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Drop-In Replacement For Exchange Now Open Source

ScuttleMonkey posted about 6 years ago | from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept.

434

Fjan11 writes "Over 150 man-years of work were added to the Open Source community today when Zarafa decided to put their successful Exchange server replacement under GPLv3. This is not just the typical mail-server-that-works-with-Outlook, it is the whole package — including 100% MAPI, web access, tasks, iCal and Activesync. (The native syncing works great with my iPhone!) Binaries and source are available for all major Linux distros."

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Hell yeah (5, Funny)

cromar (1103585) | about 6 years ago | (#25078687)

That's right, Microsoft: open source software can gun for you too, motherfuckers!

Re:Hell yeah (2, Informative)

LibertineR (591918) | about 6 years ago | (#25079553)

Sure you can, but Zarafa aint no gun.

Aren't there others like this? (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | about 6 years ago | (#25078689)

I seem to remember ogo being a full replacement and that's been out for a while. Also, although you want to provide compatibility with Exchange, don't you want to provide additional capabilities so that Exchange systems are forced to upgrade to you, rather than the other way round? (Embrace-and-extend, but non-toxic.)

Re:Aren't there others like this? (2, Informative)

gclef (96311) | about 6 years ago | (#25078869)

Citadel [citadel.org] also tries to be a full-featured e-mail/calendaring/task management/etc system.

Re:Aren't there others like this? (4, Insightful)

Eric Smith (4379) | about 6 years ago | (#25079141)

Sure, but there's a lot of difference between offering a similar feature set, and being a drop-in replacement that is compatible with all the crufty MS protocols.

Re:Aren't there others like this? (5, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 6 years ago | (#25079781)

Xandros with Scalix [xandros.com] also works as a drop in,with the added bonus of being able to be either a member or a domain controller in an AD forest. Really nice if you need to support a mixed environment. But as always this is my 02c,YMMV

Re:Aren't there others like this? (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 6 years ago | (#25078917)

don't you want to provide additional capabilities so that Exchange systems are forced to upgrade to you,

Actually you want to provide additional capacities so that going back to Exchange is a true downgrade.

Re:Aren't there others like this? (1, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 6 years ago | (#25079111)

Well, I imagine that an open source alternative to Exchange would not have Exchange's arbitrary limitations (e.g. maximum size of mailboxes) and would allow you to fix bugs and add features as you see fit. Those things _should_ make the switch worthwhile to many companies. I've heard complaints about arbitrary limitations and things just not working right in more than one company.

Re:Aren't there others like this? (5, Funny)

fishbowl (7759) | about 6 years ago | (#25079267)

>[A]n open source alternative to Exchange would not have Exchange's arbitrary limitations

Oops... if it's not bug-for-bug compatible, it's going to be a problem with some PHB.

Re:Aren't there others like this? (1)

VVelox (819695) | about 6 years ago | (#25079469)

There are multiple other ones, but to date they all have very ugly source and/or are badly implemented. I am looking forward to see if this one is a break from it. /me does the Zimbra blows goats dance.

Re:Aren't there others like this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079623)

Also, although you want to provide compatibility with Exchange, don't you want to provide additional capabilities so that Exchange systems are forced to upgrade to you, rather than the other way round? (Embrace-and-extend, but non-toxic.)

Well, given that the price of Exchange with 25 user licenses starts around $3,000, not including the price of windows, I don't think much embracing & extending is needed. Price will do it for you.

(assuming this product is as good as advertised, which I doubt)

Hm, if this works as advertised (5, Informative)

pembo13 (770295) | about 6 years ago | (#25078701)

They better start hiring support personnel, because there will likely be profits to be had with service contracts. Maybe even a Redhat buyout/partnership

Over the last few months, I've been forced to use Exchange/Outlook a lot, and for the life of me I don't get the big deal. But I know that people consider it a big deal, so I wish this company the best, and fair

amount of profit.

Re:Hm, if this works as advertised (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#25079103)

Over the last few months, I've been forced to use Exchange/Outlook a lot, and for the life of me I don't get the big deal.

I don't think it is a very big deal. I've supported Exchange servers in companies of various size, and it's really not doing anything astoundingly complicated, and what it does it doesn't do all that well. But still it does a bunch of things that other solutions haven't done an even worse job at, and does them all together. Things like "I can send a meeting invitation to my boss and his assistant can check his mail, accept his invitation, and reply on his behalf without actually logging in as him."

I know, it doesn't sound like that sort of thing would be all that important, and it's not even clear all the time that it makes a lot of sense, but there are companies that run on this sort of procedure. So there are a bunch of random things like shared calendars and push-email to phones that people don't want to live without, and unless you can provide a seamless replacement, you're stuck with Exchange.

I, for one, am eager to see a suitable Exchange alternative. I have a real love/hate relationship with Exchange. There are some options out there, but none of the options I've tried have worked out.

