August 2020 Zeta Alliance Weekly Call Summaries

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August 2020 Zeta Alliance Weekly Call Summaries

Postby rleiker » Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:52 am

Hello Zimbra Community,

Here is a summary of this week’s conference call. A few brief reminders:

August 4, 2020 Conference Call Summary

Migrating Zimbra Backup Data For A Data Center Migration
Noah P. shared that he is moving his Zimbra servers between data centers. He said he has found that 1-2 of his Zimbra mail stores are not able to complete the move within a scheduled maintenance window due to their large disk size, so he is using rsync to perform an initial online copy of each mail store’s disk to the new data center location outside of the maintenance window, so that a final rsync delta copy can be performed within the maintenance window for a fast cut-over. He asked if he should disable the real-time backup feature in Zimbra while the initial rsync & final delta copy is running, or if he should keep the real-time backups enabled. Cine recommended leaving the real-time scanner in Zimbra disabled until the final rsync delta copy is complete. He explained that leaving it enabled is likely to lead to concurrency or corruption issues in the backup data.

Unusual Mobile NG Sync Issues
Mark S. asked if anyone has seen unusual situations lately with Mobile NG. He described an issue he encountered while doing a search for a contact on his phone, which is setup to use EAS (Exchange ActiveSync) version 16.1, where the contact could not be found, but he confirmed the contact was definitely on his phone. Mark said he collected logs for Zimbra Support and opened a support case.

Mark shared another issue one of his customers reported, where the customer’s phone is setup to use ActiveSync and it repeatedly requests the mailbox folder list from the Zimbra server during synchronization, according to the Zimbra server logs. This results in the phone never completing a synchronization. He said he noticed this issue seems to have started in 8.8.15 Patch 11 and that it seems to be affecting both Android and iOS native email apps. He reported that he opened Zimbra Support case # 01043365.

Noah P. shared that since upgrading to EAS 16.1 in Zimbra 8.8.15 Patch 11, that he has seen an issue where message downloading seems to takes an extended amount of time to complete.

Cine said one possible reason for the issues that Mark and Noah shared may be due to EAS phone clients that seem to have an undocumented internal time out limit for ActiveSync to complete a synchronization. If an EAS client does not receive the complete mailbox folder list within the EAS client’s time out limit from the Zimbra server, the EAS client seems to unexpectedly abort the request, then the client restarts the synchronization again, even while the Zimbra server continues to send the mailbox folder list. This makes the situation worse when the EAS client self aborts the synchronization process. This problem is particularly apparent when an EAS client attempts to synchronize a Zimbra mailbox with a large number of folders. Noah said one of his customers that is experiencing this issue has 1,600 folders in their mailbox, while another has 400 folders.

Mark S. suggested that someone should create a list of all of the limits that apply to ActiveSync sessions, such as the maximum number of mailbox folders supported, maximum number of characters allowed in a folder name, and so on. Cine said the challenge in writing a document describing the limits in ActiveSync, is that ActiveSync is a client-driven protocol, where each phone manufacturer sets their own arbitrary limits. He also explained that it is very difficult to tell which Android versions support which EAS versions. To illustrate the differences in EAS implementations, he shared that Google has 900 lines for code for their ActiveSync implementation while Samsung has 1,800 lines of code, with both implementations seeming to accomplish the same functionality. He said this is puzzling as to why one implementation is twice the size of the other.

Native Zimbra 9 App For Phones/Tablets
John E. asked everyone on the call if having a native Zimbra 9 app for phones/tablets would make a positive difference for this customers experiencing issues with native ActiveSync implementations on their customers’ phones. John explained that the Modern UI in Zimbra 9 is packaged as a PWA (Progressive Web App; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressi ... pplication) which should be installable on phones/tablets, although with some limited capabilities. Mark S. said that asking customers to login to their email with a web browser on their phones is usually a non-starter. John E. explained that a PWA allows the app to function either in disconnected or connected mode and that it looks and functions just like a native phone app. PWAs have limitations related to notifications, and running in the background, as compared to native apps. Randy L. mentioned that this sounds very similar to the Adobe PhoneGap project, where it is possible to write phone apps in HTML code, which PhoneGap can then compile in to an installable app that essentially runs as a chromeless web browser on a phone. John also described some of the restrictions that apply to app distribution through the Google and Apple app stores.


