Kolab uses IMAP server not only for e-mail but also for address book (contacts) and calendar (appointments). These entries are stored in special directories. Kolab comes with GNU GPL and other free software licenses and is for highly scalable environments. In this article we will discuss about Kolab in brief and in future article we will show how to install Kolab on your server. It is important to understand the unique features offered by Kolab before the actual deployment.
What is Kolab : One Application for Multiple Platforms
Kolab is a free groupware solution. It consists of the Kolab server and related interface implementations in a wide range of available Kolab clients. Kolab buildsthe software and the concepts that have been defined by the Kroupware Contract and the Kolab format. Kolab was a commissioned work for the Federal Office for Security in Information Technology in 2002-2004 and has been developed for a heterogeneous environment.
The special feature of Kolab is the underlying idea, one IMAP server is used not only for e-mail. These entries are stored in special directories, IMAP, the IMAP server manages access rights ( ACLs ) and the client synchronization, also IMAP folders jointly and simultaneously can be used by multiple clients and users. The configuration and management of a Kolab server is largely using LDAP.
Kolab clients and servers use well established standards including vCard, iCal, XML and as already mentioned, IMAP and LDAP. This set of standards for protocols and formats, which is specified in the open Kolab format, allows different PIM applications to exchange Groupware-/PIM-Data to serve. You can read the basics on Mail Server, POP3, IMAP and SMTP in case you need for in depth understanding.
Main Features of Kolab
- OpenLDAP for user management
- Cyrus as a server for IMAP and POP
- SASL for authentication Postfix as a mail transfer agent
- OpenSSL for Transport Layer Security
- Apache to include web-based server management
- Due to the open Kolab format each PIM client can be extended into a full Kolab client
- Full offline capability, hence good usability without permanent connection to the Kolab server (eg mobile clients) and reliability of the clients for network problems or server failure
- Simultaneous access to different platforms, such as Outlook ( Windows ), Kontact ( Linux ), web browser (any platform)
- Support for client-side OpenPGP and S / MIME e-mail encryption
- Integrated Spam and Virus filter by amavis-new, SpamAssassin and ClamAV are included, others are easy to integrate Standard backup methods (file-based and no database backup) of user data and group data because each e-mail, calendar, contact, task, note is a single file
- Configuration data are located in a LDAP directory
- Global address book via LDAP Group contact folder with IMAP ACLs
- Personal contacts / addresses with release option Group Calendar with IMAP ACLs
- Personal calendar with release option
- Server-side resource management (meeting rooms, cars, etc.)
- Support representative office notifications and regulations
- Multiple Locations (slave servers) possible with narrowband connections
- Cluster capability with OpenLDAP proxy and distributed mailboxes
- Reference client is Kontact from the K Desktop Environment
- Support for Microsoft Outlook with proprietary plug-ins
- Support for Mozilla Thunderbird / SeaMonkey and Mozilla Lightning with SyncKolab
- Support for SyncML -enabled devices (eg mobile phones)
- Web front-end on the basis of RoundCube (integrated in Kolab from v3.0.0)