Re:Hm, if this works as advertised (4, Interesting)

xouumalperxe (815707) | about 6 years ago | (#25079375)

I know, it doesn't sound like that sort of thing would be all that important, and it's not even clear all the time that it makes a lot of sense, but there are companies that run on this sort of procedure.

Hell, I read what you described and thought "damn, that's a really good idea, hope it's also a well thought out and implemented feature". The idea that I can easily give you permission to act on my behalf is probably the single best way to kill account promiscuity. Plus the example you gave is also a damned practical one too, and a good way to prove that this is a feature, and not a solution looking for a problem.

So there are a bunch of random things like shared calendars and push-email to phones that people don't want to live without, and unless you can provide a seamless replacement, you're stuck with Exchange.

In other news, when a piece of software is truly convenient, you use it, even if it's not perfect.

Re:Hm, if this works as advertised (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | about 6 years ago | (#25079793)

Funny. I read that same comment and though "That's scary, from a security perspective."

If others can act on your behalf without actually logging in as you, what proof is there that e-mails allegedly sent by you were actually sent by you? Or, if you'd rather look at it another way, how can you prove that you weren't the one who sent the e-mail/accepted the meeting/whatever? It completely destroys all accountability. (Yes, I know SMTP isn't authenticated and it is trivial to forge an e-mail address. You can still match up IP addresses in the headers, though).

Re:Hm, if this works as advertised (5, Informative)

noc007 (633443) | about 6 years ago | (#25079867)

To answer your question, IMHO the big deal is collaboration, productivity, integration, and a lot of features "just work"*. I'd wager to say that the majority of medium to large companies use MS Office and MS Outlook as their productivity suite and e-mail client respectively of choice.

Collaboration
Setting up meeting requests are simple. I can easily see other people's calendars so I can pick the best time and I can even set a meeting location which will automatically reserve something like the meeting room for example. Meetings automatically get put on my calendar as tentative and I'll receive a notification in case I forget to accept the invitation. Updated meeting change my calendar as well without intervention.

Productivity
I can set reminders, flag e-mails for follow-ups, create folders to organize, create processing rules to eliminate common tasks. A lot of rules will run on the Exchange server without the need of a client running and I don't get unnecessary e-mails on my phone. Outlook maintains a constant connection with Exchange so e-mails are sent and received nearly instantly.

Integration and crap just working
Obviously most MS products can seamlessly integrate well with one another. In the latest version of Outlook I can preview a number of attachments within Outlook without actually opening them up in their designated app, thus a new window. I can set a folder to actually open up a webpage within Outlook to "Integrate" a webapp or just be sly on reading Slashdot.

Phone integration really is a big one for me. Using a WM5, WM6, or iPhone with Exchange ActiveSync is almost the best thing since sliced bread. I remember the days of having a PDA and the PITA it was to do a hard-reset or get a new one. Even getting a new phone and having to manually enter in each contact sucked (I've been a CDMA whore for eight years). All my contacts are kept on Exchange and this allows me to reference and edit them via the phone or Outlook. Having to do a hard-reset or get a new WM phone is no big deal; a three minute sync with Exchange over the air gets me all my contacts back and access to my e-mail. The rare third party apps I use are kept on an SD card. Life is easy getting the execs and lusers up and running as well.

Integration with Active Directory (LDAP) makes my life as an admin easier with GPOs and groups to divvy out permissions. And for some reason all this stuff works without much hassle.

The bad
Exchange and Outlook truly do have their faults. If I were to have my own company, I can't honestly say that I would run them. I wont get too far into the bad since I'm running out of time with the wife waiting on me. If I were to have my own company, I can't honestly say that I would run them. Exchange works great with communication within itself and other Exchange servers. It does a decent job at SMTP transmissions most of the time. The big headache I have right now stems from a tech at MS telling me that "the RFCs for the SMTP protocol are merely suggestions." It's not like SMTP is overly complex; there are only a handful of commands that are exchanged within SMTP communication and Exchange even F's that up. And don't get me started with how Outlook is written in VB.

I'm glad to see some open source Exchange clones out there. I'll eventually run one of them for my server at home just so I can keep my contacts synced when I leave my current company.

To put things into perspective, I'm not a MS fanboy, but I'm not a MS hater either. I know their products well and is a part of my profession. My real passion is UNIX; specifically FreeBSD and OpenBSD. I try to introduce them where possible and applicable. Not to mention there is some stuff I can get done easier and faster with UNIX than I could with MS Windows. Other products out there are just as buggy and bloated as MS's; they just get more attention since they're more widely used.

I hope that Zarafa and others continue to innovate and make a nice profit. Competition is good for innovation and lowering prices; both of which benefits us consumers.

* Setup can be a RPITA. When something doesn't work as expected it can be an easy fix or cause suicide.

EAT SHIT FAGGOTS!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078713)

Linux is for the garbage can!

Re:EAT SHIT FAGGOTS!! (5, Funny)

oahazmatt (868057) | about 6 years ago | (#25078775)

Linux is for the garbage can!

Sweet! What won't Linux run on these days?

Re:EAT SHIT FAGGOTS!! (0)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#25078885)

Linux is for the garbage can!

