[olug] Groupware suggestions - Long

Eric Penne epenne at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 11 22:44:51 UTC 2002

I'm completely fed up with my companies setup of the computers and
their functionality.  My boss wants a sharable address book by
everybody in the company (currently 4 people).  In this address book he
wants to be able to add notes to the contacts and have it instantly (or
relatively quickly) seen be everybody after he saves the note.  He also
wants it to interact nicely with his email client (MS Outlook 2000).  
He would like to be able to share calendars and see what is on
everybodies calendar and vice versa. 

I've looked into LDAP and using rolodap but he wasn't very keen on the
idea of having to go to the web interface to add a user instead of just
adding the person from Outlook.

So far I've found the options of using MS Exchange Server (~1300 bucks)
or going with something like Bynari's Insight server and the Outlook
plugin that they sell to get a hacked together groupware function.
Either way it is going to cost a lot of money.  I'm afraid of the setup
and maintenance of Exchange and I don't have any idea about Bynari.  I
don't have a lot of time/knowledge/balls to devote to these projects. 
My boss would love to have somebody affordable come out and do
everything and then when it breaks down or anything be able to call
this affordable person up and have them come fix it.  

Our server currently is running Win2k Server with Active Directory.  It
is misconfigured and login takes forever and none of the permissions
stuff works correctly.  It only is used for file sharing, dhcp server,
and logining in the win2k machines on the network.  It really needs to
be taken down and redone from the ground up.

The specs are:
IBM Netfinity 5100
Dual P3 733?
256MB Ram
4 hard drives in some sort of raid array?
TApe backup

Then I got to thinking about groupware and running all email, contact,
and calendaring and everything all the throught the web browser and
haveing everything stored on the server.  That would get rid of part of
our MS outlook problem.  I'm willing to look at running a groupware
package from win2k server or putting linux on the server and running it
from that.  I'm also looking for simple configuration so that my boss
could hire a local student from the college that wants to earn some
extra money to install and maintain the system.  I'm willing to look at
commercial software and/or free software with paid tech support.  

Right now I just don't know where to begin.  It seems like a project
that I could take on then get busy doing other things and never finish,
except in this case I don't have the option not to finish.  I'm really
sheepish about taking on a project this large without some kind of
support.  I would like to present all the options to my boss but that
would be a waste of time because he would rather see an all in one
solution with a plan of attack on how to do it and how much it costs. 
Getting him involved with choosing the system turns into a giant circle
jerk.  Right now he just doesn't understand why we can't do all this
stuff with outlook.  I try explaining that outlook has limited
functionality unless you purchase exchange but he just doens't
understnad.  We spent about an hour today having the same discussion we
had 2 months ago and about 3 months before that about why we can't do
this with outlook.

So my final question is (drum roll please):

What have members of OLUG used for groupware suites, how easy were they
to setup and maintain, and how functional were they (ie user interface
and suitable features)?

Eric Penne

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