[Kolab-announce] Valentine's? Kolab 3.2 Release Day!

Jeroen van Meeuwen vanmeeuwen at kolabsys.com
Fri Feb 14 02:03:15 CET 2014

Normally, today's just that one day you are a little bit more attentive to 
those you admire.

In secret, or outspoken, it doesn't really matter. Anonymous, or with an email 
address -- whatever floats your boat goes, really.

Today however also marks the day that Kolab is being that little bit more 
attentive to you, whom we secretly admire.

We are proud to announce the immediate availability of Kolab 3.2! This is for 
you, yours and everyone else, for this release marks another milestone in the 
Kolab story, as previously seen on the Internet.

As you may remember, between Kolab 2.3 (now 4 years ago) and Kolab 3.0 
(development started over 3 years ago), the entire stack has been refactored.

Some of you have noticed more up close and personal, others from a distance, 
but like with any piece of software under active development, not everything 
has always been functioning as well as it might have.

After Kolab 3.0 came the development cycle for Kolab 3.1. A few big important 
features were added, largely demand-driven, and dare I say, largely customer-
driven. You may have noticed Kolab 3.1 was overdue, released way too late 
according to our original 6-month release cycle, but overall our collective 
experiences have been positive, I would say. We have literally supported 
thousands and thousands of individual users, up to and including users using 
Mutt. That said, I'm sure you appreciate our time was spent a hundred-fold 
during this period.

I'm very proud of what our team has achieved during this long period of busy-
work, with continued, ongoing development combined with customer support. You 
should probably take a moment to let them know you appreciate as well. The 
bug-fixing has gone beyond the explicit application error and on to major 
performance enhancements, which -- I can tell you from personal experience -- 
is a difficult topic to tackle.

For your comparison, 94% of the commits authored over the last 12 months is 
contributed by Kolab Systems employees. Over all time, current Kolab Systems 
employees have contributed to a total of 55% of all commits that ever existed 
in relation to the Kolab server. Over a history of longer than a decade, that 
is not a small feat. Read more of the complete profile on our Ohloh pages.

Long story short -- We did the refactoring. We did the stabilization. We did 
the performance optimizations. What's next, you might wonder?

Well, Kolab 3.2 marks this major milestone -- we're open for business! Nothing 
stops any of you from doing with Kolab what you like -- and we want our 
percentage to go down, yeah? This is the era for Kolab that we re-engage with 
exciting developments, back on the roadmap:

*   XMPP integration

    Your instant messaging at your fingertips, one click away from reading
    your email and re-scheduling your appointments.

    The basis for this has already been provided by our Thomas Brüderli in a
    mailing list post, but will be fully integrated in to Kolab Groupware.
    We're making the packages available, the documentation to go along with
    them, and hope you find some time to implement wishlist items we have ;-)

*   Event Notifications

    With Cyrus IMAP 2.5, we ship a version of IMAP that is able to broadcast
    events that happen in an IMAP session. In and by itself, this may not
    sound too interesting, so please read on.

*   Archival, Backup & Restore, e-Discovery and Live-Interception

    The four holy grails of electronic communications, these four topics
    currently tend to require four different solutions.

    Most of such solutions are simply not available as Free Software
    solutions, and therefore imply a great duplication of data, metadata and
    relations. For those that are available as Free Software solutions, such
    as Archival and Backup/Restore, you would wish the user could more
    autonomously restore a context-oriented set of messages, and have a real-
    time, online representation of what might already be stored on tape.

    Using the aforementioned Event Notifications, we seek to develop a
    singular solution to the four topics. We see no reason to distinguish
    between at least the first three, being Archival (because of regulatory
    requirements on retention of business records), Backup/Restore (because
    your users press delete too soon too often, and in disaster recovery
    scenarios), e-Discovery (where the questions tend to be of a legal

    Live Interception then -- I know you were wondering about this -- is a
    topic that relates to parties providing electronic communications to third
    parties. As a matter of legislation, for any communications, a means for
    authorities to "wire-tap" a given user must be available -- when such duly
    authorized authority knocks on a provider's door. While not supported in
    the community edition of Kolab at all, we seek to use the aforementioned
    Event Notifications to address this much requested feature as well.


    Again with thanks to Cyrus IMAP 2.5, and particularly the hard work of
    FastMail -- yes, that is a competitor of Kolab Systems-operated
    MyKolab.com, at some level, but credit where credit is due -- the
    XCONVERSATIONS capability will provide a set of IMAP commands to clients,
    to facilitate a more contextual view on communications, across folders.

