[svlug] Exchange server for Linux?

Walt Reed svlug at linuxguy.com
Thu Dec 23 07:32:06 PST 2004

On Wed, Dec 22, 2004 at 06:02:08PM -0800, Craig Oda said:
> I've been trying to set up shared calendaring for clients of Microsoft
> Outlook calendaring program.  I want to avoid putting a Windows server
> in the office with Exchange.  Cost is not a problem.  The problem is
> my lack of knowledge around Windows.
> I've seen products like kolab2 (http://kolab.org/), Bynari, and
> openexchange.  But I don't know how good they are as a shared calendar
> server.  I also don't quite understand how shared calendaring works.
> Does anyone have any actual experience running a small office shared
> calendaring system where the clients are on Windows and the server is
> Linux?  Since we are a small office, we don't have technical staff on
> hand.  We have to do the best we can with our limited knowledge.

I think the big problem you are running into is the fact that the whole
outlook / exchange integration is proprietary and has no publicly
available documentation. This makes it very difficult to clone.

If you are willing to look into more open solutions than Outlook, iCal
compatible clients are really starting to proliferate - some are quite
good.  There is a nice (beta but seems to be fully working) Mozilla
Calendar plugin that works with firefox and mozilla. iCal systems
generally use WebDAV (via apache) to update a shared copy of a calender
on a web server. There are a few PHP iCal calendars out there and the
mac calendar supports iCal too.

Sharing events with outlook (meeting requests) is usually done via
carefully crafted emails. I don't know if anyone has integrated these
messages with any of the ical clients as it generally requires some kind
of integration / plugin in the email client - you want some way to
accept / reject with notification back to the initiator. It would be
trivial to write a server-side email filter to automatically add events
to a shared calendar. It's *possible* to do this integration
with the full Mozilla client, but I don't think the code is there yet. 

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