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Kerio Connect 7.4 due this month


2012/04/22

Kerio's 7.4 Connect mailserver is expected to be available for download soon - perhaps this week. The major advances in this release are spam filtering and the ability to prevent individual users from accessing specific protocols, but there are some other small things that you might find useful too.

The spam filtering engine has been upgraded to a newer version and the underlying database has switched from SDBM to SQLite. More spam improvements are promised for later releases, but this should at least provide some improvement.

In Custom Rules (in Server Administration), you can now reference the body of a message:

I know that I'll be able to make good use of that! However, this is only in Admin rules: users can't write mail filters that reference the body. The latest versions of the underlying filter used (Sieve) can use body rules, but Kerio apparently hasn't upgraded to that yet. That's unfortunate, because being able to move or copy messages to specified folders based on body content could be very handy at times.

Access Rights

Users can now be assigned specific protocol access rights. This means that you can say who is allowed to use Webmail and who isn't. For one minor example. you can restrict ActiveSync, preventing mobile users from accessing their mail. The default as shipped allows everyone all access, but that can be quickly changed.

The policies shown here are predefined, but you can add your own with any mix of protocols disallowed and allowed.

Tablets and phones

Newly added support for Android Honeycomb 3.2 operating system: ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. In phones, Sony Ericsson Xperia arc with Android Gingerbread system is supported.

Linux Virtual Appliance version

The 7.4 release adds some things to the Admin that formerly had to be done at the command line: enabling SSH access, changing the root password and setting the time zone. You can also now easily set a static IP and it adds NTP time synchronization.

Outlook Connector

More work here: faster, better, smoother and easier for upgrades. Less memory used, also.

iPad Administration

This makes me very happy. I could use my iPad with previous versions, but it wasn't slick as it is now. This gives me multi-finger scrolling in log files, two-finger tap for contextual menus (I found that accidentally before I read the release notes). As you can see in these shots, a toggle shows and hides the left side menu tree.

Much of the work done here is stability improvements, so yes, this is an important upgrade. The user access controls may be a welcome addition for some administators and the ability to define custom rules based on body content is very useful.

However, if you are the sort who fears "point-oh" releases, keep in mind that this one would require a bit more work to back off. Because of the Spamassasin changes, you'd need to copy back store/spamassassin/bayes/backup_before_migration_* to store/spamassassin/bayes after a downgrade. The release notes also warn that if you are going back to a 7.2 or older version, user profiles in KOC, Entourage, iCal and so on will need to be recreated.

I'm never sure what to say to people who are hesitant to apply new versions. Kerio's track record on these has been excellent in recent years, but of course there's always that unique situation that was never encountered by any beta tester and you are the lucky one who gets to find it.

I will note this: if you've been keeping mostly current (perhaps applying upgrades a few weeks or a few months after release), rolling back to a previous version is usually trivial. There's a little extra work here because of the spam engine change, but it's just one manual copy of a directory - hardly difficult. If you need the new features, I suