Fame. 15 min worth…

…or 15 seconds?

DeskNow  Mail and collaboration server
Praise for DeskNow. Flattery gets you nowhere.

What’s the name for searching for yourself on Google?

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301 posts past.

Is it like room 101?

Feels like it at the moment. Computer 101.

Tried installing Communigate on Ubuntu, but have run into a file system problem. Either Communigate is built for Red Hat, Ubuntu is non-standard, or Communigate is badly packaged. I don’t know.

Right now I’m torn between using Ubuntu, and finding another IMAP server, trying SuSE 9.3 or Fedora, or going back to the drawing board and starting plans over.

I found How to Forge, and a few methods to build half of what I need. Nothing to lose, only time, so I’ve stuck to Debian, Sarge, and gone with the instructions on server setup with this method.

I’m considering this as nothing more than an experiment right now, in fact I’ll be bloody amazed if it reaches the install point as advertised, let alone sticking the packages on for Open-xchange. I’ll try the SuSE install when it fails and see if I can end up with virtually the same system I just took down.

Vicious circle.

Looking through Windows.

I recently ‘found’ a copy of Win Server 2003, and thought I’d use the currently spare ‘server’ to give it a try. You never know, a Windows Groupware may exist!

Usual ‘wait forever’ Windows install, nothing special. Desktop is, basic, but, management and security is very in your face. No bad thing I presume.

I did the Windows update thing, and ahha, my copy appears to be ahem, ‘non-genuine’! So no updates for me then.

I could live with using a Win server, but I’d end up using ‘dodgy’ software, and I’m now happier in a Linux environment. Windows based groupware is thin on the ground, most will run on either Unix or Win, and a mailserver that fits my needs is also available for Linux.

So, a shortlived experiment ended and I’m no reinstalled with Ubuntu, ready to strip it down, and build the server I want.

Groupware, without the ware.

I’ve been looking into options for the groupware server. Vastly underused, but with the potential to be a boon to the 6880 project.

The current server, an eight year old AMDK6 400mhz, while still perfectly usable, is getting on. Its running Communigate mailserver and Group-office, inc MySQL and Apache. I scan it weekly with bit defender, and have pulled much of the cruft out of a SuSE 9.1 install, though it does run KDE and a VNC server.

I need similar again, with a little more horsepower, and a better groupware server, Group-Office is getting a little old, is virtually unsupported, and limiting in some areas I need it to perform in.

I’ve been trawling the net for alternatives, mainly focusing on ease of use, and a clean interface, but with a precise set of demands for functions in the modules, and easy access to self support.

Most things fail on either one or more criteria. Many things fail for one simple reason. They cost an incredible amount of money. Don’t get me wrong, I’m prepared to drop some money on this, but some is £100 max.

I’ve followed the OpenGroupware (OGO) project for a while, and have tried the now famous, in groupware terms, Knoppix live CD with it pre-installed and configured. So when I read about InstantOGo I was impressed, and after a few questions were asked in support, and answered in the way I expected, I dropped my 98Euro and bought a copy, rightly feeling that any profit could filter back to the opensource project.

The problems started there…

Groupware saga continued…

It would not install on the target machine, my 1.2ghz Athalon. Bugged out everywhich way at an early point in the install, just before graphical. Error messages were many, and cryptic, and remembering similar problems on a SuSE install I trawled through most of my config options, HD settings without any luck.

I then pulled the current groupware machine and installed their. It made it this time, painfully slowly, and was not what I expected in funcunality either.

Going back to the other machine, I dug out an old Abit mobo, 799 Celery, and slapped it in. This worked, and I could install InstantOGo. Wish I had not bothered. Wish I had not spent £75.00. Wished it was all some kind of techno dream and I would wake up anytime soon.

The only good thing is that I’ve put my money into an Opensource friendy company, I’ve not spent money on any other distro this year, Tiger excepted, and I do aim to support 1 or 2 per year.

