A change over to freely available applications may lead to substantial cost reductions for small and medium-sized entities (SMEs), given that license fees would no longer be applicable. Linux-based applications are an interesting alternative to the dominating messaging groupware solutions such as Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes. A by Berlecon Research demonstrates that many well-established email, calendar, contact and messaging solutions in the German market are already open source.
Analysts distinguish between open source projects generating independent solutions and solutions based upon an open source infrastructure which are explicitly intended as alternatives to established applications.
The open source-based version attracts potential customers by featuring low license and maintenance costs while offering extremely easy integration of open source formats and protocols. For SMEs using Linux servers solutions based upon Linux are particularly suitable. However, it is very important to have a homogeneous IT infrastructure in order to minimize as much as possible costs due to installation, operation, maintenance and training.
Adequate open source solutions are available for free-of-charge download in the internet. However, quite often they come with the disadvantage of not being fully compatible with outlook clients being predominant in the market. Yet, there are solutions to this kind of problems which are described in the mentioned report.