Author Topic: Some reflexions on Zentyal  (Read 3745 times)


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Some reflexions on Zentyal
« on: January 18, 2020, 07:07:34 pm »
It seems to me that Zentyal is barely in time of awakening from a too much long nap.

The official documentation, and particularly the mail module documentation, has been improved these last months. There are some new "howtos" about implementing DKIM and PSF in Zentyal (for instance).

But the Ubuntu LTS packages used by Zentyal are quickly getting old, and their update  (which will provide the new features offered by their newest versions like the Password Settings Objects offered by the last samba versions, for example, and probably tons of these little changes necessaries for adapting the different products to the newest standards) could be much more painful than most of the users could believe.

(By the way this issue that you have detected isn't the only one forced by new security policies of the different base packages in these last months. Do you remember the last issues produced by the new OpenSSL CRL policies?)

The proliferation of these new security policies and other kinds of changes imposed by the giants like Google, Mozilla, and others (that are working with really short development cycles) will force the Zentyal developers to make an extra effort to maintain the existent features usable in a "quick and dirty way", that is the key point of Zentyal for a large subset of the  Zentyal Development version users.

To force these users to make "black magic"  on "Mason" templates for maintaining the possibility of working on Gmail from the Zentyal mail module (and the rest of features) could be a heavy stroke for this group of the Zentyal users (if I don't have overrated my own capacities as profiler).

Simply, today young developers learn Python or PHP, not Perl. They work with well-fashioned and documented frameworks, not with a Perl code too much proudly declared as "self-documented". Few young sysadmins use Perl in these days to manage their infrastructures, however how powerful and fun can be Perl for their practitioners.

Here it's the challenge for the Zentyal community. Old sysadmins seem to have lost their interest in Zentyal and new ones don't seem to have the needed professional profile (or personal interest) to contribute to the project developing nor giving support to the other users.

On the other hand, I think (if I judge it through this forum current situation) that the Zentyal community has been too much reduced and probably has lost the minimal critical mass for maintaining the project into the collaborative parameters of a true open source project.

Really only a few people here try to help the rest of users, the developers barely intervene in the forum, young people don't learn Perl and I bet that most of the old valuable users don't even remember their old forum accounts.

This is painful because I have used Zentyal to teach, and learn, systems administration a long time and I know how useful Zentyal can be not only as a production system but as a GNU/Linux learning system.

O let the soul her slumbers break,
Let thought be quickened, and awake;
Awake to see
How soon this life is past and gone,
And death comes softly stealing on,
How silently!
Swiftly our pleasures glide away,
Our hearts recall the distant day
the pain
The moments that are speeding fast
We heed not, but the past,—the past,
More highly prize.


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Re: Some reflexions on Zentyal
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2020, 11:56:22 am »
It seems to me that Zentyal is barely in time of awakening from a too much long nap...


Please, admin, I know this is off-topic but there is any board that fits
this theme. Remove it or move it if needed)

"Simply, today young developers learn Python or PHP, not Perl..."

Regarding your post, I think that you are a bit much negative about the Zentyal
project status.
First, about this forum, developers communicate with the community in a
different way than the rest of us do. Through Github. This way the mutual
feedback is done in a much more formalized way, with more filters and in an
hierarchically structured platform.

The community of users gives feedback between themselves about the Zentyal issues
in the forum and after some discussion the more advanced users can decide to
scale the issue to the developers through Github, to propose temporary
workarounds for bugs, or, most of the cases, to help the user with a problem of
configuration, etc

Check the Zentyal Github issues page. There are 34 open issues in some of the
open status in this moment reported by users as wirdo89, MurzNN, iotaka,
Facsimiler, pcttech, tomasz89, Neustradamus, patphobos, KOV70, evilaliv3,
toreonify, renatopancheri, Tiago2912, nickpiggott, loxK, ProBackup-nl, mrPsycho
and unquietwiki.

