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A Brief History of Zimbra Collaboration Suite

written by: Mojave Media Group•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 8/3/2008

Open Source media darling Zimbra provides a viable messaging and collaboration solution for companies of all sizes. The Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) is a full solution with a dynamic web client, mobility features and a competitive overall poduct.

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    History of ZCS

    The Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) is an open source messaging and collaboration application. ZCS uses a conglomeration of well known open source components to cohesively provide a competitive and unique solution for enterprises of all sizes. The primary component of ZCS are:

    MySQL - Metabase store

    Postfix - MTA

    Apache Tomcat - Web Server (client and admin)

    OpenLDAP - Directory services

    Lucene - Index and Search engine

    SpamAssassin - Anti-spam

    ClamAV - Anti-virus

    Verity - Attachment conversion to HTML

    ZCS code brings these components together. A somewhat agile development process has allowed ZCS to absorb new feature requests and apply bug fixes fairly efficiently, which is reflected in the release timeline listed below.

    ZCS 3.0 Beta1 September 21, 2005

    ZCS 3.0 Beta2 November 15, 2005

    ZCS 3.0 Beta3 January, 7, 2006

    ZCS 3.0 February 7, 2006

    ZCS 3.0.1 February 21, 2006

    ZCS 3.1 April 14, 2006

    ZCS 3.1.1 May 8, 2006

    ZCS 3.1.2 May 31, 2006

    ZCS 3.1.3 June 13, 2006

    ZCS 3.1.4 June 27, 2006

    ZCS 3.2 Beta1 June 29, 2006

    ZCS 3.2 Beta2 July 24, 2006

    ZCS 4.0 RC1 August 15, 2006

    ZCS 4.0 August 30, 2006

    ZCS 4.0.1 September 8, 2006

    ZCS 4.0.2 September 25, 2006

    ZCS 4.0.3 October 17, 2006

    ZCS 4.0.4 November 26, 2006

    ZCS 4.0.5 December 19, 2006

    ZCS 4.5 Beta1 November 10, 2006

    ZCS 4.5 RC1 December 16, 2006

    ZCS 4.5 RC2 January 8, 2007

    ZCS 4.5 January 16, 2007

    ZCS 4.5.1 February 5, 2007

    ZCS 4.5.2 February 21, 2007

    ZCS 4.5.3 March 1, 2007

    ZCS 4.5.5 May 7, 2007

    ZCS 4.5.6 June 28, 2007

    ZCS 4.5.7 September 18, 2007

    ZCS 4.5.8 October 8, 2007

    ZCS 4.5.9 October 22, 2007

    ZCS 4.5.10 November 21, 2007

    ZCS 4.5.11 February 1, 2008

    ZCS 5.0 Beta 1 June 5, 2007

    ZCS 5.0 Beta 2 July 25, 2007

    ZCS 5.0 Beta 3 August 27, 2007

    ZCS 5.0 RC1 October 4, 2007

    ZCS 5.0 RC2 November 21, 2007

    ZCS 5.0 December 31, 2007

    ZCS 5.0.1 January 10, 2008

    ZCS 5.0.2 February 1, 2008

    ZCS 5.0.3 March 20, 2008

    ZCS 5.0.4 March 24, 2008

    ZCS 5.0.5 April 17, 2008

    ZCS 5.0.6 May 23, 2008

    ZCS 5.0.7 July 1, 2008

    ZCS 5.0.8 July 15, 2008

    ZCS garnered considerable attention for its client usability [See Figure 1], both prior to and after its release in early 2006. The use of AJAX and mashups set ZCS apart from other Exchange Server wannabes like Scalix and PostPath. Mashups, called Zimlets, provide a unique API to bring various service and collaboration components right into the web client. Examples of this include instant messaging and voice options as well as text pattern recognition (like identifying ID numbers (ie the American Social Security number). Indeed, it positions ZCS in a slightly different realm than Exchange Server and helps make it a viable competitor and alternative. Administration is done through an admin web interface [See Figure 2] or using the Zimbra Command Line Interface (CLI).

    ZCS is available for several flavors of Linux as well as Mac OS. ZCS ships with a commercial Network edition in addition to a free open source edition. Several complementary components are available to meet needs of different companies. An Archive and Discovery option assists companies with extra storage or regulatory compliance needs while a Desktop option provides a local copy of the client for offline use. Zimbra Mobile interfaces with various mobile devices, allowing so-called ‘push’ e-mail, in addition to a Blackberry Connector. And Outlook connector provides MAPI connectivity to ZCS for Microsoft Outlook users. ZCS has developed a niche in the college market and also has some ISP and hosted ZCS deployments out there.

    On September 17, 2007, Yahoo! officially acquired Zimbra. Development of ZCS continues with the current version of ZCS is 5.08.

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    Screenshots

    Figure 1: ZCS Client InboxFigure 2: Admin Interface





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