Cooking with Linux - The Customer Is Always Served

Sometimes it takes more than wine to keep customers happy. Keep track of your customers' needs, including pre-sales information, support and meetings.

This step creates a directory called egroupware. Change the permissions on this directory tree like this:

chown -R apache.apache egroupware

Assuming a PostgreSQL installation, your next step is to create a PostgreSQL user to access the database. Do this by switching to your postgres user:

$ su - postgres
$ createuser egroupware
Shall the new user be allowed to create
databases? (y/n) y
Shall the new user be allowed to create more new
users? (y/n) n
CREATE USER

When asked whether this user is allowed to create other databases, say yes. When asked whether this user can create other users, choose no. All that's left to do is create a database for eGroupWare. Still logged in as the postgres user, type the following:

$ createdb -U egroupware egroupware_db
CREATE DATABASE

If you don't like the idea of calling it egroupware, you could use basically any name you want for the database or modify the name slightly, as I did above. After this, you are done with the command-line work, so fire up your browser and finalize eGroupWare's settings. Open up Mozilla, Konqueror or any JavaScript-enabled browser and point your Web server to http://yourwebserver/egroupware/setup.

On this screen, enter the relevant information for your setup to create your header configuration file (header.inc.php). If you changed your DB user from egroupware to something else, make sure you identify it here. The same holds true for the database name. You also should assign a header password and an administration password. The header password lets you modify or recreate the configuration file you are building now.

When you are finished, you are taken to the setup/header login screen. You already have created the header file, so chances are you do not wish to do it all over again, non? Your concern now is the actual eGroupWare setup. Before we move to this step, I have noticed that many of you have emptied your glasses. François, if you would kindly do the honor of refilling them—merci.

Once you have logged in using the admin password, the setup checks to see if your database has been created properly and if the appropriate user ID defined in the header creation step is used. If everything has gone well up to this point, you should be at Step 1 of the local configuration. Click Install to create the application tables and install the eGroupWare suite of applications. The system chugs along for a couple of minutes while it does this.

When everything has been completed, check the browser's screen to make sure no error messages have been reported, and click the Recheck my Installation button. If all has gone well, you can go on to Step 2 and create your admin account. The option also exists to create three demo accounts, but you do not have to do this. Step 3 lets you define the default language to be used, and Step 4 is for individual application management. From this dialogue, you can specify whether you want all the applications (this is the default) or only some of them. When you log out from here, your installation is complete.

Now it's time to start doing things with eGroupWare; begin by logging in with your admin account. This most likely means pointing your browser to http://your.server.dom/egroupware. Along the top of the screen, you should see a number of icons representing the various groupware services. To the left, menus appear based on the functions of the current application, although a smaller menu with Home, Preferences, About and Logout always is there. The look and feel can be modified to suit your personal tastes by clicking Preferences and making adjustments.

If you are the administrator, you can make changes for the entire organization. You even can force some defaults and prevent users from changing them, a useful feature for the corporate administrator. User accounts can be created with predefined applications delivered to their specific login based on groups. For instance, the support group may need access to the trouble ticket system (Figure 4). Using this group-based approach provides a consistent set of tools for your users. Create your groups first, decide what applications they need to access and create your users based on those groups.

Figure 4. Entering a Trouble Ticket in eGroupWare

In terms of the future and ongoing support, eGroupWare has an active community of users and developers. Several mailing lists and an IRC channel are available, should you find yourself needing answers to your questions.

Mon Dieu! We are running out of time once again. Space and time do not permit me to cover anything else in detail today, but many excellent packages out there are worthy of your consideration. Although we all enjoy cooking with Linux, I humbly suggest that our customer/restaurateur relationship needs no software to manage it. Instead, I shall continue providing you comfortable chairs at your favorite table, and François shall keep your glasses filled. Sometimes, simpler is better. François, if you would do the honors, please. Until next time, mes amis, let us all drink to one another's health. A votre santé Bon appétit!

______________________

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Re: Cooking with Linux: The Customer Is Always Served

Anonymous's picture

Interesting article, I wonder how this compares to OpenGroupware.org, which also seems to have quite a lot CRM like functionality and seems to be pretty mature in general.

OGo & CRM

whitemice's picture

OpenGroupware.org (OGo) works very well as a CRM platform; I've been involved in building a commercial CRM on top of OpenGroupware. In general CRM is just a few degrees from traditional enterprise groupware: contact management, scheduling, and workflow. It makes sense to build CRM on top of groupware as then you also get integration with all of the companies internal operations as well - non-front-line sales people have valuable contributions to make to CRM as well.

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Customer Is Always Served

Anonymous's picture

egroupware is a fork of phpgroupware; this is described somehwere
in the docu. And there are *phpgw* all over the place in the source
code and database table names. The reason for the fork are unclear
to me, it all looks a bit silly. Having said that, egroupware looks slightly
better and more active (at least for the moment)

Philip

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