As advertised I guessed Instant OGo included the intregrated groupware suite, but I concluded that this would be it, and a small server management console, with terminal for most work. No. It installs a pretty full Fedora Core 3, inc music players etc, what I’d call a minimal desktop, along with a base install of OpenGroupware. What I thought would be a minimal server, with a simple GUI, ala YaST, console/module to admin the thing, with the OGo suite ready set up, is nothing more than a ready setup OGo, on a simple customised FC3.

I could do that! But I wouldent chose FC3, it would be Debian based! Likely Ubuntu.

I feel slightly cheated, although I know the money goes to a good home, but I was given the impession this was a groupware server in a box, I supply the box.

I was not given the imperession it was really just a groupware pre-installed and hell’ you have to still dig deep to configure it.

My mistake. Wallet lighter, the search continues.

Server thoughts


Everything I ever wanted in Linux?

Not Quite, but I am keen to try this out as my new webserver/groupware server.

Hoary Hedgehog is really impressing me right now, it has come a long, long way in the 3-4 months since I last tried it out.

Server up!

Groupware server running a treat. Been up 8 days without a hitch, looking forward to 80 days on the clock. Most of this weeks concentrated effort has been writing the final draft or the 6880 biz plan, next week I’m returning to the Joys of Mambo and Webdesign. Hope to have the new site up and running very soon.

I also need to delve into the innards of setting up a mailserver, tied with the groupware project I need a IMAP server to handle committee mail, its got to be reliable 100 per cent, and easy to tie to the Group Office. Seems there are no GUI options on either IMAP or PoP, so it looks like a very fun time ahead.

I’ve still not set up my Linux workstation/server to my configs, instead I’m relying on the laptop as my Linux desktop, and I’m very happy to do so, although now I’ve got a better CPU in the desktop box, I do want to use that. Its the quickest version of Linux I’ve every used, and it shows too. Still, Windows would be better on the same box as well, but I don’t see the point of the investment yet, and when I do, I may still want to run Windows from within Linux for the days when I need to use it!

Groupware again

Groupware up and running. 8 days and counting. I’m a little disappointed with usage. Everyone has logged in once, but even when I have sent up a final draft of The Plan, there is only me and Q using it. Should have guessed really, but this was one of the critical uses of the ‘office’ and its not being used….
Still, I guess that it was to be expected, I chose Group-Office because it was simple, GUI driven, and I thought, the most idiot proof implementation I have seen anywhere. Q struggles to comprehend that. I need to offer training sessions, and this is before I implement IMAP mail in there…

Business plan in final stages now. The only things remaining are a full summary and final spelling format checks. The summary has to blow EGH and the tiny minds out of the water, least if it don’t do them, it’s gotta do the rest of the board.
I’m still waiting to find out who its got to go to, but I have written into it a clause forbidding the use of it willy nilly without having an agreement with us first. My understanding of the whole thing is vague, who wants it? Why? And what for? Are the 1st questions, who is on our side, sand how many are the next, and most important. Q has confirmed if they turn round with a NO!, they have a fight on there hands, and I suspect its going to be a bloody one.
If this is stage one in our case, its a bloody good one, even if I say so after having written it!


Think I let posting slip a little. I’ve got a couple of entries on the phone waiting to go, just not had the time to polish and send them.

So, groupware is up and running, full of data and I’ve got one person checking in daily, with everyone else having made 1 visit. Running like a dream on the old box, would have liked to carry on with Think, but I think that may be the cause of some of its problems. Uptime at 6 days, not much in the great scheme of things, lets see how it carries on.

Still some configs to do, I need a daily backup, and a little more security may help. I also want to setup IMAP facilities, that looks like a project in its own right. I can log into it physically, then drop in via VNC, or I can run ssh from its usual running state. I set up the groupware this way, loaded raw software into the correct directory with needed permissions, logged out of KDE, logged in via browser to make the groupware changes, and via ssh to make the dbase config. I’ve not been back into KDE since….

