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