There's a teacher here running a short course on using Outlook. They've asked if I can come up with a free solution to using an MS Exchange server. I've already done a bit of research to find out what's out there, but I'd like to get your thoughts on the subject.
The students will be:
* E-mailing only themselves in a private network.
* Sharing calendars
* Sending meeting requests
Having a Global Address List would also be nice.
P.S. I've got some Linux experience.
im gonna be looking at Zimbra. does outlook connect to it or do you need to use the zimbra desktop?
outlook connects to it as it is an IMAP server.
If you need to share calendars and you need outlook then you have to buy the paid version, because the MAPI connector is not free. I can't see why you would need outlook, the desktop client does it all - save some ££ on ditching office/outlook at the same time; )
IIRC one of the other freebies has a free outlook connector, scalix or openexchange. not sure.
AARGH not Scalix EVIL EVIL EVIL EVIL product, well the implementation we use of it is evil in the Yorkshire area.
Another vote on Zimbra here as an open source collaboration suite. Our whole district is moving to it this May from First Class cause First Class was way too integrated and the web interface reminds me of my first days of using HTML.
I thought I'd get a few Zimbra votes! Unfortunately, they'll be using Outlook, and it looks like only the Professional edition (which costs £) supports it.
I set up a similar solution at a former location... we used David Harris' excellent Mercury as the mailserver - it's freely downloadable and is a really outstanding program. (There's also a free mail client, Pegasus Mail, which works quite happily either as a standalone product or integrates with Mercury.) In our particular setup, we had the majority of our staff using Outlook on their network PCs, with Mercury running as the server.
When it came to sharing calendars, we simply shared them between the users with Outlook's peer-to-peer calendar share, rather than using the Exchange-style sharing. It worked fine for our purposes; however, I can't recall exactly how the sharing worked... I think the user has to be logged in and running Outlook for the "other" user(s) to see the calendar they've shared - if that makes sense! But that peer-to-peer calendar sharing feature may no longer work or be available in Outlook...?
Microsoft's site says you need Exchange to share calendars :(