Author Topic: PPTP, Virtualization, Thin client and VoIP modules moved to Contrib Repository  (Read 13102 times)

jkerihuel

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Good afternoon all,

After careful consideration, during which we have taken into account Zentyal Server strategy and focus, usage statistics and general user and customer feedback, we have taken the decision to move the following modules to the Contrib Repository:
  • PPTP
  • Virtualization
  • Thin clients
  • VoIP

These modules will continue being supported in the earlier Zentyal Server versions until the end of the life of each version, but Zentyal Server 3.2 will not include these modules anymore. Naturally, we warmly welcome Community Members interested in developing and/or maintaining any of them. In general terms, all of these modules are very little used, but for clarity's sake, we would like to provide an explanation of the specific reasons for moving them from Official to Contrib Repository:

  • PPTP: PPTP has become an obsolete and vulnerable protocol. Zentyal Server 3.2 now provides a more secured implementation together with L2TP and IPSec and therefore it does not make sense to maintain this module
  • Virtualization: Zentyal's virtualization module was created for a specific project and the module was published to find out if other users could find it useful and benefit from it. However, the user feedback has shown to us that 1) considerably more additional development is necessary to offer a virtualization module most of the users expect and 2) virtualizing on top of a Zentyal Server is required only in some very specific cases and there is no mainstream need for this. We believe that it is more reasonable to focus our efforts elsewhere.
  • VoIP: Zentyal's VoIP module, based on Asterisk, aimed at providing easy-to-use VoIP service with LDAP/AD integration by using Asterisk's Realtime/LDAP backend, but unfortunately the latter is not officially supported and has several known issues. Due to this and the fact that the current module requires plenty of manual configuration to provide truly useful setup, we have decided to move on until we find a better solution.
  • Thin clients: Zentyal's thin clients module is based on the simply amazing Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP), but LTSP is mainly used in education and Zentyal Server targets small businesses. We sincerely believe it is better to focus our Development Team's time to improve or further develop other core features or bugfixing.

Eventually, it all comes down to focus and limited resources. The goal of Zentyal Server is to offer an easy-to-use Linux server for small businesses. This is what we want to be the best at and sometimes it means that we have to stop, think and drop things that are out of the focus. Maybe we will come back to them at one stage, who knows? But for now, there is a truly amazing Zentyal Server 3.2 release coming and we would be thrilled to have you joining the testing effort, the release party and/or Zentyal Summit - We're looking forward to your feedback both online and on site!

Kind Regards,
Julien.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 01:43:29 pm by jkerihuel »
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Lonniebiz

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Fair enough.

Well, I suspect, that if the underly technologies of these modules mature (to the point that managing them is relatively trouble free), perhaps they will again be included in later editions?

half_life

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What a funny coincidence.  I spent a good portion of last weekend researching the virtualization module in 2.2 and 3.0 and had come to the conclusion that using third party tools such as virt-manager was the correct route for managing KVM under Zentyal.  I had started a write-up on how to best achieve this while still allowing the Zentyal GUI to start and stop VMs.  Now I suppose this is more of a "tips and tricks" topic as to how to add KVM to an existing Zentyal.  I was more than a little confused at Zentyal staffs approach (using libvirt create instead of define for instance). 

I will miss the thin client feature in my home environment but it is easy to add another virtual machine to my current fleet to handle this. 

Ultimately I feel that where virtualization is required,  it is best to virtualize Zentyal under a dedicated hypervisor (Proxmox in my case).

I have always wondered why something like freepbx hasn't become a standard package for debian style systems.  Visual Dialplan works with the Zentyal implementation ( I did limited testing a few years ago) but cost and complexity might chase away the Zentyal target customer.

christian

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Ultimately I feel that where virtualization is required,  it is best to virtualize Zentyal under a dedicated hypervisor (Proxmox in my case).

+1  moreover, it prevents to end-up with hypervisor hosting Zentyal embedding another VM ;D ;D ;D

half_life

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The "box in a box in a box" scenario is a very painful one to endure but it is how I have been testing Zentyal's virtualization product.  It is worth noting that without decent server hardware that VOIP does not virtualize well. 

razametal

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Good afternoon all,

After careful consideration, during which we have taken into account Zentyal Server strategy and focus, usage statistics and general user and customer feedback, we have taken the decision to move the following modules to the Contrib Repository:

Hi Julien,

Please, can you explain how can I configure the contrib repository? It is a apt-get repository?

