Red Hat signs up messaging server

Open-Xchange, formerly Netline Internet Service, has released its well regarded open-source collaboration server for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), as part of the company’s program of broadening its cross-platform support.

Open-Xchange is the main commercial, open-source alternative to proprietary systems such as Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise. It first entered the spotlight with the release of Suse Linux Openexchange Server (SLOX), based on Open-Xchange, which was billed as the first enterprise-grade open-source collaboration platform.

The Suse-Open-Xchange relationship changed after Novell’s acquisition of Suse last year, bringing the product into direct competition with Novell’s own in-house product. Novell will stop selling SLOX at the end of this year and will offer support for another two years after that.

In the meantime Open-Xchange has rolled out a stand-alone product that can be bundled with other platforms. The company released the product under the GPL and has used the resulting interest from open-source developers to help add compatibility with more than a dozen platforms, including Mac OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD and several Linux distributions. Commercial support deals are following, of which the Red Hat deal, announced last week, is the most significant so far.

Open-Xchange Server is now certified for Red Hat Enterprise Server and Red Hat Application Server, and Red Hat is to provide technology and services for distribution with Open-Xchange. Open-Xchange is offering bundles for new customers and upgrade packages for those looking to migrate from SLOX.

“By providing a supported Open-Xchange on Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux versions, customers now have real platform choices when it comes to deploying enterprise installations,” said Frank Hoberg, CEO of Open-Xchange.

The Red Hat version improves upon SLOX and the open-source edition of Open-Xchange with better Outlook and Palm connectors, a Web-based administration interface, Web-based online help for users, administration and user manuals, and technical support. The server can be accessed via any browser, as well as clients such as Outlook, Palm, KDE Kontact, Apple’s iCAL, Konqueror and Mozilla Calendar. The server supports open interfaces such as WebDAV, LDAP, iCal and HTTP/S for third-party client support.

Open-Xchange Server 5 for Red Hat Enterprise Server 4 is available immediately at Open-Xchange’s Web site and via resellers. The Small Business Server Edition, for 5-25 users, costs $295 for the first five users with an annual support fee of $25 for each additional user. The Advanced Server Edition, for 25 users and up, costs $850 plus $25 per user for technical support past the first year.

Open-Xchange, founded in Germany, initially targeted only European customers via SLOX. The company moved its headquarters to New York this year as part of its expansion to additional platforms and regions

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