SOGo: Thunderbird-inspired and Thunderbird-compatible Groupware

I’m slowly learning about the world of groupware, which I’m thinking for the moment as access to shared resources (folders, address books, calendars) and coordination features like meeting scheduling. It’s a world which is dominated by Exchange, especially in North America and especially in companies, especially in larger companies. There are alternatives, however, including some which have some interesting ties to Thunderbird. One notable such project is SOGo, which stands for Scalable (not a great name IMO, but let’s judge a book by its title ;-). SOGo came to my attention for a couple of reasons — first, because they built a web front-end to their system which is a fairly close clone of the Thunderbird UI, second, because the same team built an extension to Thunderbird and Lightning to add support for more groupware-ish features like access to free-busy information. I’m hoping that the SOGo team and the Calendar team will be able to join forces to make both projects stronger. They’ve just announced their second RC of version 1.0, so if you’re interested in this kind of project, do check it out.


  1. One thing that would be fantastic is if Thunderbird could be shipped with lightning by default, and if it could seamlessly connect to an open source calendar server like the Darwin Calendar Server and in turn the Apple 10.5 server Calendar server that is ultimately a pretty Darwin Calendar Server. I seriously think that with these sorts of features you might well see a much larger interest from Corporate companies. And when people start using (and like using) Thunderbird at work they will also very quickly want to use it at home too.

    I might be wrong but I don’t see a way of connecting Lightning to a Cal Server


  2. The only disadvantage of SOGO I see now is the installation-procedure. This seems way too complicated for updating a working server, too much chance of things getting broken which work now. But if I’m ever going to build a new server SOGO is the main candidate…


  3. @Luigi

    SOGo does not _require_ PostgreSQL.

    It supports many database backends (FrontBase, MySQL, Oracle, SQLite and or course, PostgreSQL).


  4. There’s an other interesting Thunderbird/Lightning-compatible Groupware projet witch is OBM :Open Business Management URL=
    It can work with Thunderbird/lightning or Outlook.
    yet, there aren’t using CalDav but webservice.


  5. One of the great advances of the desktop rich applications was the compound document. Mixing text, images, interactive charts, active diagrams, busy /free displays with a simple drag and drop. The machines of the time were a little underpowered for this task but that should not take away from the great advanced. The compound document frameworks were also very difficult to program too. Mostly the power houses like Microsoft, Borland, Lotus, Claris, Taligent, etc did it. The underpowered houses could not.

    Another of the great advances was the expendable shell. The first one was OS/2’s Presentation Manager. Then came Windows 95’s Explorer. Linux had Nautilus. It is a very compelling idea to have a single tool that integrates browsing and searching hierarchical collections of data. The shell frameworks were also very difficult to program too. Mostly the power houses like Microsoft, Borland, Lotus, Claris, etc did it. The underpowered houses could not and instead presented other independent hierarchical displays.

    We need to go back to these ideas and implement them now with the more powerful machines and high level languages and toolkits. I really don’t want Thunderbird to be so deep so as to enclose these tools and data repositories. I want a lighter touch. I want Thunderbird to provide interactiveness that is not currently available via the browser. Thunderbird is a super-browser. I want it to show the way of where browsers need to go.


  6. Have you noticed
    also with an extension for ooo integration. Some sort fo share point..

    Interesting that somewhere they say that on the roadmap2008 want the mail clients integration (there’s already a cal as it appears on the demo vids..). find roadmap in the forum, they say Q1 2008 to get mail/cal, open standards especially..


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