Whether you are a small business, a freelance contractor, or the leader in a non-profit organization, you need to stay on top of your schedule. You might have an assistant that handles the task, or it might be all on your shoulders.
No matter how it gets done, keeping a well maintained schedule can be challenging. This is especially true if you don’t have the right tools for the task. Of course, everyone has a calendar right in their pockets. Your Android or iOS device includes a powerful scheduling tool to make the job easier.
But what if that’s not enough? What if you need more? Or what if you spend a good amount of time at your desk and prefer either desktop or web-based tools to keep your busy day running smoothly? Or, better yet, you have a busy office that needs to keep meeting rooms on a tight schedule?
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools to make that happen. Even better, some of those tools are open source, so they offer a level of flexibility you might not find in proprietary options.
Let’s take a look at five such tools, some of which are incredibly easy to get up and running and some might require the help of an IT outsourcing company like BairesDev to install and configure. Either way, once established you’ll enjoy a new level of control over your scheduling.
Nextcloud is probably a bit of overkill here. However, if your business is looking for a powerful calendaring tool that includes a ton of other features ready to take your workflow to unheard of levels, this might be the solution you’re looking for.
The Nextcloud Calendar allows you to create multiple calendars and share them out with other Nextcloud users. New events can include:
You can add repeating events and even create new calendars dedicated to specific meeting rooms.
Even better, Nextcloud has a mobile app, so you can stay up to date with your Nextcloud calendars while on the go. And because the Nextcloud cloud server is focused on business-level users, it’s possible to confirm meeting attendees, so you’re always up to date with who will, may, and will not be joining you in your scheduled meetings.
If you’re looking for an open-source scheduling solution that can solve a lot of other problems, Nextcloud is exactly what you’re looking for.
Thunderbird is the open-source email client developed by the same group that created the Firefox web browser. By itself, Thunderbird doesn’t include a scheduling/calendaring solution. However, with the help of the Lightning add-on, your email client gains the ability to keep both local and network-able calendars.
Lightning is perfectly capable of keeping track of multiple calendars, and can even connect to your Google Calendar or publish your local calendar to the web to any service that supports the .ics format.
Lightning events can include:
You can also choose, on a per-event basis, if the event is private (local only) or public (published).
Booked is another open-source scheduler tool that is perfectly capable of serving your needs. Like Nextcloud, you can install Booked on a local server, or you can opt to pay for a hosted instance. Either way, you’ll wind up with a powerful scheduling and resource management tool.
Booked is a great option for any company looking to schedule meeting rooms, departments, and much more. This option might be ideal if your company works with the likes of IT outsourcing, and you need to be able to schedule appointments in various locations and even embed those appointments into your company website.
If you decide to go with the on-premises installation, Booked can be installed on Linux, Windows, and macOS. Booked features include:
- Easy to use and manage.
- Tons of options and customizations.
- Pluggable framework.
- Responsive mobile-first design.
- Integration with Outlook and Google Calendar.
- LDAP and Active Directory support.
- Registered users or anonymous guests.
- Flexible reporting system.
- Fine tuned roles and permissions.
- Powerful open API.
- User and group quotas.
- Multiple language support.
- Display real-time availability.
- Easy attendee check-in and out.
Meeting Room Booking Software is a web-based scheduling tool that was created with the intention of making it easy to keep track of meeting room schedules. Once up and running, MRBS lets anyone manage as many rooms as needed, booking them by time or period.
MRBS includes features like:
- Easy to use interface.
- Repeating events.
- Authentication with existing user database.
- Prevents scheduling conflicts.
- Built-in reporting tool.
- DAY/WEEK/MONTH views.
- Multiple authorization levels (read-only, user, admin).
- Email notifications of bookings.
- Multiple language support.
- MySQL and Postgres Support.
If you’d like to give MRBS a try you don’t even have to install it – there is a demo site available for testing purposes.
SOGo is an open source groupware server that focuses on stability and open standards. SOGo includes a rich, user-friendly interface that supports numerous calendar protocols such as CalDAV, CardDEAV, GroupDAV, and MS Active Sync.
The SOGo shared calendar includes features like:
- Multiple calendar support.
- Calendar subscriptions.
- Web-shareable calendars.
- Day/Week/Month views.
- Built-in printing support.
- Powerful filters.
- Multiple language support.
- Built-in address book.
- Event categories.
- Event invitations.
Although SOGo is an open source tool, it does require a support contract for installation. Licenses start at $750.00/year USD for a single service 5 incident license, all the way up to $10,000/year USD for a multi-server 75 incident license. For more information on purchasing a SOGo license, check out their support package matrix.
There are plenty of options for those looking to make use of open source scheduling tools. Whether you’re looking for a single, simple calendar, or an enterprise-ready system, you’ll find something to meet your needs.