Sweet! What won't Linux run on these days?

The used condoms inside the garbage can.

Re:EAT SHIT FAGGOTS!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079137)

[citation needed]

Re:EAT SHIT HOMOPHOBES!! (4, Funny)

roaddemon (666475) | about 6 years ago | (#25079229)

Only because the people with Linux experience and the people with condom experience are disjoint sets.

Re:EAT SHIT FAGGOTS!! (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 6 years ago | (#25079483)

Linux is for the garbage can!

Sweet! What won't Linux run on these days?

The used condoms inside the garbage can.

Well there are condoms with built-in vibrators now so we just need to add a processor.

Re:EAT SHIT FAGGOTS!! (4, Funny)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | about 6 years ago | (#25079127)

Can you imagine a Beowolf cluster of those? Take THAT, big iron [wikipedia.org] .

Re:EAT SHIT FAGGOTS!! (3, Funny)

uassholes (1179143) | about 6 years ago | (#25078777)

If I had some mod points I would give you one for funny. Ignorant, but funny.

Re:EAT SHIT FAGGOTS!! (1)

uassholes (1179143) | about 6 years ago | (#25078925)

Nevermind. Someone moded it into another dimension.

Re:EAT SHIT FAGGOTS!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079313)

As the composer of the lovely post, I feel some unhappiness towards the new slashdot display system. So I'm just letting some steam out...

Fuck you taco :(

Re:EAT SHIT FAGGOTS!! (1)

pembo13 (770295) | about 6 years ago | (#25078821)

Mod parent up. May have found yet another use for Linux.

Woohoo! (3, Informative)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | about 6 years ago | (#25078801)

Well, that's certainly nice, push-mail, activesync, mapi, all the things people like about Exchange in an open source variant, why the hell not?

I've been running OpenGroupware myself as a cheap replacement for Exchange (using funambol to replace ActiveSync) and it works nicely, but the more alternatives to Exchange the better!

I've yet to try this one, i hope it's atleast as "easy" to manage as an Exchange server tho, if you need 10 Rocket Scientists to install it, then open sourcing it won't make it magicly defeat Exchange, and sometimes i get the impression people tend to forget other people use their applications too.

In short, the more the merrier! Long live FOSS!

Re:Woohoo! (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | about 6 years ago | (#25078891)

Argh, make the E-Groupware :)

Re:Woohoo! (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#25079459)

I've yet to try this one, i hope it's atleast as "easy" to manage as an Exchange server tho, if you need 10 Rocket Scientists to install it, then open sourcing it won't make it magicly defeat Exchange, and sometimes i get the impression people tend to forget other people use their applications too.

Yeah, I'd love to hear from someone who has set this up already. I've tried other Exchange alternatives, and with some of them, even if the directions look pretty easy, it takes a ton of tinkering to get the thing running.

So what do I actually have to do in Debian, for example, to get this up and running?

Re:Woohoo! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079551)

I've tried other Exchange alternatives, and with some of them, even if the directions look pretty easy, it takes a ton of tinkering to get the thing running.

Much like the actual product.

Slashdotted already (1)

mprindle (198799) | about 6 years ago | (#25078811)

Look at this... The topic was just posted and the site is already Slashdotted... WTG!

not vetted/tried and true (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078817)

I've not looked at this software, but Exchange is one hell of a piece of machinery. Say what you want about MS, but I've seen an Exchange server with terabytes of email, gigabytes per day, keeping up fine. It's a pain in the ass sometimes to be sure, but I wouldn't trust my production network to this today anyway.

Re:not vetted/tried and true (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 6 years ago | (#25078957)

Say what you want about MS, but I've seen an Exchange server with terabytes of email, gigabytes per day, keeping up fine.

BS. I've seen Exchange servers with gigabytes of mail and megabytes per day roll over and cry until we put a FreeBSD/Postfix/Amavis/ClamAV server in front to lighten the workload by 95%. If this is built on top of FOSS components, I don't doubt for a second that it'll run rings around Exchange.

Exchange has traditionally had exactly one reason for its popularity: vendor lock-in. If this really is a drop-in replacement without annoying CALs, we'll be Microsoft-free on our servers by Monday.

Re:not vetted/tried and true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079021)

I was mostly concerned with not losing/corrupting emails.

Re:not vetted/tried and true (2, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 6 years ago | (#25079107)

Exactly. And I'd much trust something like Cyrus IMAP over Exchange for data integrity any day of the week.

Re:not vetted/tried and true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079359)

Pretty much, if you have a big company, you go Exchange. Not for E-mail, but the officers and management love their appointment scheduling.

If this product can replace OWA, I definitely will be replacing my home Exchange server with a RHCE box running this.

Re:not vetted/tried and true (3, Interesting)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 6 years ago | (#25079153)

after working the storage industry I have come to the conclusion that exchange is not very effective at handling heavy email load or large message database. How many of us get annoying emails when we have more than a few hundred MB of messages in our mailbox? Did you know that Exchange performs like crap when you run low on local disk space to keep the data. CIFS won't save your ass either, you end up having to go to using SAN (which looks like local disk from Exchange's point of view).

