I guess I just can’t let well enough alone. For 6 years I have been a die hard QmailRocks, Qmail Toaster fan. Finally fed up with the lack of updates to an awesome, and cumbersome, combination of software, QmailRocks.org has lost a devoted fan. QMailRocks has done a great job, but it appears that they have lost their drive to keep on top of the latest technology. I wish I can recall the article that tipped me off to Zimbra.com during the summer of 2007, I would surely give them credit here. After several months of glancing at the site and thinking “what was that kool looking email application again?”, I got brave and downloaded the open source version.
I downloaded 5.02 GA to my MythTV project server, a Dell 8100 P4 1.5ghz, 768 MB RAM desktop I bought back in 2000 when the P4 was brand new. The installation is not for the weak at heart, timid or otherwise new to Linux, however it was by no means as time intensive as the QmailRocks install, which is extremely well documented. Zimbra has done a great job of hiding and integrating all the tools needed for a proper Email environment.
I choose to run Zimbra on Fedora 7 since the box was up and running. I did hit a few Fedora related snags, but they were quickly remedied by searching the wiki or googling “Zimbra [problem]” which always took me to plenty of wiki.Zimbra.com or Zimbra.com/Forums links. The Zimbra Forum is a great research tool, however the search uses a Captcha image for every search that I found way too hard to read and failed 50% of the time for me.
During the install, permissions and prerequisites. I got very friendly with the -u…uninstall. That is one great point of this install, the uninstaller worked great! Then install again when each issue is resolved and proceed.
Open your firewall to the ports they recommend before you install, Zimbra is very touchy about having an established external FQDN, so do that a day ahead of time, lastly, if sshd is not running on port 22 (why would you do that!) you will need to use a CLI app to set that (my only Zimbra installer complaint is that is not, or I didn’t see it, an install option).
Have another system with a browser to the install instructions open to ease your window swapping.
Success, to get the system up and running, I have not migrated all my domains and users over to it yet, that will be next week.
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot to talk about the interface! Wow. This AJAX integration is great! The pages are faster than QmailRocks and Squirrelmail, however it is slower than using Outlook. But having all the features of Outlook and more, embedded into a browser more than makes up for a few pregnant pauses after a click. And I have used several systems ranging from my PII laptop and it looks great, with the one click switch to a lighter HTML version all users should be happy. I haven’t tried from the MAC yet…
Zimbra Info from Zimbra.com:
Zimbra is open source server and client software for messaging and collaboration – email, group calendaring, contacts, and web document management and authoring. The Zimbra server is available for Linux, Mac OS X, appliances, and virtualization platforms. The Zimbra Web 2.0 Ajax client runs on Firefox, Safari, and IE, and features easy integration / mash-ups of web portals, business applications, and VoIP using web services.
What I still need to figure out:
1) Zimbra uses Distribution Lists and I need a full fledged mail list server.