Today Zimbra announced version 6.0 of their popular collaboration software. So what makes this update so amazing that they had to skip several numbers from version 5.4? Rumors are already flying that this is a publicity stunt during a potential sale of the company. Is there enough meat in this release? Lets take a look.
According to the announcement these are the new updates.
Updated mobile support
Among the new mobile features, we find remote wiping of devices and enhanced server policies (eg. ‘force pin on device’ and password strength requirements). Remote wipe is a feature to clean out a lost or stolen mobile device to protect sensitive data. I can certainly see many enterprise CIO’s and CTO’s being excited when reading this, as remote wiping is a crucial feature as more and more data becomes accessible in smart phones.
The new version allows you to view messages in tabbed mode. It also comes with some further improvements that allow additional customization. Nothing really groundbreaking here.
The description of this feature is somewhat fuzzy. If I interpret this feature right, it allows you to both read and create presentations within Zimbra. Given that Google has been working on this for a long time without much success (Presentation in Google Docs is a joke), chances that Zimbra will master this field are pretty slim.
This could have made sense as a move initiated by Yahoo (as the owner of Zimbra), if they want to compete in the web-based Spreadsheet/Presentation/Word processor-market. Zimbra is a great platform for that. However, until these tools are rock-solid product, they are more likely to create frustration than provide a useful addition. There are also recent rumors that Yahoo is looking to sell Zimbra to slim down it’s diverse portfolio, in which case this theory wouldn’t apply.
Role based administration
Role base administration allows the primary administrator to extend partial administrative rights to individual users without giving them the keys to the kingdom. This is a very exciting feature, especially for the enterprise market where it is a necessity for an administrator to be able to delegate responsibilities.
Facebook, Del.ici.us, Twitter and more
The new Social Zimlet enables users to communicate with services such as Facebook, Del.ici.us, Digg and Twitter. While this sounds like a cool feature, I’m not sure it will be very well received in the more conservative business world.
Improved folder sharing
The new version includes an enhanced sharing tool to manage shared folders within the system. Without having tried this feature myself, it does sound like a good idea.
Among the new features under the hood are improved logging, better system graphs and hierarchical storage queries.
After digging into the release notes, we find the following component upgrades:
- Postfix 2.5
- OpenLDAP 2.4
- Nginx 0.5.37 (used as IMAP proxy)
To sum up, the new version includes a few interesting new features, but I’m not sure if I’m willing to agree with Zimbra that it is really that groundbreaking. Certainly there will be some suspicions that this is an attempt by Zimbra to drum up support as the company may be on sale by Yahoo. This could be either to buff up the company in the eyes of a potential buyer, or to make Yahoo think twice about selling it off. That said the update is sure to excite many and there could be more to it than meets the eye.