Some bullshit scripts with postfix, exim or qmail can spool and forward terabytes of email an hour. With the added advantage that you can cluster your IMAP services out to deal with the space and load in an incredibly simple yet scalable manner. You can use a SAN, but you can just as easily setup a new box for every 100 employees and still have a very usable system.

Exchange is inflexible and can only scale if you use on particular (and very expensive) setup. Microsoft only focuses on the operating modes of Exchange server that they use at corporate HQ. The inferior modes are just there so they can sucker companies into buying it at the low end, when in a short while the company will have to invest an exponential rate of money to scale the system.

The TCO of Exchange is very high. And Microsoft's way is not the only way to manage messages, events, meetings and users.

Re:not vetted/tried and true (4, Insightful)

LibertineR (591918) | about 6 years ago | (#25079411)

Sorry, that is just bullshit.

Exchange inflexible?

What do you say to the Hundreds of Thousands of clients who get their Exchange via SBS (Small Business Server)? And that's just the 2003 version.

How many Enterprise apps do you know of by ANY vendor that dont degrade with low disk space? Come on, dude, that aint fair and you know it.

Exchange is one of those apps that can look bad if installed by an idiot. You would think a proper architect would have worked out space and usage requirements early on.

How do you reach a low space condition ANYWAY, if you are making proper use of quotas? No product takes more abuse due to stupid administration than Exchange server.

But please, inflexible? When you have dozens of 100K+ client installations of Exchange humming along at places like Chevron and others, while the very same product can keep 20 people happy on a $500 box, you cant call it inflexible. Thats just wrong, pal.

Re:not vetted/tried and true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079607)

But please, inflexible? When you have dozens of 100K+ client installations of Exchange humming along at places like Chevron and others, while the very same product can keep 20 people happy on a $500 box, you cant call it inflexible. Thats just wrong, pal.

Any problem is shallow if you throw enough monkeys at it. Places like Chevron and Bechtel can afford -- and do have -- a helluva lot of IT monkeys.

Doesn't say much for the product, though

Re:not vetted/tried and true (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about 6 years ago | (#25079803)

Now now, children... Or something like that.

Anyways, the Exchange/Outlook environment has its issues.

- Ever try to recover a corrupted .PST file over 2GB? I know it isn't supposed to happen but it has, and it's not pretty. Tell your CEO that some time.

- Every try to migrate off of Exchange? I can understand not caring, but this is something I would not expect to find in the seventh ring of Hell. Just too nasty.

- Ever try to juggle backups, antivirus, patch management, and users saving EVERYTHING FOR THE PAST SEVEN YEARS, including the 1GB Photoshop file attached to an email? And then explaining to the CEO's wife why she can't reliably use Outlook as a backup device? Well, actually, I wonder what email system could do that... any that I could hope would are gone now.

I've learned to loathe Exchange, then tolerate it, then long for the days when I could sell GroupWise, and finally wish for the good old days of Postfix and Eudora. Exchange is pretty functional now, save for some serious deficiencies in the Outlook client (.PST files are just plain wrong), but an FOSS replacement makes for some very profitable opportunities. Should be plenty of outfits offering open-source Exchange replacements, and pocketing the cash for themselves instead of sending in license fees to Microsoft. Now, do they have decent management tools? We can hope...

ps- My largest Exchange sites were users in the hundreds, so I wasn't out there as an admin legend. But the Exchange tamers I know who work in massive installations tell me of the horrors of keeping big systems alive, what with clustering, database maintenance, and the joys of working in academia and inputing the new class each year. And moving another class to the alumni system. One describes it as making an omelette in the shell. Sounds easy, until you realize it's a fragile container. 'Woops' is not what you want to hear. But you do.

GPL'd community edition has limited MAPI clients? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078847)

Last time I looked on the Zarafa website, it looked like the free community (GPL) edition had a limited number of MAPI clients. I guess this is still the case? If so, it's not really a practical replacement for Exchange unless you pay for the commercial edition.

Re:GPL'd community edition has limited MAPI client (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 years ago | (#25078907)

The nice thing about GPL software is that it's easy to go in and change arbitrary limitations like that.

Re:GPL'd community edition has limited MAPI client (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#25079221)

Yeah, I hadn't really thought about that, but... then why doesn't someone fork it and drop the restriction altogether?

Re:GPL'd community edition has limited MAPI client (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 6 years ago | (#25079303)

Because this isn't actually being released under the GPL.

Re:GPL'd community edition has limited MAPI client (1)

marxmarv (30295) | about 6 years ago | (#25079421)

Well, it's being released under the Affero GPLv3. I am not a supporter of Affero.

anyone actually have the source ? (2, Interesting)

johnjones (14274) | about 6 years ago | (#25079513)

I just get bad checksum so there is a way to advertise... say its (A)GPL and then not provide the source !

links anyone ?

