The Citadel Groupware Server

Microsoft Exchange, Meet Your Replacement

Setting up Kontact's Contacts (say that five times fast) is much the same as setting up KCalendar. Click the Contacts icon in the left-side pane. At the bottom of the middle column is a pane labeled Address Books. The right-click trick doesn't work here, so click the Add button instead. Select the same GroupDAV Server option, and fill in all the same data that you filled in for the KCalendar setup. Click the Refresh Folder List button, use the right-click-to-enable trick, and you're off to the races (Figure 8).

Figure 8. GroupDAV Settings in Kontact

As with KCalendar, once you've set up your GroupDAV connector, you can now manage your contact data from either KDE or WebCit (Figure 9).

Figure 9. Citadel and Kontact Accessing the Same Data

Tasks and the Journal are just plain-old work once KCalendar is set up. They don't require any of their own setup.

A lot of other clients support the GroupDAV protocol to varying degrees. Any of these can be used in place of Kontact, albeit likely with less functionality. For a complete list of clients and the status of their GroupDAV support, go to the GroupDAV site (

GroupDAV isn't the only technology that can be used with Citadel. WebDAV and Webcal can be used with clients, such as Mozilla Sunbird and Evolution, to share calendars and schedule events. There is also a Microsoft Outlook connector in the works, but at the moment, Outlook can be used to access only POP/IMAP e-mail and IMAP folders. As time marches on, more and more clients that support GroupDAV and WebDAV come onto the scene. The Citadel FAQ contains a maintained list of clients and how to configure them.

Although a few groupware projects are underway that can give Microsoft Exchange a run for its money, we've found that Citadel is quite simply the easiest to install and maintain. The hardest part of a Citadel install is waiting for all the components to download. Citadel is under active development, and by the time this article prints, a new version may be out. The lead developer, Art Cancro, can be found in the Citadel support on the UNCENSORED! BBS forums (, along with other Citadel developers and experienced users.

Jon Watson ( is a Canadian GNU/Linux enthusiast who regularly contributes articles to the Linux community. When not writing, blogging and podcasting about free and open-source software, Jon frequently can be found in his office polishing his Linux+ certification, which impresses no one but himself.



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Anonymous's picture

Just tried out Citadel and I am AMAZED! When they say "Easy Install" they MEAN it! Up and running in about ten minutes. These guys have got it together.

I remember Citadel from its BBS days

Sum Yung Gai's picture

Man, we're going way back now, aren't we? I remember using Citadel and Stonehenge BBS's back in the 1980's. I just got through visiting the current Citadel Web site, and for those like me who remember the original Citadel BBS, prepare to be amazed.

But for this article, I wouldn't have known that Citadel was still alive in *any* form, and I certainly had no idea in the world that it had evolved into a full-blown MS Exchange groupware replacement!

This is something worth downloading and trying out. I used to be a MS Exchange admin before I joined the Free Software movement, and I'm definitely looking forward to trying out this new Citadel. It had a well-deserved good reputation back in the BBS days. I can hardly wait to try out its groupware features of today!

More than just a BBS

c.s.'s picture

Citadel's history as a BBS platform, combined with the fact that the Citadel developers have made an effort to try to change the way you think about groupware, leads some people to believe that the modern Citadel system is really nothing more than an overgrown BBS. But to think that way really does not give due credit to the extremely powerful capabilities of this platform.

Citadel is truly innovative -- it doesn't just try to be a feature-for-feature clone of Microsoft Exchange. The whole concept behind its design is that many of the concepts and style of user interaction that we became familiar with in the BBS world are actually quite useful in a conventional groupware scenario as well.

Using it now

riley's picture

Very true. We moved our mail server (approximately 100 users, previously running Microsoft Exchange) to Citadel, and not only does it perform flawlessly, but it really does change the way you think about groupware. Everyone else is trying to clone "Microsoft's way" but you know what, Microsoft's way is stupid. Citadel's approach is some fresh new thinking.

not only that, the community

Anonymous's picture

not only that, the community is EXTREMELY active.

just joing the mailing list to see.