Becoming Better

Whether you are a current user, former user, a Zimbra employee, or anyone with experience using any of our products, we welcome your feedback. Please include a specific product name and version when relevant.
jholder
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Becoming Better

Postby jholder » Thu May 30, 2019 4:05 am

Hello Zimbra Friends,

First, just a small disclaimer:
Since Synacor is a public traded company, you should know that this post doesn't represent any views of Synacor or Zimbra (or any partners) and in no way contains any commitments as far as road map or product life-cycle or any forward looking statements. This is only the view and opinion of myself.

Many of you may not be antiquated with me, so allow me to introduce myself. My name is John Holder, and I am one of the original Zimbra employees. In fact, I built the original forum, blog, and wiki (It's okay to blame me for the last one).
I do not write that small introduction to gloat, but rather, to show that my loyalty and love of Zimbra is a very core part of who I am. I care about it as much as you do.

I want to keep this brief and to the point: We hear you. We can do better hearing you, communicating to you, and being active in our own community.

The mark of a good product and company is whether or not they can take criticism. It's easy to brush off critical points, and who don't listen are doomed to the dust bin of history.
I can tell you first hand that feedback being mentioned here in our forums and in other places, are being read and acted upon.

It isn't so much that we know we need to do better with communication and community engagement (among other things), but rather that we know we can.
Zimbra is nothing without our community. Our community is what has kept this product alive through the many hands which have controlled it. Synacor was originally a Zimbra Customer, so we have a perspective shared by you.

With that said, I can't commit to sweeping changes or road maps. But one of the first steps is to do better in this forum, and being more active here.

Zimbra is bigger than Synacor, or any customer individually. It embodies the realization that Open Source does work, and that collaboration doesn't need to be tied behind a lock and key.

So expect to hear more from us form here on out.

Sincerely,
john
jholder@zimbra.com


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DavidMerrill
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Re: Becoming Better

Postby DavidMerrill » Fri May 31, 2019 2:31 pm

Hi John,

Thanks for introducing yourself! I would certainly appreciate having Synacor/Zimbra participate in this community forum. (As you most likely know) There are many skilled enthusiasts here collaborating, offering helpful advice and sharing what they know & have experienced (I can say I've certainly benefited from it). I suspect having someone such as yourself chime-in will add a level of positivity that'll help keep that community-feeling alive.

I sincerely hope the feed-back and (any) criticism Synacor/Zimbra fields here is open & constructive!

Best,
David
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OTELCO Zimbra Hosting, Licensing and Professional Services
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Re: Becoming Better

Postby JDunphy » Fri May 31, 2019 4:34 pm

Hi John,

Well stated and thank you for initially setting these up.

They have been terrific but what we need more than answers sometimes is public leadership. Your jumping in the other night when things were getting out of hand with this remote exploit is a clear example of that and was a calming influence and a good step. Zimbra doesn't have to answer every question but sometimes leadership is publishing a simple script or refocusing the forums in a direction. The community is here to help but we need a little direction at times.

I have learned more about zimbra from trying to solve and understand questions and issues in these forums that I wonder why whoever is managing support wouldn't ask the support staff to find 1 question per day to answer. That would yield better and faster support responses in the long term for paying customers and raise the level of knowledge in these communities. It's a win for everyone. Note: even if staff doesn't know the answer immediately (and who does), asking knowledgeable questions can substantially refocus the problem and raise the possibility that we solve the root cause from others that have seen similar.

If I had some suggestion for these forums it would the following.

1) Change default for new accounts so that if you ask a question, you agree to receive email from the forums when a response to your question is posted.
2) Double down on putting Solve in the subject line after we have resolutions... use an information banner or pinned post, video or whatever but show them how to edit the title.

