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Thread: What a pity

  1. #1
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    Default What a pity

    Hi Guys - this looks to be a great product, but from my point of view it is unusable while in a fat format...

    My servers run a number of standard services - apache2, tomcat, ldap, mysql, postgres, postfix, fetchmail, cyrus etc. The install of zimbra upsets this balance - if it could be installed into an existing setup I could see the uptake of this fantastic set of apps being far higher.

    OpenXchange seem to ahve the right way of going about it by having an installation procedure that allows for configuration into an existing setup - their's is a java based application too, so one wonders why the fat path is insisted upon.

    Another consideration is that most people wishing to install your applications have enough knowledge to be able to use configurable options snesibly, and thsoe that don't have enough common sense to be able to follow instructions - again see the OpenXchange documentation (http://mirror.open-xchange.org/ox/EN/community/ )

    I'll be keeping an eye open for future developments as I would very much like to be able to use zimbra.

    All the best

  2. #2
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    We've covered our decision before here:

    http://www.zimbra.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127

    Your right in that we designed 1st for ease of install and sacrificed some flexibility. We may in the future add a Zimbra-lite that allows folks to tinker with the exact mix of dependencies and install. Of course with CVS many have just built their own.

    Personally(and I'll admit I'm biased) I think the OX install is a mess. You've got to go run around the internet collecting the packages you need, then run through pages of steps to set everything up. Zimbra on the other hand is for the most part 2 steps.

    1) Download the software.
    2) Run ./install.sh

    That's it! Super simple, and you've got a mail server with integrated admin/config and built from the best of breed OSS components.
    Looking for new beta users -> Co-Founder of Acompli. Previously worked at Zimbra (and Yahoo! & VMware) since 2005.

  3. #3
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    Of course, I am biased, as well.

    See, Zimbra has allowed me to implement an e-mail solution rather fast, and speed is everything.

    It might be a good idea for you to look through the ldap and mysql tables to try and firgure out a way to get zimbra to work on an existing setup...thus contributing to the community.

    word.

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    I can see your point, don't get me wrong - I can see why the decission was made ... difficult installations are a pain and put people off. BUT, at the end of the day, the beautifull thing about Linux is its flexibility, SuSE put SLOX out to the community to become OpenXchange so that it wasn't a dependant install, and even then it didn't interfere with any other packages or their configuration.

    OpenXchange requires a small amount of preparation - a very healthy thing as it makes admins think about what they are doing and plan things properly. You don;t have to run around the net - especially if you have Debian or install apt-get. There are even install scripts available to do the whole thing for you, including downloading and installing the packages you don't have. Front ends for admin are available too.

    It might not be as pretty (or as slick) as Zimbra, but I can run it along side a number of other products without any problems what-so-ever.

    I can't host Zimbra for my client base because of the compatability issues running all on one server.

    The tomcat issue was a real pain on the install as it didn't tell me that it needed a JRE update - I was already running tomcat 5, but the zimbra install put its own version into /opt/zimbra.

    I'd really love to investigate how to get around this because I think Zimbra is an outstanding product and I'd like to look at integrating my own apps into it. But I'm only a one man band, and I can't afford to spend the time on it otherwise my bills go unpaid, and my 8 year old autistic son doesn't get any time, or I get no sleep for a year.

    If I do get the time to do it I will, with thegreatest of pleasure.

    Meanwhile all I can do is try to persuade clients to run a second server and support the project financially.
    Last edited by alangb; 04-16-2006 at 09:09 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by alangb
    ... But I'm only a one man band, and I can't afford to spend the time on it otherwise my bills go unpaid...
    I am also a one man band with several users to support at work, a few mouths to feed at home and above average medical expenses etc... This is precisely why Zimbra made the most sense for me ... no fuss no muss ... I needed something to go up quick and painless in a matter of minutes to replace a failed Mail Enable server... as features are added I am only more pleased with my decision and the Zimbra Team.
    As for add-ins I've found after a slight change in perspective, the Zimbra platform as a whole is quite flexible.
    Consider that I have tried OX, Scalix straight QMail, Postfix and Exim over the years (as well as exchange, mail enable, ipswitch on the evil empire OS).

    I've been in the computer industry since 1983 as both a developer and hardware support person, I am very impressed with this product and recommend it fully [/soapbox]

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Dux T
    I am also a one man band with several users to support at work, a few mouths to feed at home and above average medical expenses etc... This is precisely why Zimbra made the most sense for me ... no fuss no muss ... I needed something to go up quick and painless in a matter of minutes to replace a failed Mail Enable server... as features are added I am only more pleased with my decision and the Zimbra Team.
    As for add-ins I've found after a slight change in perspective, the Zimbra platform as a whole is quite flexible.
    Consider that I have tried OX, Scalix straight QMail, Postfix and Exim over the years (as well as exchange, mail enable, ipswitch on the evil empire OS).

    I've been in the computer industry since 1983 as both a developer and hardware support person, I am very impressed with this product and recommend it fully [/soapbox]
    I take your point - our development paths are probably slightly different, so my setup is probably quite different to yours. I'm all for discovering different ways to do things, but sometimes the longterm ideal setup has to be semi-sacrificed for a system that is working very well for my purposes. I reall y can't justify the time it would take to swap over when it is only a 'wouldn't it be nice to do it that way' rather than a 'we've got to change over to that way' (!).

