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6 Linux Groupware Servers

SoGo, Citadel, Open-Xchange

February 7, 2011

The Linux/FOSS world offers a wealth of excellent Linux-based groupware server choices, suitable for small shops to giant enterprises. Eric Geier rounds up six to get you started.

Groupware solutions can help your organization better collaborate and manage work life. They can give users email access and help them better manage and share their contacts, calendars, to-do lists, appointments, and other information. Access is typically provided via a web interface and clients on computers and mobile devices. In this roundup, we'll� discover Linux-based servers that can be an open source and economic alternative to big-name servers like Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Notes.


SOGo supports the basic groupware functions: task management, calendars, address books and emails. The server and all related components are released under the GNU GPL/LGPL v2 license. That means even the connectors for Outlook and Thunderbird are available for free, unlike most other groupware solutions. Mobile phones and devices are also well supported, either natively or via a free SOGo connector.

You can quickly setup a test server with their downloadable virtual appliances. Binary packages are available for several Linux distributions. You'll also find SOGo is well supported. They offer installation and configuration guides for the server and clients, a FAQ, and active mailing list.


Citadel provides users with the usual groupware features. Additionally, it gives you bulletin boards, mailing lists, instant messaging, and a wiki. The project is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL3) and seems to be well maintained and updated regularly. Users can access the services with the web-based interface (named WebCit) or via supported clients, such as KOrganizer, Evolution, Outlook, and Mozilla Thunderbird and Sunbird.

Citadel boasts that they offer a turnkey solution that installs quickly and easily. It can be installed with their Easy Install solution, available as a Debian or Ubuntu package, or downloaded as a VMware appliance. They also offer great support via a forum, FAQ, administrator manual, and other documentation.


Open-Xchange, started back in 2000, offers a Community Edition, which is the same as the premium editions but doesn't come with official support. Plus the OXtender for Outlook and Mac OS X can only be purchased in combination with a maintenance contract. However, users can still receive access via the web or on mobile phones with encrypted push and sync support. Along with the basic groupware features, Open-Xchange offers document management and sharing, and social networking functionality.

The Open-Xchange backend is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL2), while the frontend is released under the Creative Commons Share Alike, Non Commercial, Attribution license.

Open-Xchange provides installation instructions for several Linux distributions, an administration manual, and user manual. Even more documentation is available for customization, programming, and other advanced tasks. For troubleshooting, they also have a forum, knowledge-base, and FAQ.