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Thread: Zimbra OSS with Outlook 2007?

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Zimbra OSS with Outlook 2007?

    I have searched for numerous hours looking over threads and not finding any concrete answer. Here is my situation.

    Our company has 8 employees and during our R&D for our new company, we know we will have 100's of employees within 2 years.

    We started with a Windows 2003 Small Business server and so we used Exchange. But in my infinite wisdom, I pushed that we move to more of a Linux backbone so that not only can we save thousands of $$ on the Open Source Products, but the better stability and of course the increased security we would enjoy from using Linux. And less worry from Viruses (which has made my job much easier!!!)

    So back in November we made our move to remove the domain and the Exchange Hog from the Server, migrated to Linux and then installed Zimbra OSS as we can not justify the cost of the NE version yet (we need an income to pay for it .

    Everyone is using the AJAX interface with no complaints, in fact we all love it. Except one, our CEO is always traveling and uses his Notebook and Windows Mobile 5 PDA Phone. Well as you may have guessed he currently syncs his phone with Outlook, he uses IMAP with Outlook and that works perfectly, but his Calendar and Contacts don't. I keep seeing that Zimbra supports .ics format, but I can not find any real instructions on how to use it, and I keep reading that I could create a GAL and have his Outlook sync with that, but again no instructions.

    And yes I know that if we just purchased the NE version the issue is resolved, but the cost is simply infeasible for us. I have seen it written many times that if we could just buy a license for his outlook that would resolve this, as he is the only one that needs it.

    Now I could try to migrate him fully to Linux and use Evolution, and I have his machine currently dual booting to Fedora 8, but the version of Evolution you support is not supported on Fedora 8, so again I am stonewalled.

    So now I am being forced to reinstall Windows 2003 SBS and rebuild the domain, as he has already spent thousands on his current hardware (Notebook/WM5 Phone) and will not just spending another thousand. So again I have to hate Windows, because they have made a superior product that just works.

    I am sorry to rant, but I have spent the better part of a year to get it so we can be a Linux shop, but I dont pay the bills, and it is sad that a Calendar and Contact List would stop my migration.

    The only other solution would be to have him manually update his Outlook and Zimbra independently, but you well know that would not be an option. The next employee we look to hire will be a Administrative Assistant, but that will not be until late summer early Fall, and then we could just make her do it...

    Anyways sorry for the Rant, but I wanted to say thank you for such a great product. Next year I will see if I can make the move again, but who know by then. His friends are showing him how great Sharepoint is... dear god help me...

  2. #2
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    Default ics and GAL

    So no one really knows if iCalendar Format and creating a GAL would be able to help solve the issue above?

    Or is it stick with Exchange it is a better fit for the Small Businesses out there?

  3. #3
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    I'm in a similar situation supporting my wifes small company. She has 5 or 6 employees, and we've been using the open sourced version. My deal with more with mobile support than Outlook. My wife and her employees are on the road all day. We finally bought the NE version with mobile support and got everyone smart phones. All I can say is everyone is happy and more productive having access to email and calendar all day long no matter where they are located. It was well worth the money.
    Release 6.0.2_GA_1912.UBUNTU8_64 UBUNTU8_64 NETWORK edition + Mobile Option
    Activesync with Moto Q9C, HTC Touch Pro, Palm Pro, & Palm Pre

  4. #4
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    Have you looked at the J2ME client for his phone? I haven't played with it personally, so I don't know much about it, but it does contacts, calendar etc.

  5. #5
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    Beyond the J2ME client, which is a good suggestion, if you can't get the CEO to give up Outlook there are a couple of things to look at. First, really need a better idea of what you are talking about as far as "Contacts". Are you referring to your company directory or the CEO's own contacts (business associates, friends, family, etc.)? If it is the former then you should look at setting up a Directory (LDAP) address book in Outlook. The issues here are I'm not sure this type of address book will sync with the WM5 phone and you would need to open up your firewall to allow LDAP queries from the outside. If it is the latter, why not just use Outlook's built in Contacts and forget about Zimbra? Do his Contacts need to be shared with other people or something like that? I'm assuming this data doesn't change all that often, and both Zimbra and Outlook support importing and exporting the Contacts in .csv format, so you could occasionally sync between Zimbra and Outlook if necessary.

    As far as the Calendar you might want to look at User Migration wiki page, which discusses the various ways you can access the calendar via http links. I don't have access to Outlook 2007, only 2000 and 2003, but a quick Google search shows that 2007 does seem to have support for subscribing to Internet calendars. This may be a way to get the Zimbra and Outlook calendars in sync. Again, not sure about syncing to the phone, but may be a place to start.

  6. #6
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    soxfan,

    Thank you for your suggestions, on the Contact List it would be his personal that he uses, and just exporting or updating the his contacts would not be hard, as you said it is something that does not change that often.

    On the Calendar, I am looking at how I can get a calendar to sync. With WM2003 and above, they sync with Outlook, so all I need to have is Outlook syncing with Zimbra, he syncs his phone with his notebook twice a day as it also assists in charging his phone (This makes him sync it more).

    The only information I can find that allows two-way syncing is with Thunderbird/Lightning. I can not find anything on Outlook. Has anyone gotten this to work?

  7. #7
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    The Outlook connector is only available to the NE version. I don't recall hearing of anyone using Outlook on the OSS and having the calendar sync.

    If he's using Outlook exclusively, and not accessing the web interface, then he could just use the built-in calendar there.
    Last edited by p24t; 03-06-2008 at 11:07 AM.

  8. #8
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    So again, I don't have access to Outlook 2007 in order to try anything, but there seems to be some indication that you can subscribe to an "Internet Calendar", which if I'm reading correctly, is just a calendar in .ics format. See this link as an example of what I am talking about: View and Subscribe to Internet Calendars. It appears that this is "read-only", and since you mention "two-way syncing" it might not work for you.

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