    I'm still hoping that I'll get some play time to look into this further.

    All the best to you all.

  7. #7
    gjhorne Guest

    Default Very Microsoftish Response

    If you are running Linux why do you expect your customers to only follow a text wizard and thats the only way? That is one of the reasons why MS products are in mess for the security arena. You harden it and then a wizard install updates to be helpful and opens up ports and services to help you. While you follow this approcah you will ALWAYS have a security problem. From a Linux prospective to dump everything into a /opt dir and make the install, force the user to put configs with data or at least in a similar area, and do certs and everything else etc. and then say this is easier for our users then your thinking belongs in the MS world. With this thinking your product by design and culture will then be insecure.

  8. #8
    dijichi2 is offline OpenSource Builder & Moderator
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    From a Linux prospective to dump everything into a /opt dir and make the install, force the user to put configs with data or at least in a similar area, and do certs and everything else etc. and then say this is easier for our users then your thinking belongs in the MS world. With this thinking your product by design and culture will then be insecure.
    Nonsense. to quote from the front page of your own website:
    What are the ingredients of good security?
    Simplicity is the key.
    The complexity and comprehensiveness of the zimbra packages mean that anything other than their current deployment model would make security unmanageable to the vast majority of the target audience. Zimbra alters what would be existing components of the OS for its own purpose, sometimes significantly, and expects to retain control of them through it's meta(ish)-config system. To use existing components, seperate out the binaries,config,data etc into say LSB compliant format would almost certainly compromise usability, flexibilty and security of the system. While it would be eventually nice if they work out a way to do this, currently I can see no compelling reason to do so other than perhaps making it more platform agnostic.

    To automatically dictate and generate config and certificates makes the product far more secure than were it not to do so, as Zimbra is much better at doing this than 99.9% of the people doing the installs. Very (very) few admins truly understand secure PKI. Zimbra does not open ports in a firewall, but of course binds services to ports (how else is it going to work), and these are easily changeable in the wizards and by hand in the config. Trying to configure zimbra from scratch without the install wizard would be a massive barrier to entry.

    There is no reason a consolidated directory structure cannot be just as secure.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by alangb View Post
    I can see your point, don't get me wrong - I can see why the decission was made ... difficult installations are a pain and put people off. BUT, at the end of the day, the beautifull thing about Linux is its flexibility, SuSE put SLOX out to the community to become OpenXchange so that it wasn't a dependant install, and even then it didn't interfere with any other packages or their configuration.

    OpenXchange requires a small amount of preparation - a very healthy thing as it makes admins think about what they are doing and plan things properly. You don;t have to run around the net - especially if you have Debian or install apt-get. There are even install scripts available to do the whole thing for you, including downloading and installing the packages you don't have. Front ends for admin are available too.

    It might not be as pretty (or as slick) as Zimbra, but I can run it along side a number of other products without any problems what-so-ever.

    I can't host Zimbra for my client base because of the compatability issues running all on one server.

    The tomcat issue was a real pain on the install as it didn't tell me that it needed a JRE update - I was already running tomcat 5, but the zimbra install put its own version into /opt/zimbra.

    I'd really love to investigate how to get around this because I think Zimbra is an outstanding product and I'd like to look at integrating my own apps into it. But I'm only a one man band, and I can't afford to spend the time on it otherwise my bills go unpaid, and my 8 year old autistic son doesn't get any time, or I get no sleep for a year.

    If I do get the time to do it I will, with thegreatest of pleasure.

    Meanwhile all I can do is try to persuade clients to run a second server and support the project financially.
    Zimbra works quite well in a Xen instance (I have been running it on Xen since Beta M2 all the way to current). And frankly, given the other priorities in your life, I would strongly suggest that this is the best way to move forward.

    I have a Pentium D - 64bit (not dual core) 3GHz (iirc), with 1GB of Ram, and 120Gb of disk. I split that box into three instances - a dev instance (also the hypervisor) with 384 mb of ram, the Zimbra instance with 512mb of ram, and a web server with 128mb of RAM. I have 25 users, 10 domains (web and email), a very secure fwbuilder firewall on the hyper-visor, and the entire thing works grand.

    I have a three ip addresses routed to the box, but even that isn't needed. NAT would work just fine.

    Trust me. Integrating Zimbra is a pain. Even doing the development build the first time is a pain. Whatever you can do to trivialize the amount of development time and implementation time is great.

    [edit] And I forgot to note. This is better for security to boot.

  10. #10
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    Talking This gets really funny!

    I've just downloaded latest opensource version of Zimbra thinking this is the perfect moment to trial it with a new customer who will go crazy for it.

    The install starts - bang! it won't work on a 64 bit machine - 'not to worry' says I, 'I'll search through the forums and find the answer no doubt'. I find the answer and ... you've got to download lots of bits from all over the place and then compile them and then ... ... ...!!!!

    So what's the difference between this and OpenExchange of which the Zimbra community complain bitterly about how difficult it is for the average sysadmin to install because you have to download packages from all over the placve and then compile them and then ... ... ... !!!!

    Back to open exchange I think - at least it's easy to install on a 64 bit machine!

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