Item 2 could be nothing more than a pinned post that explains the following:

1) Download or try latest software ---- blog or wiki link to here are the steps run install if you want to move from 8.7.1 to 8.7.11 followed by patch
2) Link to blog or wiki link to here are the steps to Edit Title
3) Link to zimbra wiki's of supported products. We don't know what to trust in 8.0 version of wiki's even if its zimbra verified.
4) How to add zmcontrol -v in the profile of the account... I would modify the software that you couldn't ask a question without doing that first or ask them before posting? :-)

Finally, I don't need the latest cool features but I need stability and security is important to me as a paying customer. It is going to be a very hard sell to future customers to use zimbra if the reputation of the product is harmed because we don't support the open version which is where a lot of the suffering is coming from. Zimbra might not be in a position to provide the answer to every question but you can disseminate information and direction... For example, it was pretty obvious on our servers 8-9 days that the exploit was picking up steam. We now see almost no activity so either they are either version checking before attacking or realize mail servers are low value for their intended mining purposes. Unfortunately, it is difficult to notify open source customers that only come to the forums when something breaks if you don't have the latest contacts... Certainly using that information banner would have been the first step to pointing them to a blog where you describe the symptoms and the software steps required to update. It should be obvious now that many admins who have inherited mgmt of zimbra for their companies may not understand the nuances between doing an update followed by a patch.

I have learned a lot from your posts over the years and look forward to learning a lot more.

I am here to help.

w/r

Jim
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Re: Becoming Better

Postby axslingr » Fri May 31, 2019 8:47 pm

John,

Definitely welcome news and a step in the right direction. This just made my weekend a whole lot brighter!
Thank you!
Lance
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Re: Becoming Better

Postby Klug » Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:07 am

You're back?

June is starting in a nice way.
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Re: Becoming Better

Postby joho » Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:53 am

Glad to hear wheels are in motion :-)

One of the (many) things I miss are updated documentation and Wiki articles. Things that don't say "Tested with Zimbra 5". Perhaps they still need to be there, but possibly moved to an archive of sorts. With the thousands (tens of thousands?) of configuration options, it's hard enough as it is to keep track of what needs to be set and how without having to see articles for Zimbra 5, Zimbra 6, and so on put "in front".

Another thing I sorely miss from other environments are "sanity checkers", something along the lines of zmfixperms but "zmcheckinstall". Something that would validate settings, warn about missing locations and/or symlinks, etc. If you've upgraded your Zimbra environment a few times, there's a *lot* of stuff "lying around" that nobody seems to know (or care) if it's used or not.

It's a great product, but very frustrating to maintain and configure at times.


-joho
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Re: Becoming Better

Postby gbillat » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:03 pm

Hi Everyone,

As John did, I will start by introducing myself. I'm Gayle Billat, and I've worked with Zimbra since the very beginning. I started as a contractor designing Zimbra training classes, and I supported the Zimbra training efforts for years (not including the VMware years where training didn't exist). Now I am on the Marketing Team, but like John, Zimbra is part of my DNA.

I don't comment in the forums often because I don't have the technical expertise. However, please reach out to me if you need an answer to an important question. I may not know the answer, but I certainly know someone at Synacor who can find out the answer!

I am committed to supporting the Zimbra Community in any way I can.

Thanks to each of you who has contributed here. We appreciate it more than you know!
Gayle
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L. Mark Stone
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Re: Becoming Better

Postby L. Mark Stone » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:54 pm

John Holder's blog post from 11 years ago about backups should cement for everyone that John fully understands what it is like to be a Zimbra customer (and that having good backups is not sufficient to claim you have a good disaster recovery plan...). It's still a fresh post: https://blog.zimbra.com/2008/07/the-mos ... post-ever/

FWIW, I speak frequently with plenty of people within Zimbra who share John's passion for Zimbra, who work really hard to make Zimbra better, and who agree with John that Zimbra can do better. But... can't we all?

As a moderator on these forums I see plenty of posts here from people who think Zimbra should be doing "more"; that Zimbra has "dropped the ball" regarding roadmaps, features, QA, etc., etc. Often there is truth in those posts but the language in the posts is less than... constructive.

I think Zimbra (and Synacor) have a lot of upside. It's why I bought a few thousand shares of Synacor stock, and why I'm glad Synacor has employees like John, Gayle and lots of others who lurk here frequently without posting, but who read everyone's posts and take that info back in to Synacor. When you are posting, think about how your post will help them do better.

With best regards to all,
Mark
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