Suggestion to the list maintainer

Kuba Ober kuba at
Mon Jan 21 14:44:41 CST 2008

On Saturday 19 January 2008, Tomas Kuliavas wrote:
> Sorry to other list readers about offtopic rant, but I can't stand when
> people attack software that I like.

I don't think what I said amounts to an attack. I've reported what works for 
me, and one of the problems I had with squirrelmail.

> >> Zimbra is commercial groupware suite. SquirrelMail is free webmail
> >> application. You are suggesting to replace whole user's email system
> >> with some proprietary locked product.
> >
> > It works pretty well, is free as in beer, and the only "closed" parts are
> > its
> > Java core. A lot of other stuff, such as the JavaScript framework, and
> > reused OSS project, are still open-source.
> Main Zimbra's product is not Open Source Edition. Zimbra sells its
> products on annual/monthly subscription per seat basis.
> Outlook, iSync, Blackberry, mobile connectors. Clustering. Backups. These
> are not open.
> Do Zimbra admins know how their email setup works or just click on
> provided buttons? Can they change setup from default values without
> breaking it completely? Do admins have option to revert their changes, if
> something breaks? What happens if you deviate from standard OpenSource
> Edition setup and see cryptic Java errors in your logs or Zimbra web
> pages.

Considering that Zimbra builds on a big bunch of OSS technologies, I can't 
really imagine it'd be any different if say squirrelmail provided similar 
functionality. I don't think that squirrelmail admins usually know much more 
about "how it works" than Zimbra admins do. In fact, with squirrel I may well 
posit they know next to nothing about squirrelmail, but they do know much 
about their underlying deployment which interfaces via imap. All of this 
knowledge can translate to Zimbra, which happily uses postfix, clamav, mysql 

> > I have been using it for a year and I really beats everything else out
> > the hands down. IMHO of course.
> I've been using SquirrelMail for more than 6 years.
> You are comparing apples to oranges. Zimbra is not email client. It has
> email client as part of whole server package. Zimbra's webmail client uses
> AJAX, has better integration with email system (it is designed for Zimbra)
> and it can't be compared with SquirrelMail.

Well, in the end it's about what users need. I understand the technical and 
free software argument, but few people will demand email and nothing else 
these days. Certainly business users need way more than that, so for better 
adoption in an institutional setting, squirrel would have to include features 
beyond email.

> Zimbra can't replace SquirrelMail, because it also replaces IMAP, SMTP and
> POP services and other parts of email setup. Zimbra adds features that are
> not needed for standard email client.

I've been testing a Zimbra deployment that uses CentOS-provided functionality 
for everything that Zimbra normally carried around, and it works. Not out of 
the box, but it definitely does.

The deal is that unless the "extra" features are integrated into the client, 
they may as well not exist. Calendars and address lists have been part of 
standard client functionality everywhere else for years now (no, I don't use 
Outlook) - considering them "not needed in a standard email client" is simply 
wishing that water flew uphill. If the users want those, one can't tell 
them "suck it up".

> > Having run squirrel for a 5+ years, and some of the most annoying bugs
> > remaining unfixed (say support for national characters that actually
> > works in real life)
> Prove your claims. When these issues are related to broken MIME produced
> by other software?

Nope. For me, Squirrel can not parse its own emails with Latin-2 characters in 
them. Neither can anything else parse them. It's been like that for years, 
across multiple redeployments, starting at least with RH9. Unless RedHat had 
kept something seriously messed up in their distro over many years, I think 
it's Squirrel's problem.

> I am former SquirrelMail i18n developer and I suspect that you are
> spreading FUD about SquirrelMail. SquirrelMail has issues, but you and
> others are free to fix them. If Zimbra has issues, you will have to wait
> until Yahoo fixes it.

I can only report on what works and what doesn't. I have limited time that I 
can allocate to fixing bugs in software that I'm not working on myself.

Cheers, Kuba

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