    One might navigate by contact, topic or thread reference even though
    individual messages are stored in different folders, or conversations with
    contacts had other contacts involved.

    This is such new, leading technology, that no RFC has been drafted, let
    alone accepted, so Kolab 3.2 will be the platform we (co-)develop this

*   Message Annotations

    The availability of message-level annotations are likely to be used in
    Kolab in the (near) future.

    For example, you may or may not be aware of the fact that an appointment
    in a shared calendar is legible in full detail, to everyone the calendar
    is shared with. So how would you make the fact you have this meeting with
    the boss public (summary: Meeting with boss), but keep the details of the
    event (the agenda) secret? Well, you might encrypt the payload of the
    agenda, and store the decryption key in a private message annotation -- so
    that your web client, and mobile device, and desktop clients, can all read
    the full details, but no-one else can.

    We're seeking your opinions and ideas for more implementations! Get
    engaged now (mail to devel at lists.kolab.org).

*   Full-Text Indexing

    Where previously email's message body has had to be searched without an
    index for the message body, the full-text indexing feature to Cyrus IMAP
    2.5 implements RFC 6203, IMAP4 extension for Fuzzy Search (using Xapian).
    This is relatively new technology for us, so Kolab 3.2 will be the
    platform on which we develop the client's capabilities to make full use of
    this feature.

*   Cross-Folder Searches in the web client

    Roundcube has developed the basic implementation of cross-folder searches.
    A very difficult feature to achieve, but important to many people (who all
    have too many mail folders). It still requires a little bit of work, but
    this feature is scheduled for inclusion with Kolab 3.2 nonetheless. It
    needs a little bit of work still, but it's soon to arrive in a YUM or APT
    repository near you.

    Mind you that, combined with Full-Text Indexing, and perhaps also
    XCONVERSATIONS, the opportunities are limitless. Why not say out loud what
    you would like to have?

*   Birthday Calendar

    A feature requested so often we almost feel blue in the face, we now have
    a birthday calendar available in Kolab 3.2.

    The birthday calendar will be an extra optional calendar for you to
    select, and displays the birthdays of all contacts (including those in the
    global address book).

*   Collaborative Text- & Document Editing (scheduled)

    Based on our file storage, and integrated in to the web client, we seek to
    provide you with bleeding edge, next-generation, WebODF-based technology
    to enable collaborative editing of text and documents. This technology is
    so new, and so unstable (currently), that we can only estimate that we
    need about a week's worth of development time before it is ready for
    consumption -- as such it is the properly caramelized onion for a French
    onion soup, no cheating by adding sugar is allowed ;-) That said, we won't
    actually be ready to release it next week, for we have our developers
    working on other stuff as well, and so once more we could not afford to
    postpone the release of Kolab 3.2 just for this feature. I would say...
    stay tuned!

*   Two-Way IMAP Replication

    You've never been able to run two active Cyrus IMAP servers has a high-
    availability cluster providing load-balancing as well -- well, now you

    Two-way replication is what one might call eventually consistent though (a
    page I'm lending from the NoSQL book), meaning that hitting one server to
    mark a message as read to then hit the other server for a new folder
    status report does not guarantee the message you marked as read is
    immediately reported as having been marked as such. Your environment will
    have to adhere to specific topology deployment -- I'm sure Kolab Systems
    would be more than happy to sell you some consultancy on that.

So -- that's Kolab 3.2. I have to admit we're throwing nice, brand spanking 
new technology out there, and as such this is the release that is a full-
featured groupware solution on the one hand, and a development platform for 
new exciting features as well.

Get to the Installation Guide [1]!

PS: It's 2 AM, and packages are still building -- all 1600 of them. If you are 
traveling further, please check the monitors for the departure gate, which may 
have changed [2].

Kind regards,

Jeroen van Meeuwen

[1] http://docs.kolab.org/installation-guide/
[2] https://obs.kolabsys.com/project/monitor?project=Kolab%3A3.2

Systems Architect, Kolab Systems AG

e: vanmeeuwen at kolabsys.com
m: +44 74 2516 3817
w: http://www.kolabsys.com

pgp: 9342 BF08

Kind regards,

Jeroen van Meeuwen

Systems Architect, Kolab Systems AG

e: vanmeeuwen at kolabsys.com
m: +44 74 2516 3817
w: http://www.kolabsys.com

pgp: 9342 BF08
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