The important role of the Zarafa community in Zarafa’s business model

April 22, 2015 by Felix Bartels  

With more details on future software development and a transition path for community users

Over the last 7 years Zarafa has made significant steps in establishing an ecosystem with partners, customers, community members and others. We’ve got a lot of energy of building an ecosystem together with you. At the same time Zarafa has been in a split between open source and close source components, where we were not able to unleash full potential in development and ‘distro’ adoption out of this combination.  

We are going to move to business model where new innovations are released under AGPL as much as possible. We envision a community where we work together with maintainers of distributions. A community where it is easier and rewarding to create and maintain add-ons on top of the Zarafa stack. 

In this new world, we plan on working together with community members of distributions to maintain these packages. As soon as we have this up and running, we will post an update in the community. The source code continues to be available for download. Are you interested in joining us in our adventures? Add yourself to the ‘I’m interested’ list and we will reach out to you in the future.

An open source model, tested binaries as a service for customers

With a renewed business model Zarafa continues to offer customers the guarantee of quality tested binaries. While Zarafa has always delivered on this promise in the past, the differences between freely available downloads and downloads for customers have not always been clear. 

We strive to a situation where we have the source code open source available. For Zarafa’s commercial goals and thus success, it becomes more important to have a clear distinction between a subscription and the AGPL packages. Therefore we will split up the availability of our packages: 

 

  • Open source AGPL packages: these packages will contain no proprietary software components. In 2015, all AGPL open source packages of every distribution will stay available at our website. As we move to a true open source model, we will support maintainers of popular distributions. We expect you will notice the efforts of community members over the course of 2016. At this time, it is likely that packages for the popular distributions will be available from the maintainer’s website and / or other websites. The source code continues to be available for download.
  • Proprietary software: still available in our customer portal (accessible with valid login credentials). We will offer a transition path for people who need access to our proprietary Zarafa MAPI client.
  • Tested binaries as a service for commercial customers: These binaries with guaranteed quality by Zarafa are available over our new repositories. Valid login credentials and a valid subscription are needed.

A transition path for our proprietary software components

Our strategy for the upcoming years is to focus on an open source software stack. To make this happen we will no longer focus on proprietary software add-ons from May 2017. We will help our customers to make this a smooth transition. 

As you may know, Zarafa’s MAPI Client is phased out. It will no longer be available on this website from 1 May 2015. What if you as a community user need access to the MAPI client until it is phased out? As mentioned, we want to make a clear distinction between our open source stack and the services we provide to customers - and we are going to start now which will have impact on the way you access your downloads. At the same time, we understand the needs of community users to access the proprietary components in the meantime. Therefore we hope to provide answers that will fit your use case:

A transition package for community users: Access to the MAPI client until 1 May 2016

 

  • We are introducing a transition package called “Zarafa for home”. This package is for users in very small environments who depend on the Zarafa client. 
  • Zarafa for home consist of: the AGPL package + 3 Outlook users; for this version you can get support in the forums; but you will not have portal, email or telephone support from Zarafa.
  • As mentioned, we intend to separate open source from (commercial) proprietary software. Therefore our closed software is only available in our portal from 1 May. Any community user can get access to the portal. Here they can get Zarafa for Home for 0 EUR. This package is available from the end of April until 1 May 2016.
  • Do you want to have access to the Outlook MAPI client until 1 May 2017? In this situation we advise you to get your copy of the ‘Zarafa for Home’ before 1 May 2015. This would give you the option to renew ‘Zarafa for Home’ in 2016. 

Outlook options in the future

 

  • The Z-push team are a group of developers who grew their software (z-push.org) from a community project to a software component used by almost every Zarafa customer. The Z-Push backend is now being extended in order to make it compatible with Outlook over ActiveSync. This gives users a native solution for accessing their own inbox, calendars and contacts. Outlook 2013/2016 users of Zarafa customers are reporting positive signals. The proof of concept seems to work well for smaller environments. We expect this project to grow in the upcoming months.
  • As the project moves forward, you can evaluate if Outlook compatibility over ActiveSync with Z-push meets your use case. If it would, you could in theory have access to a complete open source communication & sharing stack.

Where to get ‘Zarafa for Home’?

Please check the first FAQ item below.


We hope that one of these options fits your needs and use case. One thing we didn’t yet touch is how we want to work with you to stimulate community development with our new model. We will update you on that next month.

With warm regards,

The Zarafa Team


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Frequently asked questions

How can I access ‘Zarafa for Home’?

We are going to open the webshop to community members, too. We are now working out the last technical details. We expect we will be able to give you access to the webshop in the next few days. For now, leave your details here and we will send you a mail when the doors of the webshop are opened. We ensure you that you will be able to order the ‘Zarafa for Home’ package before 1 May 2015.

What happens after 1 May 2016 with my 'Zarafa for home'?

Like commercial customers who purchase after a subscription from 1 May 2015, you no longer receive updates on and download access to the Zarafa Outlook MAPI client after 1 May 2016. The AGPL versions are still on our and other sites available depending on your distribution.

What should I do when I would like to use Outlook after 1 May 2016?

You could get the 'Zarafa for home' before 1 May 2015. In that event you have (like all Zarafa customers who buy a subscription before 1 May 2015) the option to renew for another year. This would give you access to the download and maintenance updates until 1 May 2017.

In addition, other Outlook options are to be expected in the future: 

 

  • The Z-Push backend is now being extended in order to make it compatible with Outlook over ActiveSync. This gives users a native solution for accessing their own inbox, calendars and contacts. Outlook 2013/2016 users of Zarafa customers are reporting positive signals. The proof of concept seems to work well for smaller environments. We expect this project to grow in the upcoming months.
  • As the project moves forward, you can evaluate if Outlook compatibility over ActiveSync with Z-Push meets your use case. If it would, you could in theory have access to a complete open source communication & sharing stack. 

I’m using the community version to evaluate your product. What now?  

We will still provide trials via zarafa.com. A trial gives you access to the features of a Zarafa Enterprise edition.  It includes everything that Zarafa has to offer. We plan on handing out longer trial periods so that people don't have to rush their evaluation path. Please contact us if you would like to make use of a longer trial period ([email protected]).