July 19, 2009

Set Up A Home Email, Calendar, and Contacts Server With Citadel

I had a pretty big problem in my home. I had four different computers, each with its own address book, calendar, and email client. Each computer had some of my information, but I could not access the information on any particular computer from the other ones. What I needed was a centralized solution that would allow me to access the same information from every computer in the house.  I did not want to pay hundreds of dollars for Microsoft Exchange, so I knew that I was primarily looking for an open source solution. That's when I found Citadel. My total cost to deploy a Citadel solution was $75.


The first step was to set up a dedicated server computer on which to install Citadel. I looked on Ebay and I found a non-profit church in Texas that was selling old computers to raise money. I ended up getting a Dell Optiplex GX150 for $50. I upgraded the RAM and bought a surge protector for another $25, bringing my total cost to $75. I downloaded and installed Centos 5.3 for free. (Centos 5.3 is a free clone of Redhat Enterprise 5.3.) The computer system booted perfectly and ran like a champ. I then headed to citadel.og and installed the latest version of Citadel using the Easy Install option. The whole installation took less than 20 minutes. Once installed, I was able to access Citadel from any computer in my home using a web browser. I can now enter, edit, and view my contacts and calendars from any computer in my home. My next step is going to be  to see if I can set up a Citadel server for some of my local businesses. 

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