CeBIT Open Source 2011 - Project Presentation GROUP-E


During CeBIT 2011 open source projects such as GROUP-E, a web-based groupware and collaborative software solution, will have the opportunity to showcase what is currently in active development.

In a nutshell: describe the project in two sentences:

GROUP-E is a web-based groupware and collaborative software solution from South Tyrol.
Its key features are project management, meeting and task management, CRM, (Samba-) file server connection, integrated time registration and analysis, as well as single sign-on via LDAP and synchronising of mobile terminals (iPhones and such like).

How long has the project been running?

The project has been going for nearly 10 years, but GROUP-E only officially started in 2003.

How many people are involved in the project?

We have 11 active team members altogether, consisting of 8 in South Tyrol and 3 in Germany.

How did the project come about?

GROUP-E came into being thanks to an initiative by the seven founders of the Endo7 company from Bozen, South Tyrol. The idea was to set up a virtual office based on PHP, Apache, MySQL, OpenLDAP and Cyrus IMAP servers and offer it as a standard application under Open Source. The new development received project-related funding from institutions and companies, which, in doing so, obtained tailored solutions to suit their needs. Thanks to public funding, the marketable 1.0 version was created in 2003 and the improved 1.5 version went online for the general public in 2005.

Why should CeBIT visitors visit your stand?

GROUP-E offers definite added value when compared with other similar solutions, including varied features, open architecture and free licensing. We hope to convince visitors with live demos and by simply talking to them. We are also going to present GROUP-E's new Asterisk PBX Click2dial connection, which allows fully computer-supported telephone integration and is unique on the Open Source market. Of course, this will all be washed down with a glass of South Tyrolean Lagrein, which is worth stopping for in itself. (grins)

Who do you write your software for?

In Italy 80% of local councils and provincial offices in South Tyrol as well as 125 companies within the region work with GROUP-E every day. As you see, it has a wide range of application scenarios. In Germany we have succeeded in interesting renowned management consultancy companies, architecture firms, PR agencies and even two universities in it. Ultimately, though, GROUP-E is meant for anyone looking to demonstrate communicative and organisational processes in a team.

Where do your greatest difficulties lie at the moment?

The organisation and funding of further developments! At the moment we are investing a lot of time and energy into getting clients and users more closely involved in development in order to obtain sponsoring for valuable expansion. This means a lot of communication and dialogue in order to gather and evaluate wishes and technical requirements etc. We believe that in doing so we can substainably extend our range of features and guarantee the long-term, client-oriented further development of the project.

If you had the money for a permanent developer, which tough nut should they crack?

Our user interface (UI) is relatively simple, but it could be revamped and modernised in places. That would be the first job, before revising and documenting the basis framework to allow interested developers to cooperate more easily. If we had any money left over we would carry out interface extensions to other Open Source solutions (e.g. ticket systems, document management etc.) in order to integrate GROUP-E more specifically in certain operations.

What licence is the software under?

GROUP-E is 100% GPL, all features included. There is no dual licensing and such like, not even for synchronisation with iPhones etc.

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