The InfoWorld Bossies are chosen annually by Test Center editors, analysts, and reviewers. The winners represent the best free and open source software we've used. Our choices in collaboration were spearheaded by contributing editor Mike Heck, with help from contributing editor Victor R. Garza.
Got an open source favorite we missed? Please send us a note.
You won’t find an open source version of MySpace, but even at the current .92 version, Elgg comes darn close. So why would you even want to create smaller communities? Simple: While Elgg lets corporations, governments, and schools quickly establish blogs, the system’s collaborative features encourage building communities of users with shared interests. Other Elgg fine points include podcast support, file repositories, user profiles, RSS aggregator, and branding features. Significantly, the software integrates with other IT systems and provides OpenID authentication. Developers can add specific functions using an open API.
The appeal of MediaWiki, the original application written for Wikipedia, goes far beyond the trademark look, navigation, and page editing – though there’s clearly value in using software that most users already know. Administrators should find MediaWiki simple to install, upgrade, and maintain. Customization is trivial using different skins or altering style sheers. Content contributors benefit from time-saving features, including automatic table of contents generation. And the system can do more by installing multimedia features and extensions; some of these let you write mathematical formulas or quickly build timelines.
Mail and Calendar
If you’re looking for an open alternative to Microsoft Exchange, Scalix just slightly edges Zimbra as a enterprise-class e-mail and group calendar solution (though we still feel Zimbra is more innovative). ‘Enterprise’ is the watchword here, since Scalix does a fine job using Linux clustering and failover features for maximum uptime. Scalix’s AJAX console makes administration a snap, while the included Scalix ActiveSync lets wireless devices connect directly to the server for push e-mail, contact, and calendar updates.