Saturday, November 7, 2009

Zimbra - Perfect E-Mail Client for Perfect People

It is common to use a separate e-mail account for each separate activity: work, home, hobby, web subscriptions, etc.. So happened that some of accounts I have at Yahoo and others at Google.  Neither Yahoo nor Google allows simultaneous access to multiple accounts. So I've been thinking for a long time how convenient it would be to have alive connections to all my web e-mail accounts from one place at the same time. Another problem with Yahoo - no support for IMAP (they offer POP3 for $ Mail Plus, but I don't even want POP3). Now solution for both the issues is available - it is Zimbra Desktop.

An attempt to install zdesktop_1_0_3_build_1691_win32.exe failed with a strange error, so I installed previous zdesktop_1_0_build_1537_win32.exe then allowed it upgrading to version 1.0 build 1593 - flawless.

I registered all my Yahoo and Google accounts in Zimbra Desktop and tested them - result is remarkable:
  • All accounts are in simultaneous access as expected.
  • Working from Zimbra Desktop is the same as if it would be from the web-account - all changes applied in the Desktop are properly reflected on the web-account and vice-versa.
  • Somehow Zimbra has true IMAP access to Yahoo free accounts - it's probably become possible because Zimbra is actually Yahoo Zimbra.
  • Zimbra enables IMAP access to Google e-mail accounts and it works fine too.
  • Zimbra provides an access not only to inbox but to all existing folders in the account.
  •  It can work with many other types of accounts as Hotmail, AOL, POP3, IMAP, etc.:

  • Zimbra has many other features which I don't need yet but I'm considering them interesting for the future.
  • Available for Linux and Windows.
I tested it on Yahoo and Google accounts - Zimbra gives a transparent control over e-mails as if you would be really logged in the web-account. Amazing!

The only inconvenience I faced with Zimbra Desktop is that it relies on computer account security, but the issue is related not to the program itself but to a user perfection and I am apparently not such one. So if you have not established a separate password protected account for every member of your crew, your parrot and your wooden leg, then Zimbra Desktop can be started by someone with access to the computer and all your e-mail accounts will be exposed whether you like it or not. I personally didn't want to change the sin way what got settled on my desktop PC - that's why I simply installed Zimbra on a virtual machine with all passwords and I run it only for myself.

Potentially, in order to satisfy imperfect people as myself, the issue could be easily fixed by adding a "user logon to Zimbra" with loading a corresponding account profile... but probably that would be too much to expect from Zimbra developers: Zimbra Desktop is already a great useful program.

It should be said that Desktop is just one application among many what Zimbra offers. The main product is Zimbra Collaboration Suit. It comes with different flavors and prices from the free Open Source Edition to the Professional Edition - check out their web-site for details.


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