Monday, June 17, 2024

Best Open Source Intranet Solutions

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There’s a lot of benefits to having your local communications within the confines of your office Intranet. When it comes to keeping content and communications local, there are a number of decent Linux Intranet friendly solutions to serve content to those on your network.

Wiki Intranet solutions

When it comes down to simply distributing text content to those connected to your Intranet, it’s tough to beat the simplicity and effectiveness of a wiki.

TWiki – While it might not feel as fancy as other full service Intranet products available, TWiki is a fully functional open source Intranet portal. Some of its core functionality includes:

  • An online collaboration platform that allows teams to work together from almost anywhere.
  • Project development tracking and reports.
  • A version-friendly document control system.
  • Rich text editor for users/admins.
  • Fully customizable themes and overall feel.
  • Extensions, variables and structured content put you firmly into the driver’s seat.

TWiki is best suited as an Intranet portal for those looking to host critical documentation that requires a lot of collaboration. Some companies use it for documentation while others rely on it for idea sharing. As a collaboration tool, TWiki is a fantastic option if you want something that is highly customizable while still offering a lower barrier to entry.

DokuWiki – Plaintext, no databases and low overhead on your network – this is what DokuWiki brings to the table. DokuWiki is best suited for organizations needing a simple, yet extensible wiki environment to manage important documentation.

Some of its core functionality includes:

  • Easy to install – no databases or other related hassles.
  • A clean, consistent environment for document creation and editing.
  • Fantastic revision handling and automatic services like “future page links” for content not yet created.

DokuWiki is ideal for anyone needing a strong documentation platform for their company, yet would rather rely on the plugin system to add-on additional functionality vs having a ton of bloat by default.

TiddlyWiki – If the idea of using a PHP-driven Wiki solution for your Intranet makes you cringe, relax – there’s a great alternative using javascript called TiddlyWiki. Now the first thing you need to know is this isn’t as robust as the other Wiki options above. At its core, it’s basically a place to store complex information. I believe this is best suited for smaller workgroups needing to get their thoughts into something better organized than a ton of stickie notes pasted around the office. What it lacks in its collaboration abilities it more than makes up for in its “Get stuff done” approach to content handling.

Some of its core functionality includes much of the same functionality found with DokuWiki, minus the PHP and collaboration option.

Social Collaboration Intranet solutions

Sometimes a simple wiki solution isn’t enough. To address this, the following section will cover portal solutions that go beyond mere documentation management.

eXo Platform – One of the nice things about eXo is it provides a rich out of the box user experience for those looking to build up their Intranet environment. This is a collaboration tool that also provides users with document management, forums, shared calendars and shared tasks.

Some of its core functionality includes:

  • Collaborative workspaces designed to group users into relevant teams.
  • The collaborative workspaces also provided team-only access to discuss items of the day, sharing documents, run video conferences, while keeping the interactions team-centric instead of being company-wide.
  • Wiki functionality is also provided with eXo. This allows for documentation building for your teams and company.

Unlike the standalone Wiki options from the first part of this article, eXo is a full employee portal for your Intranet that embraces social interaction with security. – If you’re finding that eXo isn’t for you, then I’d suggest looking into as a solid alternative. I might even go so far as to say it’s perhaps a bit more robust out of the box. Not only does provide document management, collaboration and highly targeted internal communication – there are other important features to consider.

  • File repositories are available for sharing documents with your co-workers.
  • Internal blogging is just a few clicks away with blogging feature.
  • Media galleries that go beyond mere images. You can also create galleries for audio and video.
  • Filtering, sorting and logging – if you need to get the most from your user data, can help.
  • Notifications, RSS, tagging and content relationships.
  • Mindmap based sitemaps. Dynamic sitemaps are created as content and interactions are created automatically. offers just about anything you can think of to keep your Intranet content and communication exchanges humming along.

Open Atrium – If you are familiar with Drupal, then Open Atrium is going to feel very familiar to you. Open Atrium is robust enough that it feels like Drupal outright. Instead, its focus is to ensure that your ability to create, edit and distribute documentation throughout your company is made easy.

Some of its core functionality includes:

  • Drag and Drop file uploading.
  • Easy content archiving.
  • Draft to publishing workflow that provides ample opportunity to maximize your content flow.
  • Focuses on building an Intranet site that is simple or multifaceted.

At the end of the day, this is a Drupal-based release. So the focus is basically on content creation and long-term content management. If this is a focus for your company, then this might just be the solution for you.

Intranet collaboration, communication and document management

Every company out there has different needs. Your company may need a whole suite of stuff ranging from communication to collaboration. Others, however, might just need a means of exchanging and managing their document flow. No matter your need, odds are there is a solution above that will help you to get the job done.

Why not feature closed source alternatives? Simple – because locking your company into a proprietary solution is asking for future headaches. Support evolves, companies disappear, or perhaps your proprietary option simply decides to force existing users to upgrade to an expensive alternative. No matter how you slice it, open source wins in this space. Fact is, you’re free to export your data to an alternative or pay a consultant to take it up if a project you rely on folds up shop. Even if that’s just keeping an existing release patched and secure.

What say you? What open source solutions do you use for your Intranet? Also, what’s the biggest focus for your company – communication, content management or project groups? Hit the comments and tell me about it.

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