Open-Xchange

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OX App Suite
OX App Suite.png
OX App Suite
Developer(s) Open-Xchange
Stable release 7.6.0[1] / (2014-06-25)
Operating system SLES, RHEL, Debian, Univention Corporate Server, CentOS
Type Web desktop
License Backend (GPLv2), Frontend Creative Commons
Website open-xchange.com

Open-Xchange[2] develops, markets and sells web-based communication, collaboration and office productivity software, which enables full integration of email, documents, scheduling and social media. The company is privately owned and headquartered in Nuremberg, Germany, with offices in San Jose, CA, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

History[edit]

The company started with development of a Linux-based email and groupware solution that was positioned as open source alternative to Microsoft Exchange, namely Open-Xchange Server SUSE Linux Openexchange Server (SLOX, an OEM version for SUSE Linux).

In 2006 1&1 entrusted Open-Xchange and to build a scalable Email and collaboration software for hosted deployments that is deployed to users as Software as a service. The result, Open-Xchange Hosting Edition, is used by more than 80 cloud and hosting providers, cloud and hosting providers, telcos and local Internet services to provide more than 80m users (as of 2013) with branded Cloud services such as 1&1 MailXchange,[3] Network Solutions Business Email,[4] Namecheap Email Hosting,[5] Dotster Email,[6] Cirrus Hosting Enterprise Email,[7] and others. Branded as Open-Xchange Server Edition, the software was also made available for on-premise installations.

In 2012, key members of the original OpenOffice development team joined Open-Xchange to engineer a cloud-based office suite from scratch using modern HTML5 and Java Script technology.

In 2013, Open-Xchange released OX App Suite, a web desktop that provides central access to digital assets and consistent user experience on all devices, as well as OX Documents, a cloud-based office productivity suite that complements OX App Suite. Service providers and on-premise users can move to OX App Suite with an update of Open-Xchange Hosting Edition, respectively Open-Xchange Server Edition.

Overview[edit]

OX App Suite delivers a set of applications that supports easy management of email, contacts, calendars, media and all documents, optimizing workflow and productivity in this era of information overload. With the integration of Google Mail, Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, users benefit from intuitive communication and sharing across all devices while ensuring that data stays secure in a central storage.

Developed by key members of the OpenOffice development team, Open-Xchange introduced OX Documents, a cloud-based office productivity suite, featuring OX Text, an in-browser word processing tool. A pioneering feature of OX Text is non-destructive support of Microsoft Office and OpenOffice or LibreOffice file formats. XML-based documents can be seamlessly read, edited and saved back to the original format at a level of quality and fidelity previously unavailable with browser-based text editors. OX Documents also provides viewing support for all major file formats. OX Text and OX Spreadsheet will be joined by OX Presentation to complete the OX Documents in 2014.

In February 2014, the company added OX Drive to the OX App Suite family, which provides file syncing and collaboration features both in- browser and with native applications available for Android, iOS, Windows 7/8 and OS X devices.

The company partners with Dutch software vendor Voiceworks[8] to create OX Messenger, a WebRTC based solution for secure peer to peer chat, voice and video communications that is integrated into the Open-Xchange flagship product, OX App Suite.

In September 2014, the company introduced a tool called OX Guard to their existing open source email server. A software that individuals and businesses can use to operate their own email services.[9]

Technology[edit]

OX App Suite consists of a Java-based backend, a frontend implemented in JavaScript and various extensions.

The backend is modular and extensible, based on OSGi bundles. Every bundle provides different APIs, from Java to RESTful HTTP or specialised interfaces like CalDAV. The backend is designed around Open-Source components like Linux, Apache and MySQL and can be set up as single instance or clustered on several levels. Unlike other collaboration appliances, backend does not come with its own mail server and allows users to plug in their existing systems. The default choice is Dovecot.

The frontend is a HTML5 based website, using Javascript to make lightweight asynchronous calls. It is built around JQuery, underscore.js and made modular using a system similar to and derived from require.js.

Alternatively end users can use fat clients like Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook as well as mobile devices to connect to the backend.

Availability[edit]

OX App Suite can be downloaded[10] for evaluation and non-supported use. To get maintenance, technical support and access components with 3rd party licenses such as Connector for Microsoft Outlook and Connector for Business Mobility (ActiveSync) users need to buy a license key.

Licensing[edit]

OX App Suite Backend is released under the GNU General Public License, version 2, the Frontend is released under Creative Commons Share Alike, Non Commercial, Attribution. These licenses allow use without payment, including in commercial environments. The restriction to Non Commercial in the Creative Commons license for the Frontend restricts re-distribution to third parties, i.e. hosted deployments for third parties. However, since the front-end license prohibits commercial re-distribution, the software is neither free software nor open source software since the definitions of both require such re-distribution to be permitted.[11][12]

Functional overview[edit]

  • Webmail
  • Portal view
  • Integration of widgets and RSS feeds into Portal view
  • Team Calendaring
  • Personal and Team View
  • Free / Busy View
  • Contact Management
  • Task Lists
  • Document Management
  • WebDAV interface
  • Java API
  • Outlook plugin (commercial offerings)
  • Web-Based Client (AJAX)
  • Microsoft Outlook® Connectivity
  • Synchronization of Mac OS X applications via CardDAV and CalDAV
  • Import of CSV, iCal, and vCard files - WebDAV interface
  • Central editing of external E-mail accounts (e.g. from Google, Yahoo, GMX)
  • Synchronize addresses of Social Business Networks (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, XING)
  • ISPConfig control panel integration[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ OX App Suite Announcements
  2. ^ Open-Xchange Website
  3. ^ 1&1 MailXchange
  4. ^ Network Solutions Business Email
  5. ^ Namecheap Email Hosting
  6. ^ Dotster Email
  7. ^ Cirrus Hosting Enterprise Email
  8. ^ Partnership Open-Xchange and Voiceworks
  9. ^ By Klint Finley, Wired. “The Open Source Tool That Lets You Send Encrypted Emails to Anyone.” September 3, 2014. September 3, 2014.
  10. ^ OX App Suite Download and Install
  11. ^ Open Source Definition
  12. ^ Free Software Definition
  13. ^ Open-Xchange Connector for ISPConfig3

External links[edit]