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Open-Xchange releases Ubuntu-based SMB Groupware


On July 16, Open-Xchange announced the immediate availability of Open-Xchange Express Edition. This is a full-featured collaboration designed to make it easy for small and midsize businesses to take advantage of the cost benefits of open source without requiring prior Linux know-how.

OXEE (Open-Xchange Express Edition) transforms a bare metal computer into a fully-functional collaboration server running on Ubuntu Linux. The package includes all the tools required by companies to facilitate communication and efficient teamwork. It doesn’t require any additional operating system or any other prior software to work.

In a statement, Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical Ltd. and founder of Ubuntu, said, “Ubuntu has radically changed the economics of IT for small business owners. Integrated, ready-to-work software solutions like Open-Xchange Express on Ubuntu make it easier for non-technical SMBs to increase productivity and spur innovation while reducing their IT costs at the same time.”

“Many organizations—especially those categorized as small and midsize businesses—require a low-cost and low-maintenance in-house solution that unites e-mail, calendaring, tasks and document sharing,” said Jürgen Geck, Open-Xchange’s chief technology officer, in a statement. “Open-Xchange Express Edition was designed specifically for this underserved but large corner of the market.”

To further facilitate the adoption process, OXEE supports standard groupware clients, such as Microsoft Outlook. Outlook users on Open-Xchange Express Edition can synchronize public, private and shared folders, accept or decline appointments through Outlook, manage private appointments, tasks, contacts and “Free/Busy” status. In addition, Open-Xchange Express Edition’s AJAX-based web interface is always accessible to users, regardless of platform.

While developing Open-Xchange Express Edition, the company was determined to make the program network manager friendly. The installation wizard guides companies through the process of configuring the operating system and groupware solution in a few steps. The installation can be completed within minutes and delivers a fully functional smart collaboration solution including a self-explanatory user interface to support ease of use.

OXEE also offers enterprise users access to its features such as e-mail, smart links between calendar appointments, task lists, contacts, documents, bookmarks and knowledge articles through its OXEE’s AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) Web-based interface.

Behind the end-user scenes, OXEE also includes anti-viral and anti-spam protection. It also can import data from: CSV (comma-separated values), iCal (Apple’s iCalendar), and vCard vCard.

OXEE, however, at this time is not capable of directly migrating information from a Microsoft Exchange server. Exchange administrators can, however, save user data as a PST file and then import it into OXEE. OXEE, with the OXtender for Microsoft Outlook, fully supports and integrates Microsoft Outlook 2003 and Microsoft Outlook 2007.

Hardware requirements for OXEE will vary based on the number of users, but here are some recommendations. For 20 users—CPU: Athlon64/P4; Memory: 1GB; Disk: 500MB plus user data space. For 250 users—CPU: Opteron x2/Xeon x2; Memory: 4GBs; Disk: 500MB plus user data space.

OXEE is available now at the Open-Xchange Online Shop and through qualified resellers. Prices start at $898 for 20 users and thereafter a customer can purchase additional user bundles of five users. OXEE has been tested with up to 250 users. Governmental, nonprofit and educational organizations are eligible for discounts. All prices exclude VAT (value added tax).

This is a change in sales approach for Open-Xchange. In an interview, Jürgen explained: “It is a change in the sense of OX selling direct via our webshop and through resellers to end users. It is not in the sense that it is the same target audience, with the same needs and constraints, but with no affinity to SAAS [software as a service] and hosted services.”

“This upcoming offering is for people who want their data in-house, but with as little hassle as possible. And it is based on the same proven technology we deliver through hosters,” said Jürgen.

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