Re:GPL'd community edition has limited MAPI client (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079227)

How hard can it be to undo that, if you have the GPL source?

Re:GPL'd community edition has limited MAPI client (2, Informative)

Peeet (730301) | about 6 years ago | (#25079445)

From the F.A.Q.:
"The first three users that connect to the community versions with Outlook can only use Outlook. All other users can only connect via webaccess, imap/pop3 or Z-Push."

Web app (1)

pembo13 (770295) | about 6 years ago | (#25078861)

Was kinda hoping that it was a desktop app. But I guess it's up to Thunderbird and KOffice/Kmail to get up to speed now.

Re:Web app (2, Informative)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 6 years ago | (#25079535)

I think you mis-understand. This isn't meant to replace Outlook, the Windows-only desktop mail/groupware client. This is meant to replace Exchange, the Windows-only mail/groupware SERVER that Outlook is built to connect to, complete with cloning the MAPI protocol Outlook speaks. We won't have a drop-in Outlook replacement until Evolution finishes their MAPI code (IIRC in the next release).

Of course, this is all moot in a lot of businesses if it can't connect to BES, which you (currently) need a Windows box for anyway.

If it works as advertised... (3, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 6 years ago | (#25078873)

..I'll DEFINATELY be installing this for our company's mail server. I currently have Zimbra setup, which is very nice, but the bosses don't like it because it doesn't integrate into Outlook very well (iCalendar, contacts, etc), without the outlook connector that you have to pay for. No hate on Zimbra though...I absolutely love it's capabilities and ease-of-use, but it's a deal-breaker w/the management types if won't support the 'advanced' features in Outlook.

Re:If it works as advertised... (5, Funny)

JohnFluxx (413620) | about 6 years ago | (#25079187)

DEFINITELY

(If you're gonna write a word in all caps, spell it right :-) )

Re:If it works as advertised... (1)

Excelsior (164338) | about 6 years ago | (#25079739)

If you are going to correct someone's spelling, don't use the word "gonna" to do it.

Re:If it works as advertised... (1)

VVelox (819695) | about 6 years ago | (#25079521)

Looked at it once and found the entire thing to be a collection of undocumented code. On top of it, it is all implemented in a very ugly manner.

Re:If it works as advertised... (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 6 years ago | (#25079795)

Looked at it once and found the entire thing to be a collection of undocumented code. On top of it, it is all implemented in a very ugly manner.

If people didn't use software because of that reason, then nobody would use Windows

Patent encumbered? (4, Interesting)

Tim[m] (5411) | about 6 years ago | (#25078937)

I did a quick test with this product a few weeks ago, and it sync'd well with my phone. My only concern was that Microsoft appears to assert patent claims [microsoft.com] relating to ActiveSync. Anyone have thoughts or experiences on using this product in the US market?

"successful" is ambigous (4, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | about 6 years ago | (#25078943)

...Zarafa decided to put their successful Exchange server replacement under GPLv3. This is not just the typical mail-server-that-works-with-Outlook, it is the whole package including 100% MAPI, web access, tasks, iCal and Activesync...

While I hail this development, I wonder what "successful" means in this story. Here are questions I might want answered:

Was it "successful" at sales? If so where are the figures? I would not really praise them that much if the original goal - to make money, could not be reached making these fellas to opensource everything...much like what Netscape did years ago.

Was it "successful" at actually replacing Exchange with no [significant] trouble for Systems Administrators? I need to know. How come it is not that known in IT circles? What's going on?

Re:"successful" is ambigous (2, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | about 6 years ago | (#25079139)

'Was it "successful" at actually replacing Exchange with no [significant] trouble for Systems Administrators? I need to know. How come it is not that known in IT circles? What's going on?'

Probably because there are six to a dozen functional drop in replacements for exchange on the market that work fine. None of them are free as in beer or free as in speech though. Or if they are, they require an 'outlook connector' that is not.

Re:"successful" is ambigous (4, Insightful)

Joe Enduser (527199) | about 6 years ago | (#25079611)

Let me enlighten you a bit on the "success" factor for the sysadmin. I implemented this at a very small organization. While it does integrate nicely with Outlook, and handles the calendar and contacts stuff very nicely, it is the first time I am trying to manage a mailserver which blatantly has dropped mail regularly and silently, at least in a previous version. In the current stable version, an imap client cannot delete a mail from any folder. This is fun when a client does not actually move mails between folders or the trash, but copies first and then deletes, such as Apple Mail. Also, an update of the server version to a new main version, i.e. from 5.xx to 6.xx does not only involve a new version of the Outlook plugin on the clients, but also mandates a new user profile in Outlook. That is a lot of work. I hope that opensourcing this stuff eventually makes it more maintainable, but I have not been able to find out about access to the actual source repositories which might enable actual collaboration on the product.

In other news . . . (4, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 6 years ago | (#25078981)

Office Depot, Office Max, and Staples reported a shortage of office chairs in the supply chain. When asked, representatives were unsure to the exact nature of the shortage.

