Zimbra's new Desktop: Look ma, no browser!

For the past few weeks, I've been using Zimbra's new Prism-based Desktop. Verdict? It rocks.

I fell in love with Zimbra's Ajax-style interface the first time I saw it.

Slick, powerful, and much more extensible than Microsoft Outlook ever dreamed of being. There was just one thing I hated about the Zimbra experience: the browser artifacts around the application that made me feel like I was stuck in a Web site , rather than living in an application that just happened to leverage the power of the Web.

No more. For the past few weeks I've been using Zimbra's new Prism-based Desktop. Verdict? It rocks. Take a look at the UI below:

Zimbra's new Desktop: It rocks

How did Zimbra do this? With Prism, which is a Mozilla project that basically lets applications borrow a tightly integrated, stripped-down version of the Firefox browser to run as standalone applications. This gives them all of the benefits of the browser (and the Web) without the browser artifacts. It's a match made in heaven.

Now that Zimbra has full BlackBerry support, plus the ability to use my POP3 (.Mac, Comcast) and IMAP (Gmail) e-mail with Zimbra desktop, I'm scrapping Microsoft Entourage to use Zimbra full time.

After all, Zimbra gives me the full calendar/e-mail/address book suite that kept me with Entourage, but bombards me with an Internet-full of add-on applications/mashups (flight status, maps, and a range of other Zimlets). In other words, I finally have the "fat client" that I craved while being able to tap into the "fatter client" called the Internet.

It's very cool. You should give it a spin. This is the best e-mail "client" ever built...largely because of its successful marriage of the Web with the desktop. In the future, all applications will be like this--or should be.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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