Brava! Alfresco Labs 3 is striving to be a viable open source alternative to Microsoft's SharePoint MOSS enterprise content management offering.
As of today, Alfresco Labs v3 — the application formerly known as Alfresco Community — offers potential SharePoint customers a different option, providing them with what they claim is the first fully-compatible open source SharePoint repository.
Prior to today's announcement, CMSWire had the opportunity to speak with Alfresco's CTO, John Newton, about this new offering. According to Newton, “everything you can do with SharePoint, you can now do with Alfresco.”
That's a tall order, we'd say.
But if in fact true, this seems like a dream come true for those in the open source community that are demanding an open, yet compatible alternative to Microsoft's flagship collaboration product.
With Alfresco Labs 3, companies can leverage existing investments in Linux, Java and .NET to significantly reduce their SharePoint total cost of ownership and maximize their hardware and software investments.
The key word is alternative as Alfresco acknowledges the need to blend enterprise content management with a more dynamic social software platform.
Born from Alfresco's original vision to surpass the existing functionality of SharePoint, Alfresco Labs 3 was developed over the course of a year. Newton says that Alfresco benefited from documentation of SharePoint protocols and as such is the “first enterprise content management system to emulate them.”
An Open Source Alternative
Providing an open source alternative with SharePoint compatibility not only beats other vendors to the punch, but subsequently lowers the substantial costs to IT departments.
With both an easy-to-use interface and a web infrastructure compatible with AJAX and built upon a RESTful architecture, Alfresco Labs 3 reduces the need for additional training for front-end users as well as for IT staff — no client installation is required.
In addition, Newton boasts its scalable assets, which can allow up to 100 million documents for indexing — that's 50 million more that SharePoint allows.
As Alfresco ventures deeper into the realm of social computing, Newton says that the new web framework offers the opportunity to create new collaboration applications and the ability to “componentize the user interface”. With more than 80 million SharePoint users, and approximately 40 million users engaged in open source, Alfresco's timely alternative is sure to garner attention and usage quickly.
Alfresco will provide Labs 3 as a community release for current and new customers soon. It will also be available as an add-on module for May's 2.2 update.
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