Commentary
1/29/2009
09:05 PM

The Truth About Open-Source Groupware

The conventional wisdom holds that Microsoft Exchange towers above its open-source competitors. Maybe it's time to challenge the conventional wisdom.



The conventional wisdom holds that Microsoft Exchange towers above its open-source competitors. Maybe it's time to challenge the conventional wisdom.Intranet Journal contributor Matt Hartley recently went looking for open-source groupware that can hold its own against Exchange. None of the products he found are hands-down winners in a head-to-head competition against Microsoft.

For many smaller companies, however, and especially for startups, an open-source groupware package can meet all of their business needs at a fraction of the price.

Each of these three open-source groupware products -- OpenGroupware, Scalix, and Zimbra -- deliver unique benefits, along with some inevitable drawbacks. Companies that need mobile-synchronization support, for example, are unlikely to find OpenGroupware acceptable. And those looking for a hosted groupware solution will find, at least for the time being, that Zimbra is the most attractive option.

Win or lose, however, all of these products once again prove an important point: Companies that assume the open-source software ecosystem has nothing to offer them are relying on outdated, often terribly misguided information. And in many cases, the IT decisions they make as a result are wasting increasingly precious resources.

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