Web-based business applications - the so-called "rich thin client web apps" - are an interesting area of Web applications because they promise a lower total cost of ownership (not to mention a lower cost of implementation) than PC-based solutions. Moreover, most of these systems are groupware, which is a powerful service for companies with branch offices or users who are mobile or remotely located.We've looked at a couple of these products in past issues and a new one has just been brought to my attention that looks pretty interesting for several reasons. The suite is named Convea - pronounced "conveyor" - from the company of the same name (see links below).Essentially Convea is a suite of 19 applications including e-mail, group calendaring and scheduling, group discussion, instant messaging, instant conferencing, knowledge management, file management, and news and events management.In the works for future release are more applications including a database connectivity tool kit, a multiple language tool kit, customer relationship management, advanced knowledge management, an analytics tool kit, a project management tool kit, and mobile data management.Access to Convea is secured using HTTPS and different levels of access can be granted to individual users. The system is highly configurable allowing for customization for individual users and global application views and preferences.In short, a pretty sophisticated system ... but wait, there's more. What is particularly interesting about Convea is that the software is available as open source published under the GNU Public License (GPL).Of course, you then have the burdens of support and maintenance so you might prefer Convea's non-GPL licensed versions (starting at $750 for 50 users). Convea doesn't (as yet) offer a hosted version so you still need to have your own hardware to run the system.Convea is written in Active Server Pages and runs under IIS on Windows NT and 2000.