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Changes between Pobox and Zimbra Services

In July 2008 ISC Networking & Telecommunications migrated our pobox.upenn.edu email service (known hereafter as Classic Pobox) to a more capable and modern system with expanded capabilities for collaboration and document sharing. The new system is called Zimbra. For the core service of email delivered to users who run their choice of supported IMAP or POP email client, such as Apple Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook, the new system will behave much like the old. In several other ways Zimbra is very different than Classic Pobox.

This page highlights some changes in behavior for functions with which Classic Pobox users are familiar. Look to the Zimbra FAQ and the documentation being assembled at the ProWiki (both works in progress) for more information about the expanded capabilities that Zimbra will bring, including shared Calendars, collaborative Document creation, Task lists and more.

Passwords which must be changed.

  • Classic Pobox users with Basic Security accounts will have to change their passwords before using Zimbra. This is because Zimbra encodes user passwords with a more secure algorithm than Classic Pobox, and the Classic Pobox passwords cannot be read by Zimbra.
  • Classic Pobox users with Enhanced Security accounts will continue to use their Pennkey to access Zimbra but Classic Pobox users with Enhanced Security accounts who wish to use an external calendar client with Zimbra, such as Apple iCal, Mozilla Lightning or the Outlook Connector must set a "local" password on the Zimbra server just like Basic Security users. Zimbra Calendar is not yet compatible with Kerberos, the protocol that PennKey is based on. Users in this situation must be sure to continue to use their PennKey password for email, using the local password ONLY for their Calendar client. If the system detects that the Enhanced Security user is connecting an email client using a local password, the account will be automatically converted to a Basic Security account (and billed accordingly).
  • Instructions for changing your password

Authenticated SMTP only

  • On the Classic Pobox system, a user could send mail to another pobox.upenn.edu address without using authenticated SMTP. On Zimbra we only allow authenticated SMTP. Most users will not be affected by this change but devices like printers which are capable of sending email will be affected. Users will need to review the mailing process for devices and configure these processes to authenticate to SMTP. If a device is not capable of authenticating, the user must set up a SMTP-relay server that can handle the sending of the mail. For more information, please see the SMTP-Relay site.

Default location for "Sent" mailbox

  • Some users of Classic Pobox are accustomed to their sent messages being copied to a mailbox named "sent" in a directory named "Mail", but Zimbra will put outgoing messages into a mailbox "Sent" which is not inside a "Mail" directory. This is a subtle difference in naming that may confuse users. New outgoing messages will begin to collect in that new mailbox, so users may wish to move and consolidate their collected old sent mail into the new Sent mailbox. This is a simple "Select All" & drag to the Sent mailbox.

Data migration

  • During the migration from Classic Pobox to Zimbra, ISC only migrated user data that was recognizable as mail folders and mailboxes. Details of files that were ignored and not migrated is available.
  • While we migrated Webmail addressbooks, Webmail filter rules and user profiles were not migrated.

Spam filtering changes

  • Mail continues to be examined for spam and viruses by our vendor, Message Labs, but at this time Zimbra does not offer users any direct control over the spam and virus filtering. It was turned on by default for all users and messages flagged as spam will be retained for 14 days before it is automatically deleted from the system. In the near future we will investigate the possibility of providing some of othe same functionality for managing spam. Details of spam filtering changes are available.

Vacation messaging changes

  • Vacationing and autoreply is now set by the user in the Zimbra preferences page, not in the web-based Account Services tool. Users can specify start and end dates for the autoreply.
  • Users can specify that a notification message be sent to any email address when an email message arrives to their Zimbra account. An email-enabled pager could alert the user to check messages, for instance.

No FTP access

  • FTP is no longer available, but Zimbra does offer users a web-based file-upload function that loads any type of file into a storage area in their account called the Briefcase. A user can actually have multiple Briefcases, and each can be divided into folders. A Briefcase can be shared for easy transfer of files without emailing them as attachments. A Briefcase can be shared to other Zimbra users, or outside of the system to individual non-Zimbra users. As on Classic Pobox, files stored in a Briefcase count against a user's quota.

No mailing lists service

  • Classic Pobox mailing lists have been discontinued, and many lists have been migrated to PennNet Mailing Lists. Zimbra does offer users the ability to create "contact groups", which can be shared among Zimbra users to create a small private discussion group. Only Zimbra users can use contact groups; no external email addresses can participate. If you need to create a full functioning mailing list, consider the PennNet Mailing List service.

No shell access

  • The Zimbra system provides all its functionality through a web interface. Users will not have the ability to login to a shell and issue commands or use their account as a UNIX environment.

No personal web pages

  • Pobox personal web pages have been discontinued. Zimbra doesn't provide a similar feature, although web-based Documents can be created and shared among Zimbra users.

Discontinuation of support for older mail clients

Data restoration changes

  • In Classic Pobox, when an LSP requested a restore-from-backup for a user, we were able to recover a specific file such as the Inbox or other saved mail folder. With Zimbra, we can currently only restore a user's entire account from a specific date. We will recover the account of user like "pennuser" to a new account, "restored_pennuser" and give the user ownership of the new account. The user or LSP can then copy the specific data to be restored, and then we will delete the restoration account. The fee for a restore will stay the same, currently a flat $50.

Webmail changes

  • The Zimbra web interface gives easy access to your email, calendar, address book, task list, file storage and collaborative document creation and editing. Viewed simply as a webmail interface, it is a great improvement over Classic Pobox webmail, but the added functionality makes it a powerful workgroup tool.

PDA support

  • Zimbra offers three views of its web interface. The default Advanced view is what most users will use most of the time; it responds more like a standalone client than traditional webmail (for instance, right-clicks bring up context-sensitive menus). When using an old browser, users can switch to a less feature-rich Standard view. Zimbra also has a Mobile view that presents a simplified and elegant display of the important content, well suited for a small display. Users may select the Mobile view when they login to Zimbra using iPhones or similar devices.
  • Mobile devices without full web-browsers can use standard ActiveSync connections to receive mail and calendar updates.
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