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Zimbra offers a timely reminder with version 5.0Matthew Aslett, February 5, 2008 @ 4:28 pm ET
It’s good to see I’m not the only person concerned about Zimbra’s future in a world where Microsoft owns Yahoo. In fact, the open source collaboration firm offered a timely reminder that it is part of the Yahoo empire with version 5.0 of its Collaboration Suite, prompting many more people to wonder about the project’s long-term future.
The official line appears to be business as usual. Scott Dietzen, CTO of the Yahoo Zimbra and VP of engineering at Yahoo, told InformationWeek that “he had convened the Zimbra team on the morning of the offer and all agreed they must stay focused on ‘innovation in ZCS [Zimbra Collaboration Suite], building the Zimbra community and customer base’.”
He added that “the open source grant we made to the world is irrevocable”, suggesting that even if Microsoft were to acquire Yahoo and disband Zimbra as it stands today, the project would live on.
Dietzen may be confident about the future, but Groklaw’s Pamela Jones is not so sure. “I’m worrying about Zimbra, a project I had high hopes for,” she writes, adding that in her view, under the terms of the Yahoo Public License and Zimbra EULA, you cannot sublicense. The issue is that while most of the code is already open source, some of it is proprietary.
Not surprisingly there have already been calls for Yahoo to release all of the Zimbra Collaboration Suite under the GPLv3 as soon as possible in order to ensure its long-term survival.
Of course the situation could change dramatically if Google launches a counter-bid for Yahoo and another suggestion from Groklaw readers sees Yahoo selling Zimbra to Google. My guess would be that if Yahoo doesn’t accept Microsoft’s offer it will do its best to retain everything it has. I also can’t see Microsoft letting a potential Zimbra competitor back into the wild should the deal go through.
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