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Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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Zimbra (Messaging and Collaboration)

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2008 20:53:56 -0300 (CLST)

For some reason I can't remember (perhaps to spite Google, who have move
me from the second hit for "andrew cooke" to page three or four) I started
poking around Yahoo to see just what services they provided (ah - I do
remember - I had just read a news item saying how they were developing way
too many different products).

Anyway, as a consequence, I stumbled across Zimbra.  At first I found it a
little confusing, so my hope is that the following will help clarify
exactly what all the different bits are (although, full disclosure, I am
guessing at some bits still).

In very broad terms Zimbra is one of those enterprisey things like IBM's
Lotus Domino/Notes.  It provides email for everyone in a company.  More
than that, it lets users manage and share information - diary
appointments, files, address books etc etc.

So Zimbra is a glorified email server.  With a chat server.  And a diary
application.  And a web server for sharing documents.

Some of the particularly neat parts seem to be:
- the webmail aspect is very impressive (to the point where you forget
it's a web page at all - apparently better than gmail...)
- the mail server will integrate many different sources (including imap
and pop3)
- there's support for offline mail reading

OK, so that's the basics, and really not that confusing.  What threw me is
that there are so many different ways to use it:

- You can pay for the server software (since the client is web based that
gets you the whole system).  This is the basic, traditional, obvious way
to use the system.

take.  It seems to have a lot of functionality, but not everything in the
pay-for version - http://www.zimbra.com/products/product_editions.html

- Zimbra will host the server for you (paid), if you're an EDU.  This is
the "cloud" version, I guess?

- You can download a Zimbra client.  This is a standalone mail program.

It was the last of these that threw me; perhaps because that's where I
started (and so assumed it was the important bit).  In fact (and this is
the guessing bit) I now think this is just a mash-up that basically
installs a local mini-server.  The client is, in fact, Mozilla (XUL) and I
guess that it's running pretty much the client software you would get in
the full version (if that is the case; and I am pretty sure it is; then it
is indeed more impressive than GMail).

I also downloaded the open source server, once I understood better what
was happening, with the intention of trying it out.  However, it needs a
dedicated machine (or at least one that isn't already running servers for
IMAP, SMTP, SQL, etc).

Andrew