LibreGraph initiative and Kopano Kraph

July 27, 2022

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Categories: blog, Featured, Kopano Kraph, Open Source

LibreGraph initiative and Kopano Kraph – how does this fit together?

Both sound very similar and are closely related – if you want to be figurative about it.

Already last year Kopano started the LibreGraph initiative together with ownCloud to provide an open and sovereign API for cloud services in an open source project (We just haven’t reported about it yet).

To do this, we contributed our KowHow and existing code in Kopano Kraph to the LibreGraph initiative.

What is the goal of LibreGraph?

Tying it all together with a Cloud API

Modern corporate digital workspaces involve multiple cloud-native services. To make them work well together you need a way for services and devices to exchange data efficiently. One elegant way of making this happen is the Microsoft Graph API.

In short, the Microsoft Graph API lets users access data across services based on their identity. This works with all Microsoft services and compatible third-party services.

But the Microsoft Graph API is proprietary, with as its single API endpoint. This means it is not an option if compliance with privacy regulations like GDPR is needed. It is certainly anathema for organizations that handle sensitive data. To reclaim digital sovereignty, they need another approach.

The open alternative

This is why Kopano and ownCloud have started the LibreGraph initiative. It is a sovereign RESTful API that is fully compatible with the Microsoft Graph API. It provides organizations with their own API endpoint they fully control. Full compatibility means organizations don’t have to choose between proprietary and Open Source software – they can mix and match.

The LibreGraph API is an interface through which users access data across their digital workspace comprised of cloud services – both the proprietary solutions from vendors like Microsoft and their Open Source alternatives alike.

When implementing the API, developers are virtually free in their choice of programming language, as the API is http-based. It works with all compatible services on virtually every device. This means organizations can pick and choose from all the proprietary and open services to perfectly match their requirements, using one sovereign API to interconnect them all.

The API supports the full spectrum of relevant data – files, calendar, emails, contacts and more. The upcoming ownCloud Infinite Scale will fully implement LibreGraph for file and user management. You can find LibreGraph on GitHub.

The advantages

With LibreGraph, organizations keep full control of sensitive data while running cloud-based workspaces. Organizations thus also sidestep vendor lock-ins, making workspace modules easily replaceable. For instance, switching from a proprietary groupware like Outlook to Kopano Groupware becomes easy. And it is now easy to later reverse that decision, too. LibreGraph also enables heterogeneous ecosystems. There, open solutions coexist and interact with legacy proprietary products. Third-party tools that supplement solutions through the Microsoft Graph API also work with LibreGraph with minimal effort. So even niche applications for the digital workspace can easily be leveraged.

schematic overview of LibreGraph

A schematic overview of LibreGraph

User and identity management for the rest of us

LibreGraph also brings a lightweight user and identity management option called LibreIDM. It is an easy-to-configure LDAP server without any external dependencies. It is great for anyone that finds the thought of handling an LDAP server scary. Just run the LibreIDM binary and you are ready to manage users. You can extend it with LibreConnect, a lightweight Identity Provider for OpenID Connect.

The new default

LibreIDM will become the default user and identity management that is shipped with ownCloud Infinite Scale. LibreIDM and LibreConnect are optimized to work well with the other LibreGraph components, of course. They are a great choice for small to medium deployments where conventional user and identity management solutions would add too much complexity. Both LibreIDM and LibreConnect are being developed as multi-vendor products and are available under Apache2.0 license.

The way ahead for LibreGraph

Kopano and ownCloud develop the LibreGraph components towards general availability. We would like to invite our fellow Open Source vendors and projects to enter the consortium! Hints, suggestions, and Github contributions are welcome. If you want to join the initiative, please contact the team in the LibreGraph room in Matrix.