Sorry if this question is very basis, I've searched in the forum and wiki before asking.

Best regards,

dmbaty

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I'm very disappointed to see virtualization go.  It's the reason I started using Zentyal a few weeks back.  I was a bit confused after I updated to 3.2 until I found this.  I found the older versions of the contrib repo but even those don't seem to have zentyal-virt.  Any info on the how I can add the contrib repo?  Hopefully I won't be forced to downgrade to 3.0 to get it back.

Rekfuby

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Actually, it would have been great to know if there is any way to get those modules back to work in 3.2? Especilly the PPTP, since the technology itself is widely used in Russia, and commonly chosen among others. That, and "thin client" (especially PXE) were actually one of the main reasons I chose Zentyal Server in the first place.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 10:04:01 pm by rekfuby »

christian

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Actually, it would have been great to know if there is any way to get those modules back to work in 3.2?

If I understand correctly, everything is available for those wiling to work on it and contribute to make it available for community.

jkerihuel

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Hi All,

Sorry for the long delay, the week has just been very intense here with the Zentyal Summit.

Long story, short: Christian is right. The repository contrib is actually a code repository, not a package one. Therefore if you are looking for the modules we dropped from the edition, you will have to compile them.

Cheers,
Julien.
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BrettonWoods

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To be honest I am not all that bothered to see the Zentyal Virt manager Go.

Have a look at this.

https://github.com/retspen/webvirtmgr

There are loads of great tools and server solutions around that don't need to be under the control of Zentyal
It puts so much pressure on their support requirements.

I would love to see more common OSS solutions being backed by the Zentyal community though.


jgould

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So, I just wanted to make a comment in regards to the VoIP module.

I've been messing around with Asterisk and various GUI's for it. The most popular being FreePBX and then various tools build around FreePBX like Elastix and PBXinaFlash. I've also used "blue.box" from 2600Hz (built for both Asterisk and FreeSwitch). Granted that FreePBX is extremely powerful as a GUI for Asterisk, however the interface IMO leaves a LOT to be desired. Elastix is probably the best in that regard but honestly the user portal is "eh". I've look at zentyal and IMO the GUI aspects for VoIP seem much cleaner. The built in LDAP/AD integration IMO makes it a much more "natural" process which is missing in other tools. TBH, I'm sad to see this go and I seriously hope someone takes a look at this to see if there might be a better solution. Perhaps something like FreeSwitch (and to some extent blue.box/kazoo) can serve as some inspiration to re-implement some type of VoIP solution within zentyal. I'm not really sure what problems caused the module to be removed but FreeSwitch from my testing is less resource intensive, scales better then Asterisk, is just more lean/mean with the features you NEED. It's also been used in commercial products from Barracuda (Cudatel). And I'm almost positive FreeSwitch has an LDAP/AD integration ability. Maybe someone can look into it if they haven't already?

Oh, and zentyal is an excellent tool and I spread the word about it whenever I can.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 05:01:09 am by jgould »

Paulxx

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I totally agree with jgould and actually the asterisk implementation is by far the best, simplest and the reason I came to zentyal in the first place.

I have tried and would like to upgrade to 3.2 when L2TP is fixed (so far it has internal network setup problems...)  but cannot without voip.

Even if asterisk had a separate user/password system like L2TP or PPTP that would be OK.


half_life

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As a suggestion if you are intent on using Zentyal and Asterisk on the same server.  You might want to install Freepbx to handle asterisk.  It is also worth noting that Visual dialplan can be used on a Zentyal host.   I have tested Visual Dialplan with Zentyal before I opted to use a separate server back in the 2.X series.  I just now installed Freepbx under Ubuntu 12.04 but have not tested it yet.

HyperionTech

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The VoIP was an amazing and necessary feature that should definitely not have been removed IMO! However, I would request that the packages at least be kept available via repo install (apt-get install zentyal-voip), etc.

I personally utilize Zentyal for local call centers and this was a blessing of a feature.