We are excited to announce the immediate availability of Kolab 3.1. The highlights of this release are a new file cloud storage feature and CalDAV/CardDAV support for a great variety of devices, platforms and clients.
There are also improvements and automations for multi-domain hosted environments. Shared folders can now not only be created with the kolab command line utility, but also in the web administration interface.
The new 3.1 release is available for the reference platform RHEL or CentOS. And thanks to the new Open Build Service sponsored by Kolab Systems and SUSE, there is now also packages for Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu and openSUSE. But please note that these packages are still a work in progress and need some help from packagers for the various distributions.
Along with the new release, we also updated our old documentation at docs.kolab.org and replaced them with new more extensive documentation. If you want to install Kolab 3.1, please use the new installation guide there. If you are upgrading from Kolab 3.0, please make sure to read our documentation about the upgrade process.
Originally, we had planned to stick to a six month release cycle and we did release the alpha in time. But between the alpha and this release the world was faced with the PRISM disclosures which dramatically impacted the time of some of our core contributors thanks to their running MyKolab.com, the world's number one privacy asylum according to Techcrunch.
That delay also also has its upsides: There was a lot more time and literally many thousands of users making use of this technology so that we could not only skip the beta, we are also confident this is the best Kolab release of all times. We also prepared a screencast for you, so you can sit back and relax while watching what Kolab.org 3.1 has to offer.
File Cloud Storage
Chwala is the name of our file cloud module that runs deeply integrated into the Kolab web client or standalone. By default it supports an IMAP back end consistent with the rest of Kolab, but thanks to a clean API it is extremely easy to attach other storage options. When we say deep integration into the web client we mean that there is more than just access to files. You can attach files to emails right from the cloud without detour over your desktop, or store attachments you received by mail. This functionality is also provided in ways that make it extremely easy to embed into other web applications, the actual interface is provided by Chwala through any AJAX web application.
Also Chwala sorts your files automatically into Virtual Collections for better navigation, such as:
- Images / Pictures / Galleries
- Music / Videos / Media
and makes them available for synchronization and for local mounting via WebDAV. There is already support for in-line display in the browser for DOC, ODF and PDF documents as well as for media files such as music, pictures or videos. We also have in-line editing of text files and source code thanks to the powers of the Ace editor.
More is in the pipeline for Kolab.org 3.2 and we explicitly invite everyone interested to experiment with us. Kolab should be tinkered with, it is meant as a playground for great ideas – so tinker away!
New iRony: CalDAV and CardDAV
There is also more cross-platform support. Kolab.org 3.0 already brought you support for ActiveSync. through the Syncroton stack, a true vendor-independent Free Software implementation. Kolab 3.1 now also brings CalDAV and CardDAV support, which enables a whole host of platforms and applications, most importantly the Mac OS X native applications, but CalDAV also has many benefits on Android, for GNOME Evolution and others, including Microsoft Outlook.
Kolab is born free, it does not need to reinvent the wheel, or launch Kickstarter campaigns to buy its freedom. We stand on the shoulders of others just as we allow others to stand on ours. So we integrated SabreDAV, the de-facto standard for most DAV applications today, and provided the backend that would hook it up to a Kolab server. This new access layer that also takes care of canonification of data is called iRony, and the default URL in your Kolab.org server is:
Getting involved in Kolab development is now easier than ever and we plan to reduce the barrier even further. Translations are handled by Transifex, all our source is in git repositories and for packaging we now make use of the Open Build Service. This allows not only for easy nightly builds, but also enables everybody to sign up, clone a repository, fix a packaging bug and submit the patch back into the master branch.
Our active community member Timotheus Pokorra published a step by step guide about how to fix packaging issues using the Open Build Server. If you haven't done so already, check and his article and consider trying it out to fix one of the outstanding packaging issues for your distribution of choice.
Another way to contribute to the project, is to help us improving our documentation. We did our best to make contributing to documentation as easy as possible. We use a simple markup language instead of the complicated DocBook and we use github for now to manage the source code allowing for easy forking and issuing pull requests. So if you spot something that is no yet documented, or that needs improvements, please help yourself! ;)
As always, this release wouldn't have been possible without your support. Thanks for all your testing, issue reports, discussions and patches! This thank you goes to all community members on the mailing lists and in IRC. Special thanks also to Kolab Systems for contributing to Kolab every day, through all its activities. This is made possible by all the customers that choose to use the supported versions provided by Kolab Systems and work with us to keep the upstream healthy. Special thanks also goes to all the users of MyKolab.com, which are getting privacy while simultaneously supporting development so that there will one day be millions of Kolab servers providing secure collaboration services to everyone.