Moby – Alice
I was tasked with testing the Sun Calendar Server at work over the last week. I have found it to be very promising on paper, but very lacking in realistic implimentation. Here are my issues with it:
1) It is an absolute prick to download. I have a valid and authoritive Sun account, yet I get into a loop whenever I go to download the binaries or any of the connectors (Outlook, mobiles.) It was not until I found a vague and ancient account that my employer has that I was able to download nearly 2gigs of files (three dists for Solaris SPARC, Solaris x86 and Red Hat plus the connectors)
2) Their Linux distribution extends only to Red Hat. We are a Debian shop. Sure, Alien is there, but it’s not perfect. Where are the tarballs? Release the files!
3) The documentation is difficult to find and use. Some parts of the suite are documented to the point of crossing every t and dotting all the lower case j’s, some parts are vague at best
4) As it turns out, the Sun Calendar Server is way too tightly integrated into the rest of the Sun Communications stack. Yes, it’s great that I can integrate webmail and a calendar to replace our Nutsmail interface, but why do I have to have a Sun Directory Server and Sun Messaging Server instead of our existing OpenLDAP and Postfix servers?
5) While I like the general idea of stacks, I don’t like very tight stacks that lock you in to one vendor’s toolset. Sun, this is basically Microsoft with a coat of paint! Instead it should be a group of components with well documented API’s that integrate tightly with one another, and are open to being the missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle. I want a jigsaw piece, Sun want me to migrate everything to your pre-figured and framed piece.
To anyone considering the Sun Communications Stack, if you are starting anew or are at that stage where a migration won’t have that big an impact – go for it. Almost everything you need is there, and it’s not Microsoft, and if you can figure it out and don’t need corporate support – the downloads are free – support costs you though. If you are an existing shop who are primarily Microsoft – don’t bother, keep on trucking. If you are an existing shop who are primarily OSS – don’t bother, look at Zimbra instead – nonsense Yahoo licence and all.