"According to our suppliers, someone in Redmond, Washington has decided to corner the market on office chairs," one company spokesman said.

----------BREAKING NEWS-----------

This just in! According to NORAD, the nation's defense system went on alert after controllers detected a large number of unknown flying objects coming from the Pacific Northwest. While the status has not entered DEFCON 1, a spokesman for the Defense Department assured the public that this was a precautionary measure as the objects themselves do not appear to be very large and that they originated from the Northwest rules out an nuclear attack from either China or the former Soviet Union.

Re:In other news . . .MOD PARENT UP! (2, Informative)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 6 years ago | (#25079205)

Parent was obviously modded down by some newbie to moderation who didn't get the joke, doesn't understand throwing chairs in Redmond, and modded it off-topic because he didn't understand it. This is a lousy excuse for moderation!

Also (3, Funny)

Icarus1919 (802533) | about 6 years ago | (#25079007)

can be measured to be 1050 dog-years of work.

Re:Also (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 6 years ago | (#25079765)

Imperial or Metric dog years?

GPL MAPI? (1)

chill (34294) | about 6 years ago | (#25079025)

I'll believe it when they recover from the slashdotting and I have the code on my servers. Last I knew, MAPI required licenses from Microsoft. Can anyone confirm that the GPL version support MAPI access such as Outlook 2003, 2007 and Outlook Anywhere access on PDA and phones?

Not GPL, maybe not Free Software (1, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 6 years ago | (#25079029)

Zarafa is available under the Affero GPLv3, which has some rather critical differences from the regular GPLv3, namely that a lot of people don't consider it to be a Free Software license. Specifically, it has a lot of properties of a EULA in that you can't modify it as you see fit even if you don't plan to distribute it.

Rats. I was looking forward to this.

Re:Not GPL, maybe not Free Software (1)

nawcom (941663) | about 6 years ago | (#25079151)

Zarafa is available under the Affero GPLv3, which has some rather critical differences from the regular GPLv3, namely that a lot of people don't consider it to be a Free Software license. Specifically, it has a lot of properties of a EULA in that you can't modify it as you see fit even if you don't plan to distribute it.

Rats. I was looking forward to this.

Well, that's EXTREMELY different than GPL. So they call it the Affero GPLv3? as in it's like GPL, but not? What the hell.

Oh Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079193)

Really? A lot of people doesn't think it's a free software license? Who are these people, and where can I see a reference, please.

I mean, it's about the only article left on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] that doesn't have either a "Critisism" or "Controversy" section.

Not saying you aren't correct, but I am saying that you are making spurios and loose claims. In other words, "[citation needed]". ;)

Re:Oh Really? (2, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 6 years ago | (#25079523)

Google for the debate on debian-legal about whether it complies with the DFSG. Anyway, the crux of the matter is that authors can embed unmodifiable sections in their code, and you are not allowed to alter that code even if you will not be giving copies of it away. The theory is that you're distributing the output of the program, which is part of the program itself - or some nonsense like that. This goes against decades of precedent for the idea of usage versus distribution.

For example, if you VNC to a machine on my home LAN, you could potentially run Quickbooks. It would be executed on my machine and exporting its display to yours, but no one would ever consider this to be distribution. However, if I were running an AGPL'ed equivalent of Quickbooks on my home web server and you accessed it, the authors of the AGPL would claim that I distributed a copy of that application to you. That's their legal theory behind restricting my usage of it.

Another poster said I was spreading FUD. Yeah, I am, and with good reason. I fear that some project I depend on may adopt the AGPL. I'm uncertain that I'd be able to use it given the additional restrictions that it piles on top of the GPL, to the point that I actually doubt it.

Re:Not GPL, maybe not Free Software (5, Informative)

gamanimatron (1327245) | about 6 years ago | (#25079301)

Hey, look! FUD!

Re:Not GPL, maybe not Free Software (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 6 years ago | (#25079655)

I agree, as the FSF lists it as GPL compatible and appears to endorse it for programs that are used over a network, which an exchange replacement certainly would be.

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html#AGPLv3.0 [gnu.org]

Facts, Un-earthed and Displayed? (1)

coryking (104614) | about 6 years ago | (#25079725)

Or do you instaed prefer to call everything that is fact, but goes against your world view "FUD"? I'd say Affero GPLv3 would be enough to keep me from using this product. Exchange is used in hardcore production environments... it is no place to play around with crazy, untested, product licenses.

"Hey look boss, this is an exchange server replacement*. The best part is if we modify the publicly facing webmail portions even the slighest, we'll have to offer every single bit of code that touched our modifications on our webpage too! Isn't that awesome?"

Ooops... looks like I went against your worldview again. FUD?

