WikiSuite, one "Open Source Software Suite" to manage your information and communicationsAuthor: Bernard Sfez -
WikiSuite (in one word) is a complete Free Open Source software and tools collection integrated into a Suite. There is no short way to say it but let's start with headers: Serve, Protect, Manage, Communicate, Share and Publish your organization's data using well-reputed software and tools assembled for that purpose. Yes it does all that and frankly, after years of trying to find one tool to fit the small/medium business common needs without investing in licences and IT team to setup, support and maintain their computerized system it looks like a seriously valid option. Most of the time, organizations or businesses have a different purpose than managing servers, databases, teams, emails, social networks and security but they need to use, share and manipulate data to achieve their everyday goals. WikiSuite is a good candidate to help you lower the resources (budget and staff) as well as security and privacy stress (you are in control) without scarifying the quality of the tools your organization is working with and yes it competes in several sectors directly with Office 365 or Google Apps for Work.
WikiSuite mission: "Empower organizations to better manage, control and use their information, to become data-driven, and achieve their optimal performance."
How does it happen and on what/whom it relies ?
Robust and reputation well-proven applications have been selected with a first filter; They have to be Free Open Source software. That means that the licence will cost your non-commercial organization nothing to start with. True according to your organization purposes, if you want costly options (like preinstalled ClearOS on your own server) or if you want professional support you may be required to upgrade to a premium version and/or pay a yearly subscription. But these are case-by-case questions that you’ll have to look for once you are sure you want to go the WikiSuite way.
What is in the "box" ?
- ClearOS an operating system for your Server, Network, and Gateway systems. It is designed for homes, small to medium businesses, and distributed environments. ClearOS is known as the Next Generation Small Business Server including indispensable Gateway and Networking functionality. It delivers a powerful IT solution with an elegant user interface completely web-based and so accessible from any device.
- Once installed (through guided step-by-step process), it offers full web-interface that may require a bit of knowledge (you want to know what to install) but not real IT Admin experience and no skilled employee you have to keep in house.
- It installs core web, email, data, user management components and though a Marketplace you can add essential or additional add ons. It includes essential intrusion protection, bridge and back up tools.
- Kolab (using Roundcube) an open source groupware server and client, a solution for Email communications, Events & Appointments, Contacts and more. It supports mixed client environments because of an open storage format, and the use of well-established, standard protocols such as IMAP and SMTP. The webmail component used in WikiSuite is well-known Roundcube.
- It is embedded and managed using elegant web interfaces with all the regular features you use every day, a near drop-in replacement for Microsoft Exchange Server or Gmail.
- Beside simplicity and user-friendly interfaces, it is focused on security, scalability, data ownership (aka privacy).
- Tiki Wiki a web application combining the features of a Wiki, a content management system (CMS) and a groupware. It is the free/libre and open source (FLOSS) web application with the most built-in features. It can be used to build all sorts of web applications: simple sites, complex portals, knowledge bases, intranets, extranets, etc.
- It offers out of the box dozens of useful common features that work after quick setting using an user friendly Wizard.
- It is fully customizable, a kind of big Lego box ready for you to assemble your own web application.
- It relies on its own plugins and add-ons (community effort) to avoid third party issues.
- Elasticsearch a free and open source search server based on the Lucene software library. It provides a distributed, multitenant-capable full-text search engine with a RESTful web interface and schema-free JSON documents. WikiSuite includes a related project named Kibana that permits visualizations to add graphical display to better understand large volumes of data, easily create charts, line and scatter plots, histograms, pie charts, and maps.
- Elasticsearch is the actual top search and analyze data in real time component over Apache Lucene.
- Powerful, developer-friendly query API supports multilingual search, geolocation, contextual did-you-mean suggestions, autocomplete, and result snippets.
- It integrates natively with Tiki Wiki (as well as dozens of major web applications) and offers a completely stable, a fast environment to distribute and search your data and information.
- FusionPBX a free and open source graphical user interface for FreeSWITCH. It can be used as a high-availability single or domain-based multi-tenant PBX, carrier-grade switch, call centre servers, fax servers, voice-over-ip servers, voicemail servers, conference servers, voice application servers, appliance framework and more. FreeSWITCH is a scalable open source cross-platform telephony platform designed to route and interconnect popular communication protocols using audio, video, text or any other form of media.
- You can control, protect and archive all the communications from or to your organization simply (call recording, live redirection of calls).
- It interacts with other WikiSuite components.
- It is expandable to develop as many telephony applications with a wide range of free tools.
- Openfire Meetings a real-time communication server implementing the XMPP and WebRTC protocols with a SIP gateway. It offers a very large number of features and a great admin panel and source code is available under the Apache 2.0 licence. It includes Jitsi Meet.
- Offers anything a modern real time meeting should; recording, PDF presentations, collaborative drawing (whiteboard), etc.
- Powerful and easy to configure using a web interface.
- You can own your own private or public meeting system.
- Syncthing replaces proprietary sync and cloud services with something open, trustworthy and decentralized. Your data is your data alone and you deserve to choose where it is stored, if it is shared with some third party and how it's transmitted over the Internet.
- Collaborating teams are working on the same document shared with everyone without hassle and supervision.
- Piwik leading and open source analytics platform. It is the primary alternative to Google Analytics and is focused on data ownership and user privacy protection. It is customizable, extensible through plugins and themes, and scalable for high-traffic websites.
- Track Key Performance Indicators such as visits, goal conversion rates, downloads, keywords and many more.
- Expandable by adding new plugins from the Piwik Marketplace.
- It integrates natively with Tiki Wiki.
- Kaltura a free and open source online video platform, providing both enterprise level commercial software and services, fully supported and maintained by Kaltura, as well as a free open-source community supported solutions, for video publishing, management, syndication and monetization.
- Controls and manages your media (video and audio) through web interfaces.
- It integrates natively with Tiki Wiki.
- Xibo a complete digital signage solution comprised of a web-based Content management system (CMS) and choice of Windows or Android signage players.
- Digital signage is critical to protect data and information through web services as well as assure their integrity.
- Kimchi KVM an HTML5 based management tool for the KVM virtualization infrastructure. It is designed to make it as easy as possible to get started with KVM and create your first guest.
- KeePass a free open source password manager, which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish).
That’s a lot !
And I haven't worked with everything yet.
It is to be considered too, you don’t have to install and learn or deal with everything, with the things you don’t need right away.
First things first, I needed a server and following instructions I was able to install it, set up security and firewall, block repeated intrusion attempts, setup users and groups (LDAP), mysql and php, files management, Apache server, setup automatic backup and archiving, setup a Tiki website, publish, etc... Without getting too deep, I delivered my customer total control over his server, published website, shared mail and calendar system, private and customized private analytic (I set a second server for Piwik so external server is collecting and analyzing the master information) and few more. It took less than a weekto set it all up, including my own tests, learning and having it available online and delivered.
We are presently improving the Suite and we use the meeting system (that will rapidly extend to be used within the different branches of the organization), Syncthing to extend data over the different people involved in the project and KeePass to store and protect passwords and credentials. Video management is under way too.
WikiSuite fulfils its promises and it has been listed on Prism-Break in the new Enterprise Suite category.
I will update as soon as other tools are tested and used in real-life projects. But you can already have a look and read about it.
To be continued...