Last week I finally manage to get hold of a nokia E90 communicator, which has been the major holdup in my migration completely to open source. As I run my business a lot on the move, I decided early on that I needed to retain a mobile phone sync function that I had used for 4 years (nokia phones, PC sync and microsoft Outlook). The sticking point for me was that my current nokia 9500 communicator is not supported by zimbra mobile as its an old symbian operating system, so I needed to wait until the new E90 was launched to migrate away from outlook and windows XP.
Well after many delays, I got hold of one last week, and spent about 6-8 hours learning it, configuring it and migrating all my contacts and calendar across to zimbra ready to sync the new system.
- migrating contacts and calendar from the 9500 by bluetooth, because my outlook PST file was so corrupt that I couldn’t export them to CSV’s or iCAL files.
- installing the nokia exchange software (nice to see nokia using php on their site!)
- redirecting my email to the new email address
- migrating all my email archive using IMAP to the zimbra server (which took a few hours)
- getting used to the zimbra interface
- exporting my outlook tasks (using copy and paste!) and importing them into Tooledo.com which I am using a temporary task manager until the next version of zimbra is released with task support.
Finally it was time to cermononiously turn off windows and reboot into ubuntu with all the business functionality I need to operate with open source as my sole software suite. God it felt good.
But, I reflected on the cost of this to date. Its been expensive in terms of time, very expensive. Probably a hundred plus hours of my time to get to this stage. Open source is great, reliable and cheaper in terms of license fees, but the migration is punishing.
Advice to new business startups is go with open source from the start – far better for compliance, functionality, reliability and cost saving. The more you get hooked into developing systems that are dedicated to microsoft, then the harder it is to get out of it. If you are considering open source as a short term cost saving exercise in your business and plan to use existing hardware or have special software, then my advice is dont. Have a long term strategy, or accept that its cheaper to stay with what you have.
That said, I dont regret the migration for a minute, and now I am the first person in the business running only open source software I will report on my experiences in the coming weeks before we start the roleout for all our other employees.
Its a great feeling to be free (in a very small individual user way) of the restricive, slow, unreliable xp/outlook configuration I USED to use!