Alternative to Exchange: grammm brings Linux groupware

Grammm GmbH from Vienna has published an open source platform of the same name for corporate communication. grammm offers a digital workstation with interfaces to common proprietary and open source programs and is intended to bundle distributed communication channels. According to the provider, the platform is a data protection-compliant European alternative to proprietary software suites from other jurisdictions. It includes email, calendar, video conferencing, chat, data sharing, and built-in apps for communication and collaboration.

In their announcement, the Viennese emphasize that the software offers “the first fully functional OutlookAnywhere and MAPI / HTTP implementation”. Version 2021.02 should already be compatible with Microsoft Outlook and supports the Microsoft Exchange protocols, among other things. grammm with three “m” stands as an acronym for the company slogan “groupware and much, much more”. The software is now available as a free download, and up to five users can freely use the community version. The start-up offers larger groups a commercial edition with support.

The platform’s code base is written in C ++, its connected components support RPC (Remote Procedure Call) via the HTTP protocol as well as the central interfaces of common groupware: IMAP, POP3, SMTP, EAS (Exchange ActiveSync), EWS (Exchange Web Services), CalDAV and CardDAV.

grammm open source communication platform from Vienna, alternative to Microsoft Exchange - screenshot of the admin dashboard

In the cockpit: the admin interface of grammm (part of the software that is not visible in the public demo version)

(Image: grammm GmbH)

Thanks to the implementation of the native Exchange protocols, no plug-in is necessary for grammm, according to the provider: Microsoft Outlook “talks” to the software like an Exchange server from Microsoft. Details are available in the area of ​​architecture on the grammm website. Access via a web browser is also possible. According to the announcement, the platform will require around a fifth of the response time of comparable Microsoft Exchange environments in productive installations.

Users should be able to integrate grammm into their existing environments and use it directly with numerous clients: Microsoft Outlook, macOS and iOS, Mozilla Thunderbird, Android, grammm Web and Microsoft Windows Mail should be able to be combined as desired. Thanks to the Exchange cache mode, users can continue working offline, as soon as there is an internet connection again, the platform automatically synchronizes the data. grammm supports Exchange ActiveSync, which allows accounts to have cross-device access to their data and shared public folders.

grammm open source communication platform from Vienna, view of the user interface of the demo version with Exchange integration

User interface in the demo version: Microsoft Outlook “speaks” to grammm like an Exchange server.

(Image: grammm GmbH)

According to the company, user-related data is stored per user and always end-to-end encrypted. Users can determine the storage location for the communication data themselves: on their own server or with a hosting provider of their choice. On the There is a demo installation on the website of grammm: Interested parties should be able to access it via Outlook, Thunderbird, macOS Mail, mobile phone or in the browser without installing additional software. To try it out, you give the log-in data randomly generated on the website for the test access at the demo platform on.

grammm: Linux-based communication platform from Vienna, view of the webmail interface

Mail interface in the demo version of grammm with a randomly generated user profile

(Image: grammm GmbH)

According to the development team’s roadmap, the next release should appear in August 2021. Further support for Linux distributions is planned for this purpose, and native apps and an extension of the admin interface are also to be added.

If you are interested in alternatives to Microsoft Exchange, you can fall back on a number of paid and free alternatives. The repositories of gramm can be viewed on GitHub.

[Update-Hinweis vom 27.02.21: GitHub-Link ergänzt.]

More from iX magazine

More from iX magazine


To home page