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Messages - CNServices

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Installation and Upgrades / Re: Zentyal on CentOS
« on: September 13, 2014, 03:22:04 pm »
Zentyal is built on top of Ubuntu and depends for the most part on the Ubuntu repositories. I haven’t seen anyone refer to variants for any other base.

Installation and Upgrades / Re: Installation Choices
« on: September 13, 2014, 03:17:34 pm »
The suggestion is to download the Zentyal 4.0 beta because all official support for Zentyal 3.5, which is considered a stepping-stone release, and which is the version you’re working with, will end when Zentyal 4.0 is released next month. Keep in mind that Zentyal community (or development) releases are quarterly, so Zentyal 4.0 support at the community level, as with Zentyal 3.5, is also not long term. The significant difference with Zentyal 4.0 is that it will also become the next commercial release, so time spent with Zentyal 4.0 will translate into true familiarity with the genuinely supported commercial version.

I doubt that will clear everything up. I found that comparing the release policies of the development/community and commercial editions proved helpful.

Installation and Upgrades / Re: Horrible Forum
« on: September 12, 2014, 07:40:40 pm »
I do think there is hope for Zentyal. My guess is that Zentyal will be more likely to find a place in medium to large businesses and organizations than in small businesses and organizations, and that probably means better revenues.

At the same time, if that guess is correct and if I combine it with the current Zentyal release policy, I'm not optimistic about a better, healthier community and forum. So far, at least, that has not been the result of Zentyal's redirection. I don't see that changing for the better.

Office 365 is an attractive solution to small businesses. We used the Exchange Online subset of Office 365 for more than a year. We are currently transitioning to Group Office but not because we found Exchange Online unworkable. My hunch is that similarly, small businesses will increasingly tend to adopt hosted solutions across the board, including telephone systems, over systems run internally--except for gateway-type infrastructure. :)

I do agree that an all-in-one office solution leaves important things to be desired, but some people argue against a proliferation of virtual machines for the same sorts of reasons; a single server running a variety of virtual machines is an all-in-one solution of a different sort. I have opinions about all of that but they are just my opinions. The point is that I suspect small businesses will take the path of least resistance for their particular needs. I don't think that a server pool will be the path of least resistance for the majority of small businesses.

In any case, as a growing business we found Zentyal interesting for reasons that no longer matter. We will have to look elsewhere. Hopefully we are in the minority and Zentyal will find a bigger, deeper-pocketed market in its new direction.

Installation and Upgrades / Re: Horrible Forum - But on the mend
« on: September 12, 2014, 04:12:08 pm »
It was never going to be easy and there has been some collateral damage en-route but...

I think there really is no place for a "but" here. It does no good to trivialize or marginalize stuff like "collateral damage." If nothing else, collateral damage, in this case, is non-trivial-- real small businesses seeing the end of an investment or of an experiment in the promise of Linux; facing the task of starting all over again on a key piece of their business infrastructure; already over-worked, under-supported, multi-hatted small business IT staff having to explain it all to the boss; and so on.

And then there's the marginalization of what Zentyal was, as if the pursuit of excellence and relevance is a new, fresh idea here. That's not how I read the marketing stuff at .com back when. It all sounds suspiciously like what we used to do as kids to recover from false starts--"OK, for real this time."

The opposite sin is to trivialize Zentyal's apparent predicament as a company. If the radical change in direction is necessary to Zentyal's survival, then who could genuinely blame them for making it happen?

It would be all to the good if everybody here wanted or needed "what we have now." I suspect that most of the people lamenting the passing of what we had have no compelling need for what we have now, so for them there is no comfort to be found in trading up. Business people struggle with net loss, not net gain.

I'm not trying to pick on you, Simon. I get the enthusiasm, and I hope good things for Zentyal. I'm disappointed in the tendency I see to shore up and justify the enthusiasm by asserting an apparently misguided past inhabited by Zentyal's developers and management ("yet another" as in a half-hearted "me too") and by the business people who invested in or investigated the Zentyal that was. As if these people should have known better all along and the collateral damage is a direct result of their cumulative poor business choices. That all could be true, of course. True or not, putting down the past understandably fails to make everybody feel better about the future, especially when, unlike the Zentyal that was, they have no stake in the Zentyal that will be.

Installation and Upgrades / Re: Horrible Forum
« on: September 11, 2014, 03:22:44 pm »
I may have said before that for all practical purposes there is no longer a stable, supported community version. We have this supported rolling release development version in its place. I wish Zentyal would stop referring to a community version.

Major transition is always difficult. The Zentyal community is proof. The community currently is fragmented by the rapid release cycle (how many small businesses have the resources to keep up even if that were a good idea?) and by the change of direction within the product itself. The latter complicates the commercial side as well, I would think, since during the product redirection Zentyal is really two commercial products, not one, unless they change policy and disallow Zentyal 3.2 support after Zentyal 4.0 release.

All that to say that I agree that the path is difficult. The good news is that once the legacy community is gone this forum will probably improve. People like me who lack the good sense to entirely move on will no longer be posting. Zentyal staff will support the most recent non-commercial release, giving those looking for whatever Zentyal offers a chance for a professionally supported free trial of the most recent development effort. That's not all bad.

Installation and Upgrades / Re: Horrible Forum
« on: September 11, 2014, 01:53:36 pm »
Zentyal staff made it clear that only the most recent community release is supported. The community support strategy suffers automatically under a 3 month release cycle. If the community is small to start with, the outcome is predictable and, by now, apparent.

