I've started to play some with WebDAV (using Apache and mod_dav). So far, it has been rather impressive. I felt really good about how cool linux is getting today too. I decided to test mod_dav, but I didn't have any of the software to do it on my workstation. So I opened red carpet, went to the redhat 7.2 channel, and downloaded apache, apache's documentation, mod_ssl, and mod_dav. It then downloaded and installed it for me. That entire process took about 3 minutes. Then configuring httpd.conf to do DAV with some auth took about 15 minutes. And I fired up Nautilus, and tested it. Cadaver worked too. Extremely cool. Being able to go from zero to fully functional DAV environment in like 20 minutes is pretty amazing.
The real test is probably going to be how well I can get this to work in an "enterprise" environment. I'm trying to figure out how I can integrate it in with an initial-sign-on system that I'm developing, but that may be impossible, since most DAV clients don't support all of HTTP, like redirects and cookies. At the very least, though, I need to come up with an easy way to add new users and groups, and their associated folders. Also, some quota-like functionality would be very useful. If anyone has ideas on how to do this, please email me. Once I finish, I am going to try and document how I did it, and see if webdav.org wants it as a user resource.
After I solve the enterprise DAV problem, I want to move on to shared tasks/notes. Then slowly the other groupware type features. I basically want to see if I can develop a useful content management system, with groupware type features, using all free software and open protocols. So desktop apps can use it, or users can use a web interface. I am utterly convinced that all (or most) of the pieces are there, and I just need to discover how to put them together in a nice package. And if I get to do some of this research for work, all the better. Lots of architecture work. Hopefully I can come up with a solid plan, and bring some people in on developing it. This would be very useful for higher ed. And in general, I would think. It would be great if small/medium companies could just install an "office server" cd on a computer, and it would set up all of their groupware stuff for them. Then just install "office workstation" cds that can read configuration off of the server, and get up quickly. This stuff is all there - it just needs to be productized and polished.