Other stuff is more pressing at the moment, I’m loading site structure and data across into 1 Mambo CMS install for testing, then plan on backing this up and transferring it into another install on the proper site. However this has had to take a back seat as I have misfortune of putting a business plan together from material supplied to me, and after months of deliberating on when it is needed I’ve been given 3 days.



Not much degree of success on setting up a groupware server yet. Xandros is loaded, MySQL and php are installed, but it is so slow loading and configuring things via VNC that I’m looking for alternatives. Mepis is proving difficult to load because of x-screen res difficulties. Its a distro that made me go wow though.

It loads from a live CD, then from that has a setup util to load/install to HD. I’ve had it running on the laptop, and from CD/ram is quick. I want to give it a go on the server, so my option appears to be to try an alternate monitor or move from its awkward location and do the setup on the bench. I had vague hopes of being able to start it from CD, VNC in and take install from there. This won’t work. It’s to much work for very little gain. Install is done from Linux and KDE off the CD.

Groupware evaluation


Just reached a point where moregroupware looks like it could be suitable, and bing, up pops a glitch.

When you have added a member and want to change the group member belongs to, you can’t from the web interface. Ok so I deleted the member, and created a new member on the right group. Now, even though only the latest one shows up on the list, I can pick either the deleted member or the new member from the list of people to assign tasks to. Not much use as they are indistinguishable.

Group-Office it is then?



The Great Groupware experiment continues. I now have the web-server cobbled together from various parts lying around. I had to do some memory swaps to get it going, and I realise my Linux box has some serious memory errors, to be fair that’s how it came to me.

I’ve chosen Debian as the Os, I’ll use Xandros again, mainly cos I like it, its easy to configure, has a few useful extras (VNC), is easy to update and still has the power and availability of Debian.

I know, I know, I killed the box a month ago because of a degradation in performance on this os, but I don’t plan on running Think yet, no X either for most of the time once its configured and running.


Xandros loaded, sweet little Os, I’d forgotten how nice it is, SuSE blew it away @ 9.1 and is my desktop of choice, but for usability, installation and use for most things Xandros is only 2 steps behind. Now comes the final config/update part, then PHP and MySql and moregroupware.

Router just made 65 days, had to restart it today, major outage of everything at the ISP, it may have come back up on its own, but restarting is an early option on the diagnostics. Reminds me I need to reinstall the modem in Windows box, its in there but not configured. I forgot it was there, so without modem I was left with using the phone for a web update. I knew I’d

find a use for the Treo eventually!



OK, groupware experiment is still ongoing, moregroupware is up an running on Greatwestern.info space, without mail and files, 2 of the more important factors in the plan. Still, it’ll do till phase 2 can be brought up.

Phase 2?? what’s this…

Phase 2 is the reinstatement of the lil ‘ole ‘puter that I switched of a couple of weeks ago, this time I won’t run Think, but will figure out a safe way to punch a hole through the firewall, and let IT serve groupware and files etc to everyone. Will it work? Maybe, but least its worth a try.

Meanwhile I will do my best to sort out moregroupware, I think its only a case of it not building its own filesystem for the mail and news modules, that maybe easy to fix, and maybe I won’t need the home based server, although deep down I want to give that a try just cos it can be done.

Now all that remains is to pick a groupware system. I still think the first was the best, Group-Office, but moregroupware is good, if only cos its the only one I can run on hosted space. Egroupware and phpgroupware are also rans, Opengroupware is also a possibility, not the least because it is an Open office spawn, but would appear to be complex to setup and operate, I

have to think of my users here. Working with a plug-in set to Mambo is still possibility, but while it has advantages, one central place, its disadvantages would be setting up security to keep out others on what may be a busy site, and space bandwidth on the same. The other disadvantage to Mambo is that it is done through a disparate set of plugin modules, so

interoperability may be an issue, however, setting up a devoted system may be a work around to all these problems, 6880Office.com anyone?

I am going to try and concentrate on other things for a while, but the home based server may be the best bet, and I feel I still have got to keep little old reliable running doing something, so a little background project may start with running a Debian based system on it, and going from there.