News and Announcements / Re: Zentyal 4.0 Roadmap Published!
« on: August 28, 2014, 03:07:57 pm »

I’m willing to fund for a year a website to be used to explore the possibilities. (Before I agree to that I would want to make certain things clear. In general, I’m not willing to provide anyone, including me, with a free [bully] pulpit or soap box about anything, for or against anything. No exceptions. That’s not negotiable.)

I’ll be away until the second week of September. If I see interest when I get back, I’ll move forward.

News and Announcements / Re: Time to resign
« on: August 19, 2014, 02:00:59 pm »
If there is no interest in the rest of the modules is because they were not really necessary.

You may be right, but it also may not be that simple.
  • Not everyone agrees that maintaining modules here is the best way to see the original product emphasis persist.
  • The realization that Zentyal has shifted focus could easily not yet be universal.
  • Zentyal is a non-trivial product written in Perl. Not everyone can just jump on that bandwagon.

You are right to require action and not just talk from the community (whatever that community might be). And the company is right, and has a right to pursue success. And yet, if there is genuine interest in and respect for the past community (including the developers) and the original vision, I think that the tone here ought not be unnecessarily dismissive of either people or product. Doing otherwise contributes nothing positive to any good faith effort to hand off the original project to others.

News and Announcements / Re: Zentyal 4.0 Roadmap Published!
« on: August 12, 2014, 11:10:34 pm » need of a fork at all.

I may not understand, but to me this seems true only under ideal conditions, long term:
  • There are no conflicts between contributed modules and future versions of Zentyal itself.
  • There are no conflicts between contributed modules. Or, said another way, that all contributed modules work seamlessly together across updates.
I think this is unlikely, but even so I do appreciate your willingness to be helpful in any way possible. That says a lot.

Installation and Upgrades / Re: Not using Zental after 2+ years.
« on: August 03, 2014, 04:41:03 pm »
I have limited experience running Egroupware under CentOS, and that was not a bad experience. Based on what we learned there, we are currently testing the free version of Group Office on our public web server. If that works out well for us (so far, so good), we will eventually migrate to the subscription version.

News and Announcements / Re: Zentyal 4.0 Roadmap Published!
« on: August 03, 2014, 04:29:35 pm »
So, my dear Julien Kerihuel, on Your presentation You mentioned  a method called: French Caffe. Accordding to that method, You can now observe, how the community reacts on this provocative road map [let us call it an error] !
For me, I just can say, back to ClearOS as a replacement for SBS.

I think Zentyal version 4.0 marks a clear, and presumably required change in business strategy. It seems necessary to suppose that the existing business model was not working—that the gateway product was not generating enough revenue to be sustainable.

If true, they have intentionally walked away from that portion of their installed base not wanting an Exchange Server replacement, as a business decision. The overall community response is almost certainly not a total surprise.

The real question is not what will the community say, but do. The lead developer is supporting a fork of the gateway product. If the gateway product was not commercially sustainable, it will be no great shock to see inadequate community support for a fork. Community support of various modules is not a bad idea, but of course that effort falls short of salvaging Zentyal as a gateway product.

So the situation is becoming clearer rapidly, and thankfully. If nothing else, I learned a lot working through Zentyal deployment.

News and Announcements / Re: Zentyal 4.0 Roadmap Published!
« on: August 01, 2014, 08:09:33 pm »
I'm glad to see someone stepping up to get started on maintaining a dropped module. I have never used Zafara, and I may or may not use it in the future, but I applaud your stepping up to the plate and look forward to hearing how it goes.

While I agree with congratulating initiative, where will this effort take the community? If the goal (and there should be a goal) is to salvage Zentyal as a gateway product, then J. A. Calvo’s suggestion to fork Zentyal makes sense more than retrofitting future versions of Zentyal.

If the goal is to improve Zentyal 4.0, then perhaps that should be clearly identified as the purpose of the community effort.

News and Announcements / Re: Zentyal 4.0 Roadmap Published!
« on: July 27, 2014, 05:07:43 pm »
I understand the need to make sure you have a rocksolid foundation for Zentyal.

The complication to this is that there are two kinds of rock solid, from a business point of view. One kind we all share an interest in, the technical reliability kind. The other kind is no less real but harder to define, the feature set reliability kind.

Zentyal has become a drastically moving target. Businesses that prefer the Zentyal they adopted or hoped to adopt are going to think differently about that fact than businesses that are excited about the new Zentyal.

But from a business end user point of view, long term feature set instability is going to be a problem for everybody. The businesses that embrace Zentyal 4.0 can’t reliably predict that they will be able to embrace the next commercial version. There is no credible history for that kind of rock solid.

A business can’t maintain a competitive edge or operational stability if the technology providers keep changing the infrastructure. What small business routinely renovates its physical plant every couple of years? Who wants to do that with their technology infrastructure?

When Debian users start experimenting with a Debian LTS project, I think that says something about a growing negative response to open source rates of change. Business growth generally happens better when the infrastructure is both reliable (technical stability) and predictable (feature set stability).

EDITED to improve clarity.

News and Announcements / Re: Zentyal 4.0 Roadmap Published!
« on: July 23, 2014, 04:48:04 pm »
Maybe we should focus as a community on documentation how to install and configure 3rd party features on a Zentyal server?

That may prove important even to small businesses who subscribe. As more modules drop more work (and cost) falls on the business, whether internally or through a third party/additional hardware. The community may be the only cost-effective Zentyal support option for some small businesses versus custom Zentyal support (beyond the scope of the subscription).

That assumes the small business market is important to Zentyal. If Zentyal as a business finds it difficult to keep everything running, it should not be too difficult to imagine the challenges Zentyal is shifting to small businesses.

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