Greetings Zimbra team,
I am currently in a delima.
I am an IT professional, as a matter of fact an Asst Director of IT at a major private university's business school (consistently top 25 in with Harvard, etc). We currently run MS products (Exchange 2003) as there are no other decent alternative solutions available. I am also a geek in my private life. I strongly desire to provide some decent groupware functionality to my family. Currently under the guise of egroupware (best I've found, not really "decent" (IMHO). Further, I carry geek gadgets, for instance, a Sprint PPC-6700.
I have spent the last few weeks desperately seeking for a (home) solution to solve the following needs: Easy deployment, user provisioning, system management, end to end synchronization (server -> web -> thick client -> PPC/Palm(even if via outlook), and obviously affordable (ie, no personal budget for this at all). I've looked at egroupware (no -> PPC/Palm, unweildy), Java Enterprise System (deployment/administrative nightmare), Oracle Collaboration Server (license/$$) and of course, Zimbra (which I've been following for a while now). In short, I can find no solution, at all, which satisfies my personal needs. I have a very strong affinity for Zimbra and have been playing with it since M1, but obviously Network edition doesn't meet my license/$$ requirements and the open edition doesn't support my end to end synch requirements (outlook connector).
This got me doing some deep thinking.
Proposal: I would like to propose that you allow a license for the network edition that allows for personal/non-commercial use.
There is unquestionably a signifcant population of folks out there in my (more or less) situation. Have a desire/need for something along the lines of Zimbra Network that isn't satisfied elsewhere for whatever reason. That would definitely use Zimbra Network to fill this need given the oportunity. This gives you a skilled installed base of administrators and word of mouth salesmen (and potentially creates some career options for us).
The folks that are exactly in my shoes are decision makers. I have the ability to evaluate, recommend, purchase and deploy a product in our enterprise to meet these needs. Having a product deployed in a personal environment, that I was really pleased with, would definitely carry some weight in that process. (Please understand that I'm not dangling carrots, bribing or anything else, just stating some observations regarding how the world works). Same really works for non-decision makers, as they'll sell to those that are.
You have a bunch of happy people out there. (ie. a larger community, a very signficant benefit)
Honestly, I can't think of any serious negatives. You don't lose this business, as (for instance) I'm not able to pay $28/yr for each member of my family to have access to such a product. I'll just continue dealing with an inferior product (or, I'm sure many folks would be comfortable enough violating a license (ie, running Exchange, OCS, etc) in this situation).
There is a concern about an enterprise environment violating license, but is that situation likely do be any more prevelant than in your current licensing scheme? In my experience though, this just doesn't happen very often at all with back-end software (front-end, yes, just because nobody really manages or monitors licenses, not malice).
From what I understand, you are not able to distribute portions of your source due to use of software you've licensed. If your license with them is royalty based, that would definitely be a problem, but from what I'm seeing, you're under faily normal licenses that wouldn't prohibit (or cause expense) to distribute a binary copy (acknowledge this is a guess).
That's all I have. I didn't write this in version, proofing and going over concepts. I've been thinking about it a bit, but what I've written here is quickly written and basic. I would ask that, even though that's the case, give it a little thought. I've tried to imagine what your primary concerns and benefits are and address them. I am well aware that there may be issues that I'm not aware of, and in that case. . hey, I tried ; )
There are some other options as well, all considering a non-commercial/personal license. Limit user 25/50 or so. Reduced per-user/year license $5 max, etc.
Thanks for your time,
P.S. I will be happy to participate in any dialog, here or privately.