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2 years, 5 months ago
Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

Hi, Habr! I want to tell you about quite interesting and functional replacement of MS Exchange, completely free and besides with beautiful web muzzle. Conversation will go about Kolab — the free e-mail server with support of collaboration, calendars, lists of affairs, WebDAV, ActiveSync synchronization and other buns which can be used both for work, and for the house.

Carefully, in post there are a lot of pictures...

Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)
Kolab Groupware (Part 2 — Installation)

What is it?


Kolab — is the free e-mail server with the beautiful web client in whom there is all necessary for the user: mail with support of tags, has put address directories, notes, calendars, lists, file garbage can and many other things …
Users can synchronize the mail, calendar and contacts on the mobile device on ActiveSync to the protocol.
Also there is opportunity to rummage separate folders of the mail, calendars and contacts to other users, and completely to delegate access to the mailbox.

For administration of it of everything there is interface in which it is possible: to manage users, groups of mailing and shared folders. It is possible to create so-called resources, it is such special calendar for repatter or couriers at which it is possible to look at availability, and to reserve on free time.
There is also built-in LDAP editor by means of whom it is possible to resolve or forbid to edit any fields, for example the primary email field — has to be generated itself, or it can be specified manually

What inside?


Kolab is the combine from such well-known services as:

  • 389 Directory Server — information storage about domains, users and groups, also here are stored acl and some settings (at desire it is possible to use the Active Directory or OpenLDAP)
  • Cyrus-imap — the IMAP server, are stored in its base letters, and also this calendars, notes and other user data
  • MySQL — stores data necessary for work of the main services Kolab and Roundcube
  • Postfix — MTA it is the SMTP server
  • Roundcube — perspective and very popular web client of e-mail
  • Apache — the HTTP server by default (at desire it is possible to replace with nginx)
  • Amavis with Spamassassin and ClamAV — antispam and virus protection

Also several own services:

  • kolab-saslauthd — provides authorization for postfix
  • kolab-freebusy — the demon of employment
  • kolab-syncroton — implements ActiveSync the protocol for synchronization with devices
  • iRony — implements WebDAV, CalDAV and CardDAV protocols
  • wallace — scans mail on availability of groupware of content
  • Chwala — the file client
  • + pile of plug-ins to roundcube


How looks?


Well, we will pass to the overview now. Kolab by default has 2 subjects of design, the first — Larry, is classical subject for Roundcube, the second, has appeared recently — Chamelion. There was it literally in the latest version of Kolab 3.4 and it was at once made subject by default.
It is in my opinion a little overloaded, and by normal users is perceived heavier, where as Larry.
Larry looks more stylish and beautiful
No, Chameleon of course is too not bad, but Larry, in my opinion, is meanwhile better so I will spread screenshots of this subject under spoilers.

Mail


Main screen of mail:

Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)
Chameleon
Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

So procedure of writing of the letter looks:

Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)
Chameleon
Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)


Contact us


Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)
Chameleon
Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)


Calendar


And here the calendar so looks:

Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)
Chameleon
Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)


Here it is possible to see employment of other people if they have allowed you it to do.
To the created events it is possible to invite other people, and they will receive from you notifications on mail

Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

Notes


Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)
Chameleon
Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)


Has put lists


Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)
Chameleon
Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

Affairs can also be assigned also to other users, in that case they will receive the notification in which will have to confirm the participation.

File cloud


At the moment it very space, i.e. you will not be able to give out on folders and files external references to downloading, it is also not recommended to load big files here, however you will always be able to save files from mail "in cloud", as well as to get access to them on WebDAV.

If you need something bigger, you probably should look towards ownCloud especially as with LDAP and Roundcube you cannot integrate it into the main Kolab interface in the latest version of Kolab have added opportunity to integrate cloud into Seafile

Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)
Chameleon
Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)


Screen of settings


Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

Chameleon
Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

Settings quite standard for Roundcube, everyone can select to himself design subject which is pleasant to it more. To configure sieve-rules for incoming letters. To delegate management of the box to any of employees, without participation in this process of the system administrator. For each box on behalf of which the user can write letters, the separate profile which can be configured on the, for example is created: to assign name of the sender or to change the signature.

Folders


Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

Chameleon
Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

As I already spoke, all user data, including and lists have put also notes and events of calendar are stored in IMAP. At first sight this quite strange solution, but we have the flexible controling mechanism permissions to imap-folders. It is possible to give out permissions to reading, record, change of the separate folder of your mail, so for example and separate calendar to certain people, for example colleagues from your department. It is possible, for example if you go on leave, completely to delegate access to your account.

As soon as the user acquires the rights from you, he too will need to come into this interface and to subscribe for the imap-folders shared by you.

Alternative clients and synchronization


All this of course is very pleasant, but is also and tar spoon:
If you connect the mailbox third-party e-mail client, for example Thunderbird, you will see all these folders of calendars, among your normal mail folders, but you will not be able to read them since in nutria of these folders there will be only office files of the same calendars. That as if hints, to use Roundcube as the primary e-mail client, well he and so not bad copes with this task. Besides, there is support of the ActiveSync protocol for synchronization of it of everything on the mobile device, the ActiveSync settings are taken conveniently out in Roundcube:

Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

Chameleon
Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

Also, to each calendar or the contact list, or file garbage can it is possible to receive the DAV link and to use it already on the discretion in compatible clients.

Is by the way and officially supported the desktop client on qt — Kontact, it not so beautiful as Roundcube but too the quite functional:

Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

Also there is addition for Thunderbird, it on by mails, adds opportunity to sinkat separate calendars and contact lists.

It is more than different clients and additions to them you will be able to find here.

Adminka


Nearly has forgotten to mention adminka. Adminka has a bit different design, but it does not do it to less functional.
In adminka it is possible to manage users, groups, shared folders. It is possible to create for example group which will be autocompleted on the basis of information of AD received from other LDAP server, for example.

Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

Here so procedure of adding of the user looks:

Kolab Groupware (Part 1 — the Overview)

Conclusion


On it welcome everything.
In the second article read about installation of this miracle, initial configuration and some aspects with which I have faced during the work it

Official site of the project: kolab.org

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