Pulled a sickie this morning, partly cos I really am sick, but also gave me a couple of hours to catch up without interuption. Should be back at work by lunch at the latest, but at least I will be out of time deficit.


Ok, few quick moments for an update. I left my machine at home uploading another groupware experiment. This time its phpGroupware. Another biggie at nearly 40meg. Think this is a last chance before I go for yahoo groups as an online answer.

But I did get chance to checkout the Knoppix version I downloaded the other day. I can only say wow…

A- that the Opengroupware is so PRO.

B- that Knoppix is so cool running entirely in RAM.

Now if I could transfer Knoppix distro on the disc to a smallish HD, change language to English, hack the demo version to be not a demo and run from HD, then open up a port through router to this box and bingo, a 6880 groupware server that can contain all relevant documents in one db, run mail for the top level management….aaah well. I think I can put this on my wish list

along with my MythTV project.


Well that should be my last attemp at a remote shared hosting groupware server. The complications on setup, permissions and paths to mySQL etc are out of my reach at the moment. It does look like it will end up as using a free service or a home based setup. Neither are ideal, but if I look at the bright side the concept an search to do it has led me to a sought after domain name, a concept to use it and the host to do it.


The Groupware project is not quite abandoned, part of me is determined to see a successful conclusion to this, like it’s gotta work for the sake of the group and the project. Dispersed locations are no good, but this way information and material could be at anyone’s fingertips. Right now its watch this space, I WANT the thing to work, so I will MAKE it work. Somehow.

Last weekends York event was apparently useful, I’m due to make my appearance tomorrow with Will, and cart the thing home again. Long day, hope its worth it. The donations box at Llan took in £46.00+ over 3 days, puts York’s collection to shame. Seems like its useful, and sets me off on ways to get sites or events to self communicate with as little human input as possible.

The famous, or even infamous Business Plan has now had its deadline set back by as much as 2 weeks. We will be able to get next weekends Barry event out of the way and then some. So I suppose this means it will have to be even more polished..

The girls on our host stand at York have invited us to the Dorset Steam Fair, again on their backs, looks interesting, and I’d like to attend. 1st weekend in Sept.OK so this will need confirmation with our group, and Mortons, but I think it could be worth it.

More options?


Looked for several more options on Groupware. The egroupware setup is good, a few little bugs, but is not suitable for my user base. Another option is to look at More.groupware. Clean, simple and hopefully ok on remote server. I’ve ruled out Mambo until the site(s) are up and running. If this don’t work I’m left with 2 options:

*Yahoo groups or similar.

*Open up my own server through firewall.

I want it to work I can tell you…


Ordered a colour ink cart refill kit. Why is ink so expensive? Refilling my own seems the best way, but this has not always been successful. Even buying reman carts has not always been successful, some of them have just not worked, again the problem is the grief and time trying to source problem before you realise your shiny new cart is empty/broken or just plain crap.


Moregroupware loaded up. Simple to look at, not as good as Group Office to use. Oh, files won’t work. Got me another project on the go in the end. Build the damn thing at home.

Dead Duck?


I’m thinking this groupware project is a dead duck. It should work fine on a remote host, it did on my plus net space, but IMAP emails dropped out, then an upgrade dropped the ability to post new items. Worked ok on my 6880 space, but that is limited on storage and has to be kept free for the main site. On the new host no, I get problems with it locking files to server. Egroupware

is big, buggy and complicated, moregroupware is working fine on GW space, but will not post files and does not have the simplicity of Group office. Opengroupware looks promising, but is complex, and the install on a live CD is no more than a demo, and my laptop rejected it when I tried.


Laptop rejected it cos laptop has rejected entire cd drive. I would be really concerned about this but I do remember it doing it once before, that time I had to strip the damn thing down to find problem. This time I may only have to strip it down to cure it.

Not more work please….


Ahh not too bad, you only have to push the drive housing back into place, and reboot. Saved some effort there.

