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Can Ubuntu + Zimbra Take On Exchange/Outlook?


Browser-based applications are supposed to be cross-platform anyway, so partnering with Canonical may seem unnecessary for Zimbra. However, the Zimbra Collaboration Suite goes beyond most Ajax applications in that it can actually work offline, essentially by running a proxy of its Web services on the local machine. This requires a native application running outside the browser, which is currently available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Zimbra's approach is innovative, and in the long term could be a viable competitor to Outlook in the enterprise, while Ubuntu looks like an attractive platform to run it on: Canonical has quickly emerged as a leader in desktop Linux, announcing a partnership with Dell earlier this month. The Zimbra suite is relatively mature (in Web 2.0 terms), having been shipping for more than a year, but the offline component is still at the alpha stage, so it will appeal only to very early adopters.
Andy Dornan
NWC Senior Technology Editor


The Zimbra Collaboration Suite, an enterprise-focused open-source alternative to Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, is coming to the popular Ubuntu Linux distro. Those running Ubuntu on the desktop will also be able to take advantage of Zimbra Desktop, a complete Ajax-based collaboration client with offline capability.

Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) Network Edition now supports Ubuntu version 6.06 LTS (Long-Term Support) from Canonical. Ubuntu has garnered a great deal of attention for its sharp-looking, feature-filled and user-friendly desktop Linux distribution.

Together, Zimbra and Ubuntu offer enterprises a desktop/server OS/mail combo that could give Microsoft Outlook and Exchange a run for their money. While enterprises have largely defaulted to Microsoft's mail platform, an affordable and easy-to-use alternative could prove tempting.

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