A Look at Zimbra Desktop Beta

Posted by ToxicDoom | Friday, November 28, 2008 |

After seeing this on download.com - i decided it would be fun to download this, and give it a test drive! I'm almost all over Beta's (Even Alpha's for that matter.) It gives me a chance to see things that most people won't even touch until after it goes live - or, at least out of beta. I've beta'd many things - Most notably Digsby and Windows Vista - among other things. But, enough about the "bragging" - let's take a look at a new email client, Zimbra Desktop!

When I found it - i was surprised to learn it's actually from Yahoo. Weird. Why? It's weird to think of them moving into the "Desktop Email Clients" that have cluttered us (For lack of a better word) Some work better than others - while some just suck (Incredimail, i'm talking about you!) I've tried 'em ALL! Windows Mail that ships with Vista, which i'm still using right now. Windows Live Mail - the desktop version...which includes the stable and beta...to the Open source clients, like Thunderbird. Thunderbird works best in my opinion, but, after awhile - it seems like my email setup hates me! Either that, or Microsoft has found a new way to keep people using their products....

Whoa! Talk about conspiracy nut! I will give Microsoft credit - they're trying to break away from the horrid days of Outlook Express - but, that will still linger - especially with all the people still using XP who don't want to make a switch to Live Mail. OE's bigger brother is great on the other hand - it's just the small brother i have complaints about.

Anyways - more on to Zimbra now!

I came across a site that had broke the news that Yahoo! had spent $350 Million for Zimbra. So, at least they're trying. The setup of Zimbra is also very easy - and very clean. Kinda...Java-y (I know that's not a word! Sue me! HA HA!) For an open source email client right now - it's going really well! I think the only drawback right now is setting up Hotmail to use Zimbra. It's a little complicated - as in....prob'ly not happening. This will only work with Microsoft Live Hotmail Plus accounts. Some free accounts that still support Outlook Express may also be used. And, even to that extent - you have to fiddle around in your Live Mail account (mail.live.com) - and set it up to allow client access. Not hard for some - difficult for many! I tried to set it up...couldn't...went and looked for help...came across that Live is MAPI...and, is currently not supported. If i'm mistaken, let me know! For now though - i can live without it!

On the plus side - it does allow many other webmail accounts to be used. GMail, Yahoo!, Zimbra, AOL, IMAP accounts - and of course, POP access from your ISP! Many people won't even want to set up Gmail accounts - as Google finally made the Themes available to all of it's users (Well, if it's not there Yet, it will be soon!)

Once you're done with the setup process, and you get to your email - it actually looks like a full fledged web based email program. Prob'ly because it is built on AJAX (AKA: Web 2.0) - and, again, is very open source.

Moving around in the program is quite easy. It has to be. But, the one thing i find it lacks is the ability to see what's happening in all the accounts. At least, i can't figure it out. Maybe if i spent more than a few hours looking around, i might find it :)

All the features are there though! It's really amazing! A contact list is in there, a calendar is in there...search features are implemented if ya go to the "Advanced" button...and, there's a new thing called "Zimlets" - which are basically applets or Widgets. You can import maps into email - as well as pictures from Flickr, and you can even go local!

This is really a must for ya to check out if you're looking for an email client as an alternative to Mozilla and Windows. I know it's still in beta - but, become active in the community! It's open source - and the best things are Open! I will be definately leaving it on here for awhile to learn my way around it a little bit - and, to take a break from Windows Mail. We'll see if it can handle what i can throw at it - that's the ultimate test right there!

If you're interested in checkin' it out, and downloading it - Go HERE! Check out the screenshots, and see if it fits in your life. Only you know what's best for ya - i only report on it :)