Mikes shiny new Dell is a good piece of kit. Impressive build quality for a sub £500 package. Ok so not state of art, but built to business class. Data transferred, just waiting to find out how much he wants me to reinstall.



Few days, but not without action….

Principally bloody Group-Office. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a bloody good program, but is possibly not designed for hosting on a shared server basis.

OK, so I installed it and finally got it running on PlusNet. Got some docs up, and away we went. Got Q into the idea too.

Now comes the latest upgrade, shouldn’t have bothered, but summary module now on free version, like that. Upgrade goes well, tempted by mail but it had run into problems earlier.

Thursday morning, go in to post new info. Can’t. Error…

Can’t post new summary item, calendar item or todo. Can move files about. Damn.

Backed up that night and cleared it off server, went for new install. Permissions error, need to change owner. Can’t, its FTP, cannot find info on changing owner via FTP.

Put 2.04 version back on. Works, but db errors, not designed to retro install. In the meantime I’m trying the same thing on 6880 space, although I don’t want to use this as limited on usable space/bandwidth, and I want to reserve this for 6880 site proper.

OK, spend a whole lot of surftime on finding a new host, cheap + features. Now that’s a minefield all on its own. There are a few good expensive UK based ones, even fewer cheaper ones. I avoided the best known cheapies, and researched a few others. I have eventually used Transnexis, US hosted, cheap and with loads of extras. Cheap was the springboard, the extras pushing it


E-mail in, and hosting ready to go within 1 hour on a Saturday, things are looking OK. Upload Group Office, and bang hit the wall.

Is it settings? or is it host? Minefield to trawl through. Cannot access the module for install, hours of buggering about with settings on the FTP programs, tried both Linux boxes and Windows. Got to the point of getting ready to call in support, when, duh, I twig what I’ve done, and why its not working, and why i had problems before too.


I unzipped the file on the laptop to the server, this gives read only permissions, when you upload from the server this is preserved, so won’t execute in the browser from the host.

Upload with full permissions is underway….


Yet another reload attempt underway. Screwed up the first with permission problems, sorted, then a MySql login problem.WTF, you can’t easily go back and change anything, suppose you can hack a setting, but I just need it up and running, quick.

Here goes again…


Nah. Balls to it.

Set it 100per cent according to instructions, goes in OK, after I get the server guy at www.transnexis.com to manually change 1 file that it sets as read only to another user, fine, but then it sets new users, and I presume anything they write, to the same system user. OK, dump it.

So I did and now I’m back on the hunt for alternatives. Do I find a couple of Mambo plugins and work it from there, or look at alternatives like eGroupware which again looks like a pig to install.

Cable sparks

Oh well, no tech is perfect, but I lost a couple of blogs in a Palm reset. Hardware, and not Palms fault. The after market sync cable I use to get it to talk to the laptop, and charge, can spark it out. Time for a new one. Data is to critical to risk loosing it like that.
After 2 days of trying, and a whole pile of hassle with ftp failures, disconnects and getting angry, I’ve got a Group Office app working. Its not got quite what I wanted, the file sharing is still not working because of a user Id. OK so it leaves 2 options,
1 – Try PlusNet again.
2 – Setup own machine and punch a hole through firewall. This is the only method I can think of that will work 100, when configured.
Going to go as 1-2. Loaded up on Plus Net, going to go through config now.
Success. Well this weekend needed some.

Loaded up on PlusNet, everything works as I wanted it to. Done the basic configs, uploaded a few bits and sent out the Board invites.

Let’s see how much use it becomes…

Now just to tidy the 6880 site up and prepare for uploading Mambo…

Is this what I’m looking for?



Just what I’ve been looking for to help tie up the 6880 project, a virtual office for all. Yet another case where an open source product can beat vastly more expensive commercial product.

Its uploading as I type, although CuteFTP is bugging the hell out of me with failed transfers and taking forever to upload. Then its config time.

Should be fun, things usually break when you get that far, something is bound to be mis-configured somewhere, and docs on this project are like rocking horse poop….

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