Wednesday, November 14, 2012

GNOME/Exceed, LibreOffice, Portal, Zimbra

Things have been very busy since the last blog.  Lots of concurrent projects happening and some long term design elements falling into place.


The software that allows iPad tablets to connect to GNOME was moved over to the production machine and is now in the hands of some beta testers.  The speed is great, and things are working really well.  From home, I can tap a few buttons and my work GNOME session appears on the tablet over my cable modem and is almost as fast as being in our City Hall building.   I sent off a few suggestions for making it easier to work on a multi-touch device with mouse based software and hope to see some of these ideas in future client releases.  I'm anticipating that we'll buy some licenses at the end of the trail.

Portal Tablet Support

Being that users will now be logging in with tablets, I wanted to change our in-house support portal to correctly log these authentications and make it easier for our staff to see where and how users are logged in and be able to send them remote control requests.  Very often users call and aren't really sure how they are logged in, and the software now helps us see exactly what's happening.

I always have more ideas than time, and have wanted to work in this area for a long time.  From the portal when you enter the user name, it hunts the network for their active logins.  With my changes made, it understand if they are logged in with a tablet and displays it in the right area and layers a shot of their screen over an iPad image.  Previously to perform functions on a session, you would click on the screen thumbnail and go to a detail screen.  I added small shortcut buttons below the screenshot to eliminate another few clicks.  [ I understand certain UI decisions and artwork could be better.  Time doesn't always allow for this level of design.]   It works, we use it all the time, and it's constantly evolving

I also spruced up the code to detect users that are logged in multiple workstations and this makes it easier to find the right session.  Users also can log into workstations and tablets at the same time too.   This all is clearly displayed.  In the shot below, I was logged into two workstations and both were located.


 3.6.3 came out and this is the best one yet.  The earlier releases had some install bugs that I worked around.  This one installed cleanly and we have no reports of users crashing and import filters are working better than in earlier versions.  If you have been holding on 3.5, now might be the time to look over 3.6.

Zimbra For Email

After a lengthy process the Governance Committee has asked us to move to the Zimbra email software.  This software runs 100% in a browser, and this means that Evolution/SLED and Groupwise/SLES will be retired.  We've had Groupwise since 1994, so it's a major step for us.  Especially in the 1990s, Groupwise was away ahead of its time, but it fell more and more behind and we couldn't get Evolution patches and features fast enough to keep up with demands.  This upgrade will happen sometime in early 2013.

Other projects: Teaching myself OpenLDAP and learning how best to get it integrated, looking over Firefox 17, keeping plugins current and continued work on the new Ubuntu thin client operating system.


Martin said...


this Zimbra solution sounds really interesing. But if it works in the browser, I wonder how to realise digital signatures and encryption of email?


Email archiving software said...

Zimbra is great solution for the big companies too! The best email software.