Here is a summary of this week’s conference call. A few brief reminders:
- Conference calls are every Tuesday and open to all using either the FreeConferenceCall.com VoIP app or via a dial-in number: https://www.freeconferencecall.com/wall/zetalliance
- Each week’s call agenda can be found at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uUUDJpwp2CAylU6lxtbEdVcUX_qSbciyes6gLTWw2fY/edit
- Constructive feedback on these call summaries is always welcome.
April 7, 2020 Conference Call Summary
New Zimbra Connector for Outlook (ZCO) Released
John H. reported that version 9.0 of the ZCO has been released (https://www.zimbra.com/downloads/zimbra ... r-outlook/). It is compatible not only with Zimbra 9, but also with 8.8.15 and newer. The new ZCO version fixes all known issues described in the 8.8.15 Patch 8 release notes, pertaining to Outlook crashes or app hanging when performing searches or synchronization with a Zimbra server. John also reminded everyone that for any Outlook users who are running the ZCO version that was released with 8.8.15 Patch 2 (or earlier), that those Outlook users will need to manually update the ZCO since the ZCO auto-update feature was broken in ZCO versions that shipped with 8.8.15 Patch 2 and earlier.
How To Push Out ZCO 9.0 to Outlook Users From Zimbra 8.8.15
Randy L. asked about the proper steps to push out ZCO 9.0 to Outlook users from a Zimbra mailbox server running 8.8.15. John H. suggested referring to this Wiki article: https://wiki.zimbra.com/wiki/Zmupdatedownload . John E. suggested logging in to the Zimbra Administration console, then navigating to Tools and Migration > Client Upload, where new ZCO versions can be uploaded. Noah P. asked if uploading new ZCO versions using this Client Upload feature will update ZCO on all mailbox servers in a cluster. Mark S. reported finding a mention in the Zimbra Administration guide that indicated that the Client Upload feature only installs a new ZCO version on a single mailbox server, so the aforementioned Wiki article is likely to be a safer way to update the ZCO version for Zimbra clusters.
Zimbra 9 Release and Upgrading To Zimbra 9
Zimbra 9 became generally available as of April 7th. Randy L. asked if the recommended upgrade path from 8.8.x to 9.0 involves an in-place upgrade or a side-by-side migration. Those on the call said an in-place upgrade works fine, and a side-by-side migration is only required if upgrading to Zimbra 9.0 from a version earlier than 8.8.
Changes To Zimbra’s Open Source Policy
John E. explained that Zimbra 9 introduces a change to Synacor’s open source policy for Zimbra. Starting with Zimbra 9, a binary version of Zimbra 9 will no longer be released to the community and will instead only be made available to Zimbra Network Edition customers. There are currently no plans to release the source code for Zimbra 9 to the community. Zimbra 8.8.15 will remain open source for the community and continue to be supported for the remainder of its lifecycle through December, 31, 2024 (https://www.zimbra.com/support/support- ... lifecycle/). Version 8.8.15 will also continue to receive patches during this time frame. John E. described this new model for Zimbra 9 as “open core” where the open source products on which Zimbra is built will continue to be freely available, but the Zimbra 9 product itself will not be open source. Marc G. asked if Synacor’s plans involved introducing new features to Zimbra 8.8.15, or if the focus for introducing new features will shift exclusively to version 9. John E. said that he did not have the answer to this question. John also shared that starting with Zimbra 9, a source code license will be made available to customers who are licensing Zimbra Network Edition.
Reactions To Zimbra Open Source Policy Change
Noah P. said that part of his customer base values that Zimbra is open source and that it has been a marketing advantage over other proprietary email platforms. Marc G. said he felt this change will be hard for the open source community to support. John E. shared his personal opinion that Zimbra has struggled for several years to engage the open source community, as the ratio of people using Zimbra, compared to the number of people contributing back to Zimbra, has been very low. He said the biggest difference currently between Zimbra 8.8.15 and 9.0 is the addition of the new, Modern UI and welcomes feedback from Zimbra partners and the open source community on this policy change. Mark S. shared that many developers he has discussed it with have said that they have found it very difficult (if not impossible) to contribute to the Zimbra project in the past, mainly due to issues with an earlier version of the contributor’s agreement, which was finally updated a couple of years ago. Randy L. mentioned that another open source project, VyOS (https://www.vyos.io/community/), overcame issues with soliciting contributions back to their open source project by making binaries available to those who could demonstrate a meaningful contribution to the project in code or documentation work and suggested that such an approach might be something that Synacor should look at too. John E. invited Zimbra partners concerned about continued open source access to make a business case explaining how the loss of open source access would have a financial business impact for Synacor.
New Modern UI in Zimbra 9
In Zimbra 9, both the Classic UI (AJAX-based – same as found in 8.8.15) and the new Modern UI (React-based), are available. Marc G. asked for clarification about a comment in the Zimbra 9 release notes (https://wiki.zimbra.com/wiki/Zimbra_Releases/9.0.0) that states the Modern UI is recommended to be set as the default UI. John H. said the Modern UI has been recommended as the default, so mailbox owners can begin acclimating to using the new user interface. The Modern UI does not yet have feature parity with the Classic UI but is expected to eventually. Noah P. asked if there was a road map available that lists the specific features not yet available in the Modern UI. John E. said a road map has been created but remains an internal document at Synacor. Marc G. said that he finds the Modern UI to be very clean, with a nice user experience, but said that it may be difficult for mailbox owners to switch immediately, as many users are likely to miss features not yet available in the Modern UI. John E. explained this is why Zimbra will continue to support the Classic UI as the Modern UI continues to work toward reaching feature parity.
Zimlets in Zimbra 9
Randy L. asked if the new Zimlets introduced in Zimbra 9 will be available for both the Classic UI and the Modern UI. John E. said that the new Zimlets are only available within the Modern UI. He also explained that existing Zimlets, written for use with Zimbra 8.8.x, will need to be ported to a new Zimlet framework used in Zimbra 9. Barry D. is currently working on a guide that will provide guidance to Zimlet authors on the details of the changes needed to upgrade and is anticipated to be published soon.
Security Incident at Email.it
Mark S. mentioned two articles that he read about an email service provider, Email.it:
Using the Zimbra Reporting Tool (ZRT) With Zimbra 9
Zimbra Business Service Providers (BSPs) are required to use the ZRT to report their software license usage to Synacor. The ZRT determines the type of license used for each mailbox, based on which features are enabled. Marc G. reported noticing in Zimbra 9 that certain features could not be disabled in the Modern UI (for example, the calendar), which could cause the ZRT to report inaccurate license usage for a mailbox user. He expressed concern that this will not only create licensing usage inaccuracies for BSPs, but also confusion for mailbox owners, when they see features available that would ordinarily not be included in the service to which they have subscribed. Marc pointed out that this may prevent many BSPs from rolling out the Modern UI to their customers. John E. said that a new ZRT is in development, combined with a new usage reporting portal web site, and was expected to be made available later in the year, but no further details are available at this time.