Thursday, July 19, 2012

NX, LibreOffice, Groupwise 2012 & Evolution

After a lengthy process, we finally have been able to resolve some problems with NX connecting to our GNOME server running OpenSuse 11.4.  Google indicates the problem is fairly common: metacity was crashing immediately when the NX client is used on certain Windows video cards and all of the time on Mac. We were made aware of one fix that worked.  Installing the metacity released with GNOME 3 in the updates channel resolved the issue.  I was surprised that it installed cleanly over GNOME 2 with no library problems, but indeed that was the case.  So another nagging issue off the list and we can continue migrating a few pockets of users still using the older technology.  Now, if we just had that promised iPad client! :)

 I installed and upgraded LibreOffice to 3.5.5 last night without incident.  It's wonderful to be able to touch one place and have everyone in the City upgraded all at once.  The upgrade process is down to me only having to do three things by hand   1)) psprint.conf is clobbered on each update, so I have to make sure always make a backup prior to install.  I have already opened a bug report on this issue   2)) In the share/config directory I copy images_oxygen over the top of the other .zip files so that LibreOffice has a consistent look and feel even if users tinker with their icons.  This is done to make it easier for support. "Click on the icon that looks like a postage stamp", "I don't have that icon".  3)) & are shipped in one of the RPMs and when this is installed on OpenSuse 11.4, LibreOffice deadlocks about 10% of the time when first launched. I move this RPM out of the way before doing the upgrade.

I have been testing LibreOffice 3.6 and happy to see the progress.  At this time all of our showstoppers are fixed and we probably will upgrade almost immediately when it's released.  Nice work. CMIS is shaping up nicely.   I'll be looking at 3.7 when it appears in the daily builds.

The Attachmate split of Suse and Novell had its first casualty.  Unfortunately resources seem to have been pulled off of the Evolution and Groupwise connector and it appears dead.  Our Governance committee had approved another 2-3 year window of using Evolution and we had mapped out a plan with Suse to add new features and fix some nagging bugs.  We got a few patches and then everything halted.  Everyone understands that things change, but we were never formally told about this change in direction and found out about it second hand.  We have sent repeated emails to Novell/Suse seeking official word and still have not heard anything..which is both bad news and also very unprofessional.  I'm always of the mindset to have backup plans ready in computer technology, and we had scaled our Firefox server to be able to run web based email.  So after an initial meeting we're now moving ahead with a plan to remove Evolution and Suse SLED out of production and move to the web interface of Groupwise 2012.   With 2012, there are enough features working in a browser that it's ready for enterprise use.  Mobile capabilities for tablets and phones will be improved greatly, at the expense of some of the features found in Evolution.  While it might seem odd to continue to use a product from a company that just treated you poorly.....Groupwise is already here, known and stable and is cheaper than moving our users to something like Google mail.    Novell offers other products such as Vibe, and when asked for my opinion I would recommend not buying additional software from this company based on this experience.

EDIT: As noted in the comments by Matthew Barnes, Evolution is still vibrant and being developed.  The piece not being actively developed anymore is the Groupwise connector only. 

Up next for me: Finalizing the next thin client release for citywide deployment, continued testing of various upgrades, testing the new Firefox builds (14 - 15 -16), testing Alfresco, working on ways to make our support portal software integrate better with MS Windows and help us with load and user monitoring of that operating system.


Uomo Ragno said...

I fully understand you: we bought Suse SLES 10 on our servers.

Then we migrated all them to Debian after 1-2 years.

Matthew Barnes said...

Best clarify that only the GroupWise connector is dead, not Evolution itself.

Especially since Evolution is still seen by many as a Novell project, I don't want the wrong impression getting out there.

In any case, the remaining Evolution team will miss your involvement but I fully understand your position.

alon said...

Hi Dave,

Is there a blog post which details your setup of NX? I'm interested in what you use it for, and if you use the open source version or not and if there is an actual setup and configuration guide you've done, experience with using it, etc.

p.s. I know it's not directly related to this post, but you did mention NX :)

Italo Vignoli said...

Hi Dave, I would like to get in touch with you for the LibreOffice 3.6 press release, where I would like to insert your quote about the software. Can you please write me at italo at documentfoundation dot org? Thanks.

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