Integration of libre software applications to create a collaborative work platform for researchers at GET (preview)


Olivier Berger, Christian Bac and Benoît Hamet


Libre software provides powerful applications ready to be integrated for the build-up of platforms for internal use in organizations. We describe the architecture of the collaborative work platform which we have integrated, designed for researchers at GET. We present the elements we have learned during this project in particular with respect to contribution to external libre projects, in order to better ensure the maintainability of the internal applications, and to phpGroupware as a framework for specific applications development.

Keywords.  Free software, Libre software, Open Source software, in-house applications, collaborative work environment, groupware, phpGroupware, wiki, TWiki, Sympa, WebDAV, OpenLDAP, contribution, ProGET, PicoLibre

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Research at GET

ProGET integrated platform for collaborative work

Groupware tools for researchers/teachers

Tools for the Research Office

Public Web portal

Previous work with libre software collaboration tools

Structure of the platform

Integration principles

Integrated libre software high-level applications

Researchers/teachers virtual desktop in phpGroupware

Project documents repository accessible through WebDAV

Project's Wiki

Project dedicated Web sites

GET research projects administrative management module

Data partition

Modification and customisation efforts

Strategy for contribution

Benefits of libre software for their integration in in-house applications

Maintainability of in-house specific developments

Strategy adopted

First outcomes and prospects

Conformance to requirements

Evolution towards other collaborative activities

Constraints for administration

PhpGroupware for the development of custom applications


Although it may be enhanced on numerous aspects, the ProGET platform delivers a range of features without competition in existing libre software collaborative work platforms, for a modest development cost.

There are strong needs in higher-grade research and teaching institutions for tools supporting collaborative work. ProGET can then constitute a reference point for organizations wishing to integrate, for their custom needs, existing libre software applications for collaborative work.

Even if a policy is adopted for the contribution to the libre software projects used, in order to lower certain maintainance costs, the generalization of the use of the present platform at GET and the future developments necessary to enhance it will only be possible through a substantial investment, which may be far more important than what was spent for the first initial developments.

One possibility for the reduction of these costs could be the mutualization of the development between several organizations. It could be articulated around the industrialization as well-packaged libre software programs of the most generic elements of ProGET, leading the way to a new generation PicoLibre platform.


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[sympa] URL : Sympa project website,
[twiki] URL : TWiki project website,
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