*except for $list$ of major differences

Re:Not GPL, maybe not Free Software (3, Informative)

zx-15 (926808) | about 6 years ago | (#25079657)

Somebody mod parent down.

http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/agpl-3.0.html [fsf.org]
"Preamble

The GNU Affero General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works, specifically designed to ensure cooperation with the community in the case of network server software."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affero_General_Public_License [wikipedia.org]
"The Affero General Public License, often abbreviated as Affero GPL and AGPL (and sometimes informally called the Affero license) refers to two distinct, though historically related, free software licenses: (1) the Affero General Public License, version 1 (published by Affero, Inc. in March 2002, and based closely on the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2)), and (2) the GNU Affero General Public License, version 3 (published by the Free Software Foundation in November 2007, and closely resembling the GNU General Public License, version 3 (GPLv3))."

If FSF considers it to be free software, how it is not free software, and by a lot of people you mean who?

Re:Not GPL, maybe not Free Software (4, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 6 years ago | (#25079783)

If FSF considers it to be free software, how it is not free software

One of the requirements of Free Software [gnu.org] is "[t]he freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1)." The Affero GPL explicitly denies this freedom:

If the Program as you received it is intended to interact with users through a computer network and if, in the version you received, any user interacting with the Program was given the opportunity to request transmission to that user of the Program's complete source code, you must not remove that facility from your modified version of the Program or work based on the Program, and must offer an equivalent opportunity for all users interacting with your Program through a computer network to request immediate transmission by HTTP of the complete source code of your modified version or other derivative work.

I don't care who endorses the AGPL; by the FSF's own definitions, it is not Free Software. Get pissed off and mod me down all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that the AGPL is a EULA in that it governs the behavior of people who merely run the software, even if they do not distribute it (by any reasonable definition of the word "distribute" that has been in common usage during the history of computing).

Re:Not GPL, maybe not Free Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079723)

Specifically, it has a lot of properties of a EULA

If you put the GPL (any version) in a popup box when an application first starts, guess what it becomes?

just the PHP stack ? (1)

johnjones (14274) | about 6 years ago | (#25079039)

they used to produce a PHP implementation of active sync I have not seen a MAPI (outlook compatible) version or anything other than a webmail....

has anyone actually got any details on the technical side of things I can get to their website as drupal keeps buckling under slashdot effect

can I simply hook up outlook to their server ?

regards

John Jones

Sounds Great for SMB (2, Interesting)

joelleo (900926) | about 6 years ago | (#25079045)

Big things missing though - No public folders, which allow automated, customized workflow processes, no single instance store (each attachment is a separate file within the message store,) limited support (enterprise class support 24x7 is > 15,000 euros and their business hours aren't conducive to US business support - GMT+1) and it runs on linux instead of bsd *grin*

With that being said, I can see where a LOT of businesses will be able to make extensive use of this. Best of luck to them!

Blackberry Enterprise Server (1)

pdileonardo (1167437) | about 6 years ago | (#25079183)

Anybody know for sure if this works with a Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES)?

Re:Blackberry Enterprise Server (2, Insightful)

joelleo (900926) | about 6 years ago | (#25079263)

Not until Q4 2008

From the features pdf

http://download.zarafa.com/zarafa/en/Featureslist620.pdf [zarafa.com]

"Integration with the Blackberry Enterprise Server to get email, calendar items, contacts and tasks real-time on your Blackberry. Available Q4 2008"

Re:Blackberry Enterprise Server (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 6 years ago | (#25079485)

That would be an important and even critical issue for me. Further, Active Directory integration would also be of critical importance.

I'd love nothing more than to get my company off of Microsoft in every way conceivable, but I have a lot of people who know no other way for many things and to accept an abrupt change in levels of service aren't in the cards for me. I have a lot of tweaks and services I would have to consider as well -- fancy calendars and functions, public folders and that sort of thing.

What I downloaded was a 5.3MB tarball. I would find it utterly AMAZING to handle all of these things within such a small program. I will be trying this out, but given the size of the download, I don't expect much more than email.

Still looks like everyone else (1)

ipstatic (1367759) | about 6 years ago | (#25079191)

I am currently looking for a groupware solution for our company... But everyone looks to be bumping heads. If someone in the community would just use Postfix, Cyrus or Dovecot and other open source technologies instead of writing their own, maybe there would be a decent groupware solution for linux. Egroupware is close, but their interface sucks and is overly complicated. Zimbra looks nice, but requires their own versions of everything, plus their license is not total open source. Citadel is also close, but they too have a crapy looking interface and also have a different language for a lot of stuff (Rooms etc). Does anyone know of a good groupware solution for Linux?

It's not GPLv3 It's Affero GPL v3. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079195)

Which is an important difference...

Oh, not this shit again? Come on.... (4, Informative)

LibertineR (591918) | about 6 years ago | (#25079243)

Quotas anyone? OWA?

Drop in replacement, you say? Will MOSS or CRM play with it? Will it pick up AD rules and GPOs? What about BCM and Project Server?

OR, is it just another glorified POP/IMAP box?

I read the feature set from the web site.

I know Exchange, I was in the original product group way back when. This AINT no DROP IN REPLACEMENT.

That said, for what it does, good for them!

But people should watch their words. Side by side against Exchange 2007, it would not be a fair fight.

