Good Riddance Outlook. Hello Zimbra!
It is now one month since I started using Zimbra, a free, Open Source
mail server. I previously used Thunderbird, then started using Outlook in order to handle calendaring with work colleagues. I have hated the Outlook experience every
step of the way. Here are some of the problems:
- Periodically need to shut-down and restart the app to get new mail
- Regular White Screen of Death situations where the app just goes white and does who-knows-what before returning control
- Lousy feed handling (I use Google Reader now and it is fantastic)
- Problems keeping Internet calendar sync’d
Outlook is probably good if you have one or two email
accounts, but when you are managing more accounts and mixing IMAP/POP,
Outlook just is not up for the task. I got totally fed-up with the whole situation a month ago, and started searching for an
alternative. More specifically, I looked for a web-based alternative that so closely
resembled a desktop client, that you would not be able to tell the
difference. I found many Windows mail servers but all of them had
crappy webmail clients and the ones that were crappy were too pricey.
When I saw the Zimbra demo, I knew my
search was over. One big problem — it runs on Linux. I saw this as an
opportunity to keep up my skills on the Linux platform. I got a cheap Ubuntu dedicated virtual server at
Linode.com, downloaded and installed Zimbra and a few hiccups later, I
am in email Utopia. All my work and personal email, in one location, web-based with
sharing of Address Books, Calendar, Documents with other family members,
full-support for email identities. To be honest, I did not need to get the virtual server…I found an exceptional hosted service at 01.com that is a pretty good deal, however I have always liked to have full access to my mail server and I did not want to lose this.
So far, things have been great. I don’t think I am ever going back to Outlook or any other Windows client. The speed, responsiveness and features (that matter) of the Zimbra web client rival and exceed those of most Windows client (definitely better than Outlook). Drag-and-drop, context menus, alerts…everything just works.
I look forward to seeing what innovative things happen with Zimbra now that Yahoo! has purchased it.