Bug 0 review pls

Dan Shearer dan at shearer.org
Tue Jun 3 09:00:10 UTC 2008

On Mon, Jun 02, 2008 at 10:48:03PM -0400, Aaron Kincer wrote:

> By the way, I'm not sure what you mean by "modify their client Windows
> machines", but with Zimbra, you don't have to modify. Reconfigure, maybe.
> But you don't even have to touch a machine. You can create Outlook profiles
> and push those out with login scripts or via GPO (I believe).

I keep hearing "Zimbra is a drop-in replacement for Exchange that
requires no modification on the client side." Read zimbra.com to see
how this is false:

Those three links between them list all the possible ways that a client
can communicate with a Zimbra server: via web, RFC protocols or their
special, proprietary Outlook connector installed on every Windows client
machine. And the only way Outlook gets calendar sharing etc from Zimbra
is with that connector. Other such connectors exist, quite a few
actually. The thing they all have in common is that their existence is
required because the server can't talk MAPI over MSRPC.

Your assertion "you don't have to modify" is not one Zimbra can or do
make, although I'm sure they would dearly love to be able to.

That story could potentially change if Zimbra start to incorporate
openchange code, which unlike anything from Zimbra or its equivalents,
can indeed speak native MAPI. However Zimbra so far has shown they don't
want to be a drop-in replacement, being wedded instead to the idea that
they can replace Outlook with a webapp.  I wish them luck but I don't
think they'll get the success they are hoping for that way.

Some Zimbra customers are happy to install a protocol convertor on all
Windows machines in order to move away from Exchange servers. That's
nice for them. 

That's also the problem that openchange.org addresses. Some of that will
be shippable with Intrepid, the rest should be shippable with

> I'm not pimping Zimbra, I just don't think your assertion of complex
> barriers is accurate. 

Here is my assertion:

   Zimbra has no technological distinction over many other groupware
   solutions aimed at Exchange: it can't speak MAPI over MSRPC and that
   means it can never interoperate natively with Outlook or Exchange
   to deliver the groupware features .75 billion people rely on for
   their businesses (big number courtesy of Dodgy Bros Gartnerquest :-)

Zimbra has put a lot of effort into polish and making it easy to deploy.
I give them all credit for that.

> To put it simply, there is a clear and manageable migration path from
> Exchange to Zimbra if one is willing. 

The level of willingness required is not one that most companies wish to
be a coalition of, in my experience. If you know how to persuade
companies to switch en masse, please tell us! Getting companies to move
away from Zimbra will be a lot easier than getting them to switch away
from Exchange :-)

Dan Shearer
dan at shearer.org

More information about the ubuntu-server mailing list