There's community. Simply, the forum isn't the correct way to take his

Second, Zentyal uses the Ubuntu LTS versions. Ok. It's true that, while
finishing some development cycles, some critical packages could be considered
almost "deprecated", but this is a condition that suffers all the LTS releases
Linux distributions. How would you fix it? Using a "rolling-release" distro as
the Zentyal base? O_o'

Furthermore, SPF and DKIM, for example, are a must-have just like an operative
Fetchmail is, but "Password Settings Objects" for example isn't essential
in my opinion.

Most of the new protocols and configurations can be configured in Zentyal in a
painless way. New features are another kind of problem. Zentyal uses the Ubuntu
LTS repositories to grant the needed standard of stability. Simply, new features
take ever a more long time to be effectively implemented in Zentyal and Ubuntu

I use to talk about "black magic" in some of my interventions here in a
humorous context. I feel consistent the way that Zentyal uses to
guarantee a correct protocol of customization, Don't you?

(It's painful that lots of members don't take some minutes to read this:

The Zentyal forum community is composed of some sysadmins, who usually need just
a simple indication to fix their problems, and many people who have to manage a
domain, or mail server as a secondary part of their real functions and interests
needing a more detailed kind of information. These people use Zentyal because of
his "quick and dirty" capacities and expect a webadmin "click and fix" solution.
In this last case, users have to understand that for advanced features Zentyal
provides some complementary ways of doing: the EBox API, the system of hooks and
the templates system. 

Zentyal provides a wiki, the official documentation and some free courses in his
Moodle platform besides this forum that you feel has become mostly irrelevant.
All free.

And there is tons of official documentation for Dovecot, Samba, Fetchmail,

¿Tú también recuerdas con nostalgia aquella época del RTFHB? XD

We, users, should take some effort to improve our skills.

I feel sad too when I think about the forum status. There are lots of threads
that have been repeatedly proposed 'ad-nauseam' by people who don't have tried
even to search in the forum the information that they are requiring to the
community. :P

Most of the threads are created in the "Installation and Upgrades" board... Most
of these aren't related to installation or upgrading issues, simply, some
people don't care about the necessity of recovering useful information easily.

Only a few users mark their threads as "solved" however they fix some times the
initial issue in a useful way. And, in my humble opinion, administrators are
allowing this decadence.

Finally, another problem is most of the threads are useless for being too
specifics. Here I feel some dark tendency of giving the fish instead of teaching

But... I have found some gold in this swamp and I agree with you that Zentyal is
a great way to learn, to teach and to work.

In my opinion, Zentyal is a valuable and healthy project and this forum deserves
our efforst to be saved.
- Do my pigeons bother you passing over your land?
- They block the sun!

G. Guareschi., Don Camillo.,


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Re: Some reflexions on Zentyal
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2020, 04:54:46 pm »
Thank you for your feedback and you comments, much appreciated.

Just so that you know, we have been working for some time already "under the hood" to update and reorganize the Forum. It has been/is a lengthy process, but we hope that we are now on the final stages.

For now we have created this "Off topic" board. We will post updates on the News & Announcement board as we make further progress.


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Re: Some reflexions on Zentyal
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2020, 12:36:51 pm »

I have enjoyed a lot by managing some Zentyal systems. I decided some time ago to collaborate as much as I'll can, here, in the forum.


Do you know?  I have decided to occupy the "offtopic" board as my own blog (however at this moment I don't know some better site to keep save a secret).  ;D

Thank you for this new forum feature. There's an ancient wisdom pearl of my people that tells that "giving freedom to someone" is only the polite way of telling "to establish the limits of someone's freedom "... I would like to be sure that the forum administrators are conscious of this double nature (wave-corpuscle) of the freedom if they really will  begin to manage the forum actively.  ;D

"Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos..." by 'Joking' Phoenix.   ::)

- Do my pigeons bother you passing over your land?
- They block the sun!

G. Guareschi., Don Camillo.,