Fedora's selection of Zarafa as an open source groupware component in Fedora 13 is very interesting.
The beta of Fedora 13, code named "Goddard," was made available on April 13. The final version is expected in mid May.
Red Hat sponsors the open source Linux project and has toyed with the idea of integrating email and calendaring capabilities into its Linux stack from time to time. Novell, of course, promotes its own GroupWise but also endorses other open source offerings for its Linux distribution.
Customers and integrators have often turned to leading open source groupware offerings such as SendMail, OpenXChange, Scalix and Zimbra or proprietary solutions to fill their collaboration requirements.
Zarafa appears to be an interesting alternative, provided that its compatibility claims are solid. Zarafa is based in the Netherlands and Hannover, Germany and its Linux solution is said to be 100 percent compatible with Microsoft Exchange environments.
According to the European company, Zarafa integrates with Linux mail servers, and provides a Microsoft Outlook look-and-feel web access capability, as well as reliable sharing with Outlook email via its 100 percent support for MAPI.
Another major differentiator is its support for native mobile phones, the Z-Push open source project and Active sync compatibility. Z-Push, of course, provides real time push e-mail support.
Zarafa then offers support for Windows Mobile based devices, Apple iPhone, Nokia E-series, Palm Treo 650, 680, 700, Sony Ericsson P990, W950, M600 and Android. Android support is offered through a tool known as Touchdown. It also offers native support for Blackberry Enterprise Server.
Here's what Red Hat had to say about Zarafa in Fedora 13:
"During its development cycle, Fedora 13 also featured for the first time an installable package of Zarafa, a drop-in groupware replacement for Exchange with full featured email, calendaring, and other collaboration tools for use by both Linux and Microsoft clients. A highly usable, comfortable, and familiar Web interface for users, and support for POP/IMAP and other protocols are included, along with tools for integration with existing Linux services."
*Editor's note: Reader informed me that it is the Fedora open source project --and not Red Hat -- that selects the components for the Linux code. I regret the error.
I also regret misspelling Zarafa in the first version of this story.