Alpha of Kolab 3.0 and Roundcube 0.8 released
The new version of the Kolab Groupware Server is now feature complete and ready for the first alpha. Alongside with today's release of Kolab 3.0 alpha1, the Kolab web client Roundcube was released in version 0.8. The Kolab Groupware solution now integrates better into existing user directory setups. Security as well as scalability has been improved. It is now possible to scale all functional components of Kolab separately. Also, there is a new unified command line utility for administrative tasks.
This alpha version is meant for testers and early adopters and is explicitly not intended for use in production environments. Installation instructions can be found on docs.kolab.org. There are also quick installatioin instructions for the impatient. All bugs should be reported on issues.kolab.org. Thanks to native packages, Kolab 3.0 alpha can be used as a rolling release. This way, users effortlessly stay close to the latest development, do not have to upgrade to beta, rc and final releases, and receive bug fixes immediately. Once Kolab 3.0 is matured and stable, enterprise packages of certified Kolab can be obtained from Kolab Systems.
With Kolab 3.0 Roundcube becomes the default web client for the Kolab Groupware solution. Development of this Free Software initiative is therefore funded by Kolab Systems. Contacts, Calendars and, with Kolab 3, also Tasks can be managed by Roundcube. The new 0.8 release features a brand new skin for an enhanced visual experience that should make day to day work more pleasant. Generally Roundcube was made more stable and its performance was improved. It also includes more robust session handling that fixes the accidental session timeouts of earlier versions. The LDAP address book now properly supports photos, country object classes and serialized address values. A new address book widget now simplifies the selection of recipients when composes emails. Last but not least, Roundcube's license was changed from GNU GPLv2 to GNU GPLv3 or any later version.
Web Administration Panel
Kolab 3.0 comes with a customizable web based administration front-end that allows management of users and groups. New in version 3.0 is the management of resources, domains and roles. New mail domains and domain aliases can easily be added and user roles such as administrators and domain maintainer can be created and assigned. It is also possible to set role- or group-based plugins and settings for the Kolab web client and to enforce access policies for the Kolab server. Furthermore, an API is provided to access all functionality of the web administration panel. This way it is easy to integrate Kolab administration tasks into existing administration front-ends. A sample API client is included that can be used by webmail providers to sign up Kolab users.
The server components have been rewritten completely for the 3.0 release and ensure that the code-base is easier to maintain and to contribute to. For example, all dependencies of old Horde code have been removed. The Kolab daemon that ships with Kolab 3.0 has also been rewritten. It now supports mail-flow monitoring, enforces recipient policies, quota and can be extended with Python modules. These modules can handle emails on the fly and could for example add corporate footers or even do in-line translation of emails.
Kolab now uses the 389 Directory Server per default, but still supports OpenLDAP. The system that shows when users are free or busy without revealing their detailed calendars has undergone a rewrite as well and benefits from a more modern code-base.
The Open Standards Kolab uses to store its data are governed by the Kolab Enhancement Proposals. Over the years, several enhancements have been proposed and accepted which made an overhaul of the Kolab Format necessary. The new format saves calendar data in the xCal and Contacts data in the xCard format. It removes ambiguity and makes the Kolab format future proof and extensible for coming features. To ease transition to the new format a upgrade tool is provided. There is also a libkolab library with several language bindings that can read and write both formats. It can be used in Kolab clients to support the new format easily.
Since version 2.3 Kolab relies on the ActiveSync protocol to connect mobile clients to its server. With Kolab 3.0 the new ActiveSync implementation Syncroton replaces the old Z-Push stack which improves performance significantly. Authentication is now harmonized with other Kolab clients and also supports credential separation. This security feature allows for different authentication credentials on mobile devices. Should a device get lost, the main credentials are not compromised.