Re:Oh, not this shit again? Come on.... (2, Funny)

shaitand (626655) | about 6 years ago | (#25079361)

'OWA?

Drop in replacement, you say? Will MOSS or CRM play with it? Will it pick up AD rules and GPOs? What about BCM and Project Server? '

Can you say bloat, bloat, and more bloat?

Re:Oh, not this shit again? Come on.... (1)

LibertineR (591918) | about 6 years ago | (#25079465)

Oh, your answer has me sooooo in awe!

"Drop in Replacement" wasn't MY words.

Say what you want about the product, but MUCH of Exchange's value comes from what it works with.

But fine, I'll bite.....

QUOTAS?!?!? Kinda important, wouldn't you say?

Re:Oh, not this shit again? Come on.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079573)

Ehrmmm, am I missing something?
http://zarafa.com/content/features
And I quote: 'Active Directory / LDAP integration
Zarafa can be coupled in existing Active Directory or LDAP based environments. Zarafa will automatically import all your users into the Zarafa database. New users are real-time synchronised to the Zarafa database. Via an additional schema attributes like quota and aliases can be configured.'

So should work I guess...

Re:Oh, not this shit again? Come on.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079519)

Yep..bring in OCS and there is no other product that comes close.

Has anyone been able to download the source code? (1)

nawcom (941663) | about 6 years ago | (#25079299)

Links to packages seem to work, but the link to the source code just gives me some checksum error page. I'm already becoming an enemy with AGPLv3.

Outlook support = pay to play (4, Informative)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | about 6 years ago | (#25079349)

From their FAQ:

If I build Zarafa from source, can I still buy a license for Outlook access?

Technically this is possible, but you always need to have the Zarafa-professional package for Outlook support. This package is available for the default supported distributions.

Re:Outlook support = pay to play (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 6 years ago | (#25079845)

Technically this is possible, but you always need to have the Zarafa-professional package for Outlook support.

I wonder if they mean support as in "compatibility" or as in "tech support"?

We already had this... (1)

alexborges (313924) | about 6 years ago | (#25079419)

But not GPL3

I guess the zimbra folk sold to yahoo early: its a whole other bag of chips now.

MS is running for their money, and they aint gonna get.

Re:We already had this... (1)

VVelox (819695) | about 6 years ago | (#25079533)

If it is better implemented than Zimbra, it would be nice, but that would not be hard to do though.

No different than all the others... (4, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | about 6 years ago | (#25079451)

Yet another open source exchange replacement that didn't open source everything required to interact with outlook.

Without that, whats the point?

Price list Link on the sidebar - ? (1)

mchawi (468120) | about 6 years ago | (#25079471)

It looks like they have an evaluation version for download but there is a price list for the commercial version.

Any ideas on whether the download is feature compliant and if you still have to pay anything to use it (open source license, but is it 'free' to use with no legal issues)?

If you had to pay the lists on the sidebar this is much higher than what we pay for Exchange licenses, even if you take every discount on the page into account.

I would also be interested to know how large the system could scale.

Isn't Exchange the last big reason (2, Insightful)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 6 years ago | (#25079547)

why enterprises run Windows?
Does anybody have links to success stories of large(-ish) corporations converting to Zarafa?

Initializing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079593)

Chair prelaunch autocycle engaged, firing chair in 3...2...1...

OBM? (1)

nuonguy (264254) | about 6 years ago | (#25079653)

Has anyone tried the OBM offering yet? http://www.obm.org/doku.php [obm.org]

I saw them at LinuxWorld in San Francisco recently. Looked very nice.

I can't tell from their front page whether they do MAPI.

150 man-years of work (4, Funny)

nsayer (86181) | about 6 years ago | (#25079741)

Quick! I need a baby in a month! Find me 9 women!

this is not progress (3, Funny)

Qrlx (258924) | about 6 years ago | (#25079767)

What sort of misguided geek thinks it's a good idea to work on a project which facilitates the rest of us getting invited to meetings?

Umm... and why does this matter? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25079775)

As a former MAPI programmer (don't worry - I've largely recovered) I have to point out that this is utterly irrelevant.

The only compelling reason to use an Exchange compatible server is to support Outlook. The issue is that Zarafa charges for the Outlook connector. This is not a new business model, people, and truth be told its been a fairly common paradigm of 'Exchange-killers' for quite awhile now. Nothing is killed until the connector is free. Full stop.

So why doesn't anyone offer a free connector? Because it is ridiculous amount of work to build and it is something corporations are willing to pay for. It's not that replicating the server functionality is difficult, it's that Microsoft twisted and violated open standards into something utterly unholy known as Exchange to ensure that nobody but Microsoft could communicate with it. MAPI is Microsoft's obfuscation of traditional messaging protocols and is infamously poorly documented.

I wrote about this issue for Redmond magazine about 2 years ago and nothing's changed. The connector is still the kicker and, regardless of how nifty the back-end is, until an open-source Outlook connector appears Exchange will remain one of MS's top 5 products.

Nothing but PR to see here. Move along...

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