Kopano Groupware – an open source productivity suite

Group Dynamics

Installing Kopano Meet

Meet can be installed as a container or appliance (Listing 10). Packages for a separate installation were only available for Ubuntu, Debian, and the Univention Server at the editorial deadline (July 2020).

Listing 10

Installing Kopano Meet

$ sudo su
# URL=https://serial:<I>License_Key<I>@download.kopano.io/supported/meet:/final/Ubuntu_18.04/
# echo "deb $URL /">> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kopano-meet.list
# curl $URL/Release.key | apt-key add -
# apt update
# apt install kopano-meet-packages
# exit
### Alternative
$ sudo apt install kopano-meet kopano-kapid kopano-grapi-bin kopano-kwmserverd

Initially, Kopano delivers and installs the webmeetings package (the Meet predecessor) together with the WebApp packages, causing some confusion. The WebMeetings project is no longer developing and has nothing to do with Meet.

In the lab setup for this article, my attempt to load the packages failed with a dependency error for kopano-grapi . This error can be avoided by entering kopano-grapi-bin (Listing 10, last line).

Setting Up Kopano Meet

To make Kopano Meet work, you first need to set up various other Kopano services that talk to each other over TLS connections.

Authentication and authorization for Meet is managed by kopano-konnectd with OpenID Connect. kopano-kapid and kopano-grapi enable data access to the Meet user's address book with a REST API. The service for establishing WebRTC connections is provided by kopano-kwmseverd.

For Konnect to handle logins, you have to configure the Kopano server by enabling the enable_sso setting in the /etc/kopano/server.cfg file. The table in Figure 6 summarizes the essential settings you should configure to enable interaction. Further information is provided in the installation instructions [18].

Figure 6: To operate Meet, you need to coordinate various Kopano services. The table lists all the important components.

Because the individual services communicate by HTTPS, Kopano has to both resolve the hostname for the local system and trust the SSL certificates used by the local system. The localhost hostname will not work. The groupware project therefore recommends kopano-webd for the web server, which is already preconfigured and automatically sets up TLS with Let's Encrypt. Listing 11 shows the essential settings.

Listing 11


# Valid domain name
Hostname = kopano.<Domain>
# Contact address for Let's Encrypt,
# When TLS certificates expire
tls_acme_email = <admin>@<Domain>
tls_acme_agree = yes
# Use existing certificate
tls_cert = </path_to_certificate>
tls_key = </path_to_certificate/key>
# Use as a reverse proxy for an
# existing web server. Automatically forwards
# /meet and /Microsoft Server ActiveSync
legacy_reverse_proxy =

In addition to the Kopano components, Kopano requires a TURN server to establish an initial connection between callers. If a direct connection fails, TURN also forwards communications between callers. The Kopano team recommends Coturn [19] as a popular open source solution and alternatively provides commercial Kopano customers with a hosted TURN server.

You need to store the shared secret of your TURN server in the /etc/kopano/kwmserverd-turnservice.secret file and then add it to /etc/kopano/kwmserverd.cfg (Listing 12). If all the components are plugged together correctly and the services are restarted, you should be able to call Meet with https://<My_Domain>/meet (Figure 7).

Listing 12

TURN Server Configuration

turn_uris = #turn:turnserver:443?transport=udp
turn_server_shared_secret = /etc/kopano/kwmserverd-turnservice.secret
Figure 7: Kopano Meet lets users run video conferences directly in the software.

Meet also allows guest users in conferences, which is particularly important if the company wants to work and hold regular meetings with external partners.

Kopano does impose a few configuration hurdles before you can offer unrestricted hospitality, though. You need to adapt Meet, the Connect service, and the Kopano Web Meetings Server (kwmserver ). These fairly extensive changes are described in the official documentation [20].

Kopano User Experience

Whether with WebApp in the browser or DeskApp on the desktop, the Kopano client works very smoothly, responds quickly, and offers sophisticated usability. In both client versions, you get a real desktop feeling.

The only drawback is the web interface, which is not responsive and therefore not optimized for mobile devices. Kopano continues the Zarafa philosophy into the present: Mobile devices should use the available native protocols for data synchronization to sync the end device and server, from CalDAV and CardDAV to IMAP and Z-Push.

This reasoning seems anachronistic, especially in view of the new Mattermost and Meet components, because they live by integration in WebApp; at the same time, they are very much aimed at mobile users, who are forced to use the respective programs as standalone variants on their mobile devices.

According to Kopano, however, improvements are in the cards. On the basis of Meet, a new generation of apps will be developed gradually to use calendars and email. With PWA technology, they will run flexibly on a variety of devices, including offline use. PWA already removes the need to install an app for Meet. Moreover, it is possible to switch seamlessly from one device to another within an ongoing session.

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