IT: Rainlendar

I work for a variety of small non-profits, organizations too small to afford a full time IT person. These sort of organizations generally don’t have a lot of money. Nonetheless, they sometimes need things that larger organizations need.

One example: a calendar sharing program. Once you get to a certain number of people, you just have to expect that you won’t be able to keep track of everybody’s schedule.

Not every office is going to be able to afford (for example) Microsoft Exchange. Nonetheless, pretty much every office is a candidate for Exchange because Outlook comes with Microsoft Office. Unfortunately, Exchange isn’t made for a small office. If your office is going to get its email through another provider rather than having the IT person handle it, you probably don’t want to install Exchange just to handle the calendar. It really isn’t worth it.

The thing is, people in the office are probably already using Outlook’s calendar and most likely don’t want to learn a new one.

What’s interesting is that there are a number of open source Exchange replacements out there. I looked over a few of them. Unfortunately, the office that wants a shared calendar is an all Windows shop including the servers. There are good and bad reasons for this that I won’t get into, but, the upshot is that these Exchange replacements don’t run on windows. They’ll service Outlook clients, but the server won’t run on Windows.

Fortunately, Rainlender appears to be an open source calendar program that can synchronize with multiple clients, runs on windows, and reads a person’s Outlook files.

If it works, it could be exactly what’s needed. I’ll try it out next week, I think.

UPDATE: With a little more research it became obvious that that Rainlendar is really made to allow one person to synchronize multiple calendars as opposed to allowing an office to view each other’s calendars. Sigh… The search continues.

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