Teamdrive: the perfect OpenOffice collaboration software for Linux, Windows and Mac

26/09/2010 at 6:51 pm Plaats een reactie

Most Linux Desktop distributions are quite suitable as alternatives to Windows in the home office environment. However, when it comes to small or larger enterprise functionality as full Office and file sharing productivity  alternative, let’s face it: sharing documents, although it can be done, at least needs some kind of learning curve for most users, who are used to Office and Explorer on Windows. For instance: a Windows Office user is used to save files on network drives (F, G, and so forth…). Or, in an advanced environment, files are saved in some kind of Document Management database. With Linux, there is no such thing as a network drive named after a letter of the alphabet. Of course, you could trick a user by naming a remote mount point on the Linux Desktop “F Drive” or whatever, but that’s not enough. We need a fully working environment, allowing users to share data easily, to allow some level of access rights, and so forth. Ideally, we would need some kind of “Private File Sharing Space”, allowing Linux, Windows and Mac Desktops to share the same data anywhere, regardless of the Desktop operating system. If there were such a thing, it would allow Linux desktops like Ubuntu to integrate more easily in existing small and medium office environments, where Mac and Windows desktops are already in place.

For a long time, I have been looking for a good solution. Abiword, a very fine word processor, seemed promising: it has some collaboration option through a protocol called Jabber. But with such a solution we would only have the possibility of sharing Word processor files only, and not spreadsheet, database, Multimedia files, etcetera. For a good collaboration solution, there should be the possibility of sharing any kind of files through any desktop operating system.

Just recently, I really stumbled upon a piece of software that allows to share anything, virtually anywhere, and through any desktop operating system. The software is called TeamDrive. It allows secure sharing, versioning, change notification, commenting  and much more for files for Linux, Mac and Windows computers. And on top of that, it has a plugin for OpenOffice. In other words: with this software, you can work together on files, whether you work on a Linux, Windows or Mac machine – and if you use OpenOffice, you can work together on the same OpenOffice files, regardless of the question whether you use a Mac, a Linux or a Windows machine. Quote from: http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/project/TeamDrive: “TeamDrive becomes an OpenOffice.org alternative to Microsoft Groove/Sharepoint.”

TeamDrive is available in a free and a commercial version. Just have a look at the differences between the two on http://www.teamdrive.com. In this article, I will explain how to install the TeamDrive free Personal Edition on Ubuntu.

TeamDrive consists of a Server and of a Client part.

The server part

Let’s start with the server. First of all, download the free Server edition to the Ubuntu computer that you want to use as a Teamdrive server. Look for a package called TeamDrive Personal Server for Linux Debian. Download the software to your Ubuntu machine, Desktop or server version does not matter. Extract the file (at the time of this writing: TeamDrive-2.2.148-Linux-x86-Install_TMDR) to a location that will hold your TeamDrive shared space. Once extracted, you will find an installation manual in the extracted files. Just follow the installation steps of the manual (TeamDrivePersonalServerLinux_en.pdf). At the end of the (quite easy) procedure, you should have a working Personal TeamDrive server. The server software needs to be started manually at each restart of the Ubuntu machine. While in the tpds directory, type: ./tdpsd (enter). Yo can verify that the TDPS server is running by typing ./watch-tdps (in the same tdps directory).
OK, so now we have a working TeamDrive server.

The client part

Now let’s turn to the client. For Ubuntu, the client has some peculiarity that I don’t understand, but what the hack: the most important is to get the software working, if only for testing purposes. The problem that we face is in the fact that there is a problem with the insertion of a Personal Server activation key. Anyway, here is how to do it, I had the same bug on three machines and the solution was always the same.
Download two versions of the Debian installation software:

– The full TeamDrive client for Linux (current version)
– The beta version of the same client

First, install the current, non-beta version. To do this:
– After download:
– make the program executable (right mouse click on file, properties, allow executable

teamdrive make client install executable

teamdrive make client install executable

– now open a terminal window (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal). With the cd command, navigate to the directory that contains the downloaded package.
– Start typing to install. You do not need to enter the full command. Just type ./ (that is dot – slash) and the first characters (e.g. Tea…) and presse TAB. The full command will be: ./TeamDrive-2.2.148-Linux-x86-Install_TMDR  Mind the capital T at the beginning, Linux is case sensitive! Once you see that the command is complete on the command line, press Enter. You will be guided now through a graphical installation procedure.

In this phase, you will be asked to register with Teamdrive. Just follow the procedure. Once you have installed the software, you will notice that you lack the ONE option that you need: enter the activation code for a TeamDrive Personal Server. No problem. As strange as it may seem….now just remove the software that you just installed (Applications -> TeamDrive -> Uninstall TeamDrive). Now once you’ve done that…install the current Beta version. Follow exactly the same procedure as you did for the non-Beta version. Now as if it were a miracle, after installation, you will see the following option after starting the software (Extras -> Preferences -> Server Access): Create TeamDrive Personal Access Key. Enter the key from the Teamdrive Website.  and enter information like the IP address (or DNS name) of your TeamDrive server.

create teamdrive personal server access  key

create teamdrive personal server access key

…and off you are!!!

teamdrive client

teamdrive client

On top of that, install the OpenOffice Plugin for Teamdrive

This extension will allow you to share OpenOffice documents, regardless whether you use a Linux, a Mac or a Windows OpenOffice! Have fun!!!

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