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Re: August 2020 Zeta Alliance Weekly Call Summaries

Postby rleiker » Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:22 pm

Hello Zimbra Community,

Here is a summary of this week’s conference call. A few brief reminders:

August 11, 2020 Conference Call Summary

Folllow-Up To July 21st Call Discussion
Marc G. asked if John E. had any follow-up to share related to the earlier discussion in the July 21st call about a Zimbra integration for WHMCS. John said he did not have anything new to share yet, but that he is putting together a number of details and hopes to have some updates to share soon.

John Eastman’s New Position At Synacor
John E. announced that he has officially changed positions at Synacor and is now the Vice President of Business Development for Zimbra.

Migrating Groups, Channels, and Spaces In Zimbra Connect
Mark S. said that he noticed in the Zextras release notes (https://docs.zextras.com/zextras-suite- ... /home.html) that with the latest Zextras release (version 3.1.1), it is now possible to move Zimbra Connect Groups, Channels, and Spaces between Zimbra mailbox servers, which previously required deleting & re-creating each to move between mailbox servers.

Time Interval Between Zextras Releases And Inclusion In Zimbra
Mark S. asked what is the interval of time between when Zextras makes a new release, and when it is incorporated in to Zimbra. Cine said that Zextras commits their new releases in to a repo, which the Zimbra developers then normally include in to the next Zimbra patch or Zimbra minor/major version, although there is no direct timing correlation between Zextras and Zimbra releases. For example, Zextras recently released version 3.1.1 which is anticipated to be included in the upcoming Zimbra 8.8.15 Patch 13 and 9.0 Patch 6. John H. said that Zimbra merges the Zextras releases in to Zimbra internally, several days after Zextras makes a release, once it passes testing. Mark S. also asked how does the schedule work for updates to the Zimbra Administrators Guide (https://zimbra.github.io/zimbra-9/adminguide.html) for changes published in the Zextras documentation. John E. said that it is the responsibility of the Zimbra documentation team to make those updates. Cine commented that he also contributes to the Administrators Guide via Git pull requests, which are later merged into the Administrators Guide by the Zimbra documentation team.

Issue With Synchronizing Calendar Invites From Office 365
Marc G. said he is having trouble reliably synchronizing calendar invites from an Office 365 user in to his Zimbra account. He said the calendar invites seem to be disappearing on their own, or showing calendar invites on the wrong day/time. Marc said he first noticed this issue following a recent update to iOS 13. Mark S. said that he and Noah P. already have a number of open support cases with Zimbra relating to calendar sync issues and that he has observed the same issues in iOS 14. As a workaround, Mark said he found a Microsoft knowledge base article describing how to get an iCalendar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICalendar) file from an Office 365 account he has setup, which Mark added to his Zimbra account, using the Zimbra Web Client, as an ICS calendar feed, allowing him to see the Office 365 calendar within the native Zimbra calendar. This allows Mark to accept calendar invites from his Office 365 account, while having them visible in Zimbra. Randy L. said that he also has a customer using Outlook 365 for the Mac reporting the same issue with calendar invites appearing on the wrong day/time.

Microsoft’s Phase Out of Exchange Web Services (EWS) Support
John E. said that Microsoft has announced their intent to phase out EWS support for Outlook for Mac, and that Microsoft has traditionally always considered ActiveSync for use by Android and iOS devices for syncing, and EWS for use by Outlook for Mac for syncing. Randy L. shared an article describing this change, in addition to others for Outlook for Mac: https://www.theregister.com/2020/06/12/ ... k_changes/ . John E. explained that the replacement for EWS, known as Microsoft Sync, is seeking to require Outlook for Mac users to aggregate all of their email accounts in to an online Office 365 account, rather than setting up the individual email accounts within Outlook. He said that Microsoft tried a similar strategy for Outlook for Windows some time ago, but there was significant push back at the time, so Microsoft backed off from the change for Windows users, but seems to be moving forward with it on the Outlook for Mac side. Zimbra Network Edition has long supported mailbox sync using both ActiveSync and EWS.

Native Zimbra Apps For Desktops And Mobile Devices
Mark G. asked how much is involved with writing a Zimbra app that can be installed on a desktop or mobile device. John E. said it is very involved and that Synacor did it once for a particular large customer in the past, but this was a custom app that was not publicly released. He also commented that another effort for a native app was the now deprecated Zimbra Desktop product, but Zimbra Desktop proved too difficult to continue supporting, since it essentially included the full Zimbra server stack running as a desktop app. Marc G. asked why Synacor does not seem to have a strategy for building native desktop or mobile apps. John E. said that Synacor does have apps for Android and iOS devices, but they are not being released at this time, due to complications with partner branding and partner management of the apps in the respective app stores. John said another challenge in releasing the native mobile Zimbra apps is what kind of uptake the marketplace would have, since many people do not want to install yet another mail client on their mobile device, as compared to using their device’s native client. John E. explained that advantages of a Zimbra native app would be the elimination of the reliance on ActiveSync and EWS licensing from Microsoft (reducing cost for both Synacor and Zimbra Administrators), and avoiding the limitations imposed by the ActiveSync protocol. But a disadvantage would be the lack of openess for fully supporting as many native apps on mobile devices as possible.

Installing the Zimbra 9.0 Modern UI As A Native Desktop App
Randy L. said that the primary reason that his customers opt to install Outlook on their desktops, is because they prefer to avoid opening a web browser and needing to login to access their email, in favor instead of launching an app that grants immediate access to their mailboxes. A secondary reason customers cite is that they have more familiarity with Outlook, but this is less of an issue, since much of the Zimbra Web Client works very similar to Outlook. He asked if Synacor’s strategy with the Modern UI in Zimbra 9.0 is to make this a viable alternative to Outlook, as an installable desktop app. John E. said that while this is possible, this is not quite the use case that the Modern UI is intended to fulfill, since the Modern UI will have certain limitations that apply to all PWAs (Progressive Web Apps; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressi ... pplication), such as only having limited storage available to store a portion of a user’s mailbox (for either online or offline use), rather than the complete mailbox, as would be the case with Outlook. For Mac desktop users, John suggested considering the Epichrome project (https://github.com/dmarmor/epichrome) which allows for setting up the Zimbra Web Client (Classic or Modern UI) so that it looks and behaves like a locally installed app on the desktop. For Windows users, Cine suggested the comparable option of creating a desktop or Start menu shortcut that points to Chrome using the command line switch “--app=https://mail.yourdomain.com”, and reported that 70-80% of the customers he proposes this to have found it to be a suitable alternative to installing Outlook on the desktop, while still benefiting from everything the Zimbra Web Client offers.
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Re: August 2020 Zeta Alliance Weekly Call Summaries

Postby jeastman » Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:49 pm

John E. said that Microsoft has announced their intent to phase out EWS support for Outlook for Mac, and that Microsoft has traditionally always considered ActiveSync for use by Android and iOS devices for syncing, and EWS for use by Outlook for Mac for syncing.


It appears this is only for the M365 version of Outlook. Customers will need to ensure they have the "right" version of Outlook installed to continue using Outlook.
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Re: August 2020 Zeta Alliance Weekly Call Summaries

Postby rleiker » Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:44 pm

Hello Zimbra Community,

Here is a summary of this week’s conference call. A few brief reminders:

August 18, 2020 Conference Call Summary

Known Outlook Incompatibilities with EWS and the ZCO
Following up on the August 11th call discussion related to Microsoft’s phase-out of Exchange Web Services (EWS) support in Outlook for Mac, John E. said that this phase out appears to only be related to the newest Office 365 version for Mac, while older versions do not seem to be affected. He also said the app store versions of Outlook for Windows are known to not be compatible with the Zimbra Connector for Outlook (ZCO). John H. added that he also knows of Outlook versions that ship pre-installed with Dell and Lenovo PCs that lack the necessary components to support the ZCO. John E. added that he has read reports online of others indicating they cannot setup iCloud or Gmail email accounts in the newest Office 365 version for Macs either, but has not been able to personally confirm this in his testing.

Writing Zimlets That Use the Apollo Client and GraphQL
Barry D. said that he wrote a new guide for using the Apollo Client and GraphQL schema available in Zimbra: https://blog.zimbra.com/2020/08/zimbra- ... -a-zimlet/ . He said that, unlike the prior SkillZ series of articles (https://blog.zimbra.com/zimlets/) which were more introductory in nature, this is a more advanced guide. John E. asked if there is additional documentation available for the GraphQL schema exposed in Zimbra. Barry said that unlike the existing SOAP documentation which is extensive, the GraphQL documentation is currently minimal.
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Re: August 2020 Zeta Alliance Weekly Call Summaries

Postby rleiker » Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:45 pm

Hello Zimbra Community,

Here is a summary of this week’s conference call. A few brief reminders:

August 25, 2020 Conference Call Summary

Soon To Be Released Patches for 8.8.15 and 9.0
John E. reported that new patch releases for 8.8.15 and 9.0 are just about to come out, tentatively targeted for Wednesday, August 26th.

Dependency Error Installing New Zimbra Usage Reporting Tool
Gary C. said that when attempting to install the new Zimbra Usage Reporting Tool (ZURT) on Ubuntu, he was not able to proceed, due to a missing package dependency. John H. asked if Gary could clear Ubuntu’s local repo package cache with an apt command equivalent to “yum clean metadata”, which may help resolve the issue.

Questions and Answers About the New Zimbra Usage Reporting Tool
Randy L. said that following the announcement by Tara B. last week of the availability of a new Zimbra Usage Reporting Tool (ZURT) that replaces the prior Zimbra Reporting Tool (ZRT) for Zimbra BSPs (Business Service Providers), he asked Tara if BSPs needed to install the ZURT on a particular day of the month to avoid the possibility of double mailbox usage billing. Tara said that the ZURT can be installed at anytime during a given month since the old ZRT and the new ZURT are on separate platforms that do not interact. Tara also said that BSPs do not need to retain the old ZRT after the new ZURT is installed and the ZURT has been confirmed running successfully. Noah P. expressed a similar concern about the risk of double mailbox usage billing. Randy also asked if it is possible to setup logrotate or similar for the “data” and “logs” folders included in the ZURT that appeared to have the possibility of growing in size continuously over time. John H. explained that the “logs” folder maintains only minimal file sizes, so it should be fine. He also said that for the “data” folder there is a means to configure the CSV mailbox usage report files so they can be split by day, allowing for a configurable number of days of archiving to be maintained by a Zimbra BSP, and that details on how to do this would be included in some new documentation he is preparing for the ZURT. Randy also asked John if he knew the outbound network port that the ZURT uses for sending reports to Zimbra, and John said it is TCP port 8443.

Java Error Running New Zimbra Usage Reporting Tool
Randy L. reported encountering a Java error when attempting to perform a dry run test of the new ZURT on a Zimbra 8.8.15 Patch 12 LDAP server that seems to result in the ZURT process freezing, requiring the shell script to be force terminated with a Ctrl+C command. The error encountered says: “UsageCollectionTask - error occurred in collecting data while refreshing ldap details java.lang.NullPointerException: null”, which occurs after running the dry run command of: “/opt/zurt/bin/run.sh -d”. He said he opened Zimbra support case # 01055033 related to this issue.

Documentation Inconsistencies In New Zimbra Usage Reporting Tool Instructions
Randy L. said that in the PDF documentation that Tara B. sent last week for the new ZURT, it makes reference on pages 1-2 of creating a zimbra.repo file and importing the Zimbra repo key for use by Yum or Apt, but this will normally not be necessary when a supported version of Zimbra is being used, since the Zimbra installer performs these same tasks. Additionally, the PDF refers to setting up the zimbra.repo file for use with Zimbra 8.7 repo, which could have an adverse effect, should a Zimbra administrator attempt to do so for a Zimbra server running 8.8.x or 9.0. John H. said that he is in the process of writing new, comprehensive documentation for the ZURT, and shared an early preview version of this document with those on the call for their review and comments.

New Zimbra Bug Look-Up Tool
Randy L. shared that he noticed a new feature in the Zimbra Support Portal (support.zimbra.com) which now allows for looking up the status of Zimbra bugs by their ID number (example: ZBUG-1234), in addition to enabling comments to be added to those bugs. This new feature provides important visibility, with a short description of the bug, and its current status, including the Zimbra version number or patch in which the bug will be fixed. John H. said that if anyone has previously opened a Zimbra support case and received an ID number for a bug similar to ZCS-(number), that the IDs beginning with ZCS will not be available in this new bug look-up feature. But, by requesting it from Zimbra Support, a ZCS case number related to an acknowledged Zimbra bug can be converted to the ZBUG-(number) ID format. John also explained that any comments submitted for a bug, using this new feature, will be reviewed every other week when the Zimbra Product team regularly meets, so if a request is submitted in a comment for a follow-up, it may take several days before the follow-up occurs.

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