Open source intranets

By Toby Ward — Open source platforms continue to advance and evolve and they’re starting to appear more often as solutions for enterprise intranets.
According to, “Open source refers to any program whose source code is made available for use or modification as users or other developers see fit. (Historically, the makers of proprietary software have generally not made source code available.) Open source software is usually developed as a public collaboration and made freely available.”

One of the leader’s in the open source intranet space is Plone – a collaborative content management system that is regarded as one of the better open source enterprise intranet platforms. Plone features enterprise content management with workflow, role-based content, a search engine and even a wiki (see for an example of a collaborative wiki).

Non-techies can use Plone without knowing a stitch of HTML. The system includes templates for news, events, documents, and photos. An additional 200+ templates and tools are also available for download. The visual editor is Kupu which bears comparison to a light version of Microsoft Word.

Plone is actually based on Zope, a Python-based application server, and CMF, a content management applications platform. Plone sits on top of Zope via a user-friendly interface. In all, some 100 developers support and work on the platform.

The New Zealand State Services Commission is championing an Plone as the primary content management solution for state agencies. In fact, New Zealand has already used Plone to develop, as well as the website for the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

External websites that are using Plone includes the websites for the Brazilian Parliament and UNC Healthcare.

Toby Ward, a former journalist and a regular e-business columnist and speaker, is the President and Founder of Prescient Digital Media. For more information on Prescient’s CMS Blueprint service, or for a free copy of the white paper “Finding ROI”, please contact us.