javivazquez at Zentyal

Contribute by self interest

September 1st, 2010 · 2 Comments

As you already know, eBox has changed its name to Zentyal, so eBox Platform Zentyal 2.0 is just around the corner. Actually, after Lenovo announced a couple of days ago its eBox game console name, we all have re-agreed that the name change was a (very) good idea :-)

As you are very well informed on our new name nature and meaning (even on the pronunciation ;)), I would like to highlight other shift announced by our CEO -Nacho Correas- a few days ago: the opening up of the eBox Zentyal development.

Nacho referred to the new Localization Teams (or i18n, internationalization), a big success given the number of volunteers already gathered, and I want to talk about the development itself.

First of all, let me make clear that it is not that the development of eBox Platform has been closed from the beginning. The project is GPL since 2005 and the community has helped a lot in its evolution, mainly with feedback, testing and i18n. However, although there was a pretty good documentation for developing new modules, only a couple of guys from the community offered themselves to start coding (nothing happened though).

I know, we are a privately funded company, eBox Zentyal is not a foundation and the company is investing time and money with the idea of getting that amount N times in the future. Why anyone should collaborate in making us “rich”?

Well, actually, as you know, money is not the only issue we human beings care of. Moreover, there a lot of good articles out there explaining our reasons to collaborate and contribute to, e.g., open source projects, even when they are ruled by a private company. For this post, I just want to talk about one of them: self-interest.

The good thing of open source products is that anyone can download your software and build a new product, or just offer services on top of it. Honestly, we do it with Ubuntu Server and a bunch of open source modules, so we understand and support that others do it with eBox Zentyal as well. Open source is a source of innovation and business, it is good by itself.

Having said that, there are more than 3,600 members currently registered in our forum. Additionally, at least other 100 companies worldwide are offering services around eBox Zentyal. Even more, there are many public and private organizations customizing eBox Zentyal Server for their own needs.

So, the good news is that we are more open than ever to accept your contribution, share the IP and take care of it for your self interest, whether:

* You are a student who wants to get introduced in the open source world and, who knows, make a living of it…

* Your company is selling eBox Zentyal with some new small/big new modules, but you are busy enough giving services to invest more time in maintenance and evolution…

* Your organization is customizing eBox Zentyal for hundreds/thousand of schools/councils and, glup, it is going to be a mess to merge it with our new brand new version…

Then, be brave and start/continue developing the Zentyal module you always wanted to have, inside our community.

Contribute, we will be keen of helping and supporting you to do so, by self mutual interest.

Tags: community · foundations

2.000 users registered in the eBox forum

November 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment

As of today, November 18th, eBox forum has reached the number of 2,000 users registered.

2.000 members is not a small amount for a Linux small business server such as eBox Platform. It’s more impressive if you know how the numbers have evolved lately though.

The eBox forum was originally set up in May 2007, more than 2 years and half ago. However, 58% of the users registered during 2009 only, and 30% in the last 4 months and a half, since we released eBox 1.2.

Whether as Gateway, UTM, Infrastructure manager, Office Server or Unified Communication Server, it’s good to know than eBox Platform has become one of the most used server-side  products out there.

We hope to reach 3.000 members in the following 6 months, or even less if we have into account the number of improvements and new features already being tested for eBox 1.4:  Active Directory sync, remote backup, webmail, support for Master-Slave LDAP, PPPoE support, usability enhancements, …

The bigger is our community, the better will become eBox Platform, and also faster.

My sincere thanks to all our eBox community members!

Tags: community

Growing records in the eBox forum

November 1st, 2009 · No Comments

October has been a good month for records, our community is growing fast.

Last month, 163 users have enrolled in our forum, the main site for sharing ideas about the future of eBox Platform and getting free (as in beer) support.

eBox forum will reach 2.000 registered users before December. As of today, we are more than 1.900, from which 725 came in the last 6 months.

Directly from the stats section of the forum, 2009 October’s records:

  • 163 new users registered. An impressive 21,6% growth compared to the last top: 134 in September.
  • 184 new topics and 931 posts. 167 topics and 773 posts were the former highest, reached in May.

Another record is related to the number of downloads for the eBox 1.2 iso, more that 8.300 during October from the new Sourceforge repository.  Another 20% increase compared to September less than 7.000.

Worth to say that those downloads don’t take into account our under development unstable release eBox 1.3, only for installation through packages, neither eBox deployments from Ubuntu repositories.

Therefore, both new users registered in eBox forum and the number of downloads of our eBox 1.2 iso have grown ~20% in the last month, compared to the former one. It seems to point out we are in the right path.

Tags: community

eBox as a Platform

September 25th, 2009 · No Comments

Being eBox Platform the main product of our company, the title of this post could be just a nice play on words…

However, reading on the open source and business model debate, from Stephen Walli‘s to Mat Assay’s blogs, I believe I got to something interesting around eBox Platform as a platform, despite of (please forgive) the repetition.

From the latter, Mat Assay’s “Product management goes open source”:

[...] We were so busy marketing our vision that we almost missed listening to our users’ vision(s) [...]

[...] open-source companies, if they listen to their users, are well-positioned to build platforms that can become the lifeblood of enterprise IT [...]

If you ask me which is the eBox’s vision, I would speak about our perspective instead: eBox Technologies and eBox Platform desire to be for Linux in the server, what Canonical and Ubuntu have been for Linux in the desktop.

And the key point is: how are we building it?… Listening to our users and clients (our partners), so supporting them to develop their business using eBox as a Platform.

Not by chance, eBox Technologies is a 100% partner-focused company. Not by chance, our partner program puts the stress on flexibility, strongly encouraging our partners to develop their own value on top of eBox, even building eBox based products to be re-branded. Mixed, combined or pure, but always flexible.

Whether a mini data-center, a security/VPN appliance, or a micro home sever; eBox is being customized and combined to fit in every hole… Because marketing such a horizontal product would be much difficult without partners which struggle for their picked niches with self adapted tools.

It’s not a new business model neither a brand new strategy, but just a(nother) way to explain Ebox’s perspective.

Paraphrasing both Stephen and Matt blogs, I feel like “in the open road, once more unto the breach”.

Tags: foundations

eBox Platform 1.2 is officially out!

July 15th, 2009 · No Comments

eBox Platform 1.2 has been officially published and it’s ready for download from our repositories.

The latest version of eBox Platform includes a lot of new stuff, but I would highlight a couple of new modules that complete the functionality of eBox UTM and eBox Unified Communication Server:

The Intrusion Detection System (IDS, based on Snort) and the PBX that allows telephone over IP  (VoIP, based on Asterisk).

Furthermore, as the announcement points out:

“[...] eBox Platform 1.2 is the first partner-ready version, as it allows the registration of different eBox installations in eBox Control Center to facilitate remote access, managed services and advanced support for a group of eBox networks [...]”

It means that eBox is ready to sign with the partners which are currently in negotiations, offering them third level support for deployment and maintenance, certified training and the technology needed to become a managed services providers (MSPs).

Last, but not least, this release comes also with a surprise for your Ubuntu based desktops:  eBox Desktop, wich provides authentication against eBox LDAP and auto-configuration for the services provided by eBox (mail, samba, Jabber, VoIP, …).

From eBox 1.2 on, eBox Platform will be released on a 6 months basis. Our next stable will be eBox 1.4, which is expected for early January 2010.

What will eBox 1.4 include? Don’t go so fast, enjoy eBox 1.2 and stay tuned :), the new features for 1.4 will be announced in the next few weeks.

Tags: misc