Three years later: More from grommunio

11. January 2024 | Blog

Three years later: More from grommunio

The third year of grommunio’s history was another extremely successful one for the leading open source groupware: In 2023, we have been further implementing what we had started in 2021 and continued to integrate it into the grommunio technology.

While 2022 was characterized by the development and expansion of a global partner landscape, major collaborations and numerous reports in trade media, this past, third year has seen massive and comprehensive development of technology – from the grommunio desktop to integration of Exchange Web Services.

We would like to say thank you and wish you a Happy New Year – also because without you, the grommunio customers, partners and community, this journey would not be possible.

2022: A Christmas present with lots of features

Right at the start of 2023, several new technical features took the center stage: Various blog posts describe the new functions in detail which all originated from the large updates in version 2022.12.1, aka “Christmas present”, because it had been published at the end of 2022.

grommunio desktop: Secure and fully featured clients for every system

For example, since 2023, users are able to access the secure and tested environment of “grommunio Desktop”. This comes as a standalone program and brings the full power of grommunio Web to every computer, including Chat, Meet, Files and more. As an independent client for every operating system, the much-requested grommunio desktop is based on the Electron framework and brings not only identical user-friendliness and range of functions on all platforms, it is also equally secure and compatible, regardless of whether you are using Windows, Apple, Android, Debian, SuSE or Red Hat Linux. Thanks to open source technology, the desktop is even available as an app image or source code archive (tar.gz).

grommunio Desktop Mail

More power for admins thanks to the Admin API

Another much-requested feature was the integration into Microsoft’s Powershell. And since this year, admins can also use the Admin API for Powershell (AAPIPS) to gain direct, interactive access to the long list of features of the grommunio Admin API – for all system-relevant tasks and complete server administration.

The most versatile groupware solution on the market

However, grommunio has more to offer than administration and scalability, audit-proof authentication and archiving: It’s also the world’s first groupware that is not limited to a single directory service and is also fully multi-client capable. Thanks to grommunio’s multi-LDAP technology, large setups can be supported even better, multiple installations become superfluous and entire IT landscapes become more efficient.

grommunio Multi-LDAP

Hosters and larger companies will appreciate that web service providers no longer have to worry about individual backend authentication or separate account management in order to connect to customers’ LDAP systems. But the sophisticated multi-tenancy capabilities also include integration of completely different logical systems and backend LDAP server types, including Active Directory, netIQ eDirectory, openLDAP but also any other server that supports the LDAPv3 standard.

Support for Exchange Active Sync 16 and 16.1

Since April 2023, grommunio also supports the most current version of Microsoft’s Exchange Active Sync protocol (EAS), which is being used to control mobile clients. Of course, the implementation of grommunio is completely open source and available on Github, as the first OSS mobile device management in an OSS groupware with complete connectivity for phones and tablets, including protocol compatibility with Exchange ActiveSync versions 2.5, 12.0, 12.1, 14.0, 14.1, 16.0 and 16.

Exchange ActiveSync functionality diagram

Thanks to EAS, grommunio is able to not only allow higher device security than other groupware servers, it also brings remote wipe, performance and calendar functions that also benefit from the update. Since AES 16.1, users also find many UX features improved and can enjoy a lot more control and customization options. Most client devices (e.g. those from Apple) recognize the new versions automatically, so that no intervention by the admin is necessary here either. This implementation of grommunio Sync is fully validated with Microsoft’s OfficeDev Interop TestSuite, making grommunio Sync the world’s leading open source EAS server implementation. We would like to thank Microsoft for their active support.

SUSE and Open Build Service: Integrated into Linux distributions

But the development and distribution of grommunio also continues to progress: Since summer 2023, the software packages are also available on the Open Build Service, also known as Open SUSE Factory, the innovative development platform of the SUSE community. With that, every user of SUSE operating systems such as the ever-rolling “Tumbleweed” can find grommunio in their local administration tools for installation, continuously maintained and automatically tested.

grommunio packages in openSUSE Factory

In his blog post, grommunio lead developer Jan Engelhardt explains how this was possible, how grommunio distributes its source code to Linux developers and what role the respective communities play in this process. A hint for SUSE users: Just run a search for “grommunio” and “gromox” in YaST or with ‘zypper se grom’.

Open Source Collaboration: T-Systems

Shortly after its third anniversary in the summer of 2023, grommunio was allowed to deepen its partnership with T-Systems. “Open source is the key to digital sovereignty”, explains Deutsche Telekom on the website of its “Open Source Collaboration” project, where grommunio, together with its partners, provides a “wide-ranging, modular and flexible offering for companies and administration”.

Open Source Collaboration

Because grommunio is relying entirely on free software and keeps integrating both proven open source products, like e.g. Dovecot and Postfix for E-Mail, as well as its own high-end open source implementations of Microsoft protocols and APIs, it allows clients to connected without any configuration work or interaction by an administrator. When switching to grommunio, your users can continue to work seamlessly and without any problems, including their integrated specialized applications. The fact that grommunio has already become an established part of Deutsche Telekom’s open source collaboration led to and is showing in several joint events, webinars and trade fair appearances – such as Digital X 2023.

grommunio 2023.11.1 brings Exchange Web Services, Kerberos, accessibility and more

A new milestone came in November 2023 – the groundbreaking update 2023.11.1. This version of grommunio made it the first open source groupware ever to integrate Exchange Web Services into an open source product, as a preview in a free beta version. Incidentally, the milestone is almost three times as fast as the original and free of any obligation to have separate EWS licenses.
In addition, the new version brings SPNEGO/Kerberos authentication for seamless single sign-on with MS Active Directory and Samba4 environments, including Univention, NethServer and others. In addition, the new version of grommunio is certified as accessible for the first time in accordance with WCAG 2.1, the web client is 50% faster than before – and there is a long list of spectacular new features.

grommunio in the press and at associations

OSBA - Groupware defines, how we will work in future

The success of grommunio has not gone unnoticed by the press, with numerous international media outlets reporting on the November release: Computerworld, Datacenter-Insider, IT-Finanzmagazin. Apart from that, also numerous NGOs like the Linux Professional Institute (who published one of our blog posts), or US industry portals such as KalkineMedia reported on grommunio.

For the second time the Open Source Business Alliance Verein für Digitale Souveränität e.V. (a german language association of open source SME, companies and corporations) has reported extensively on grommunio. On their website, our CEO Norbert Lambing can be read explaining what lies ahead for everyone in the world of open source groupware: “We will see enormous leaps in the capabilities of the software. Current technologies such as AI, virtual reality and augmented reality are revolutionizing the way we work. At the same time, open source software will continue to gain ground: Then – thank god – The times of obligatory and cost-intensive dependency on software corporations will finally be over.”

grommunio was also featured in Linux-Magazin 10/23 in a multi-page groupware comparison. The editors found it so convincing that it was decided to also publish it on the magazine DVD in the best open source manner – a specially branded version for Linux-Magazin.

New version and open source trade fairs (FOSDEM)

In January 2024, there will once again be a special edition of grommunio, with many bug fixes and new features. We will be reporting on this in detail once published. And on the first weekend in February we have even been invited to the world’s largest open source developer event, FOSDEM.

Come along to Brussels, listen to our experts explain and tell you how to implement 27 Microsoft Exchange protocols in open source and why this is important.

We wish you a Happy New Year, a Merry Christmas and say thank you to all our customers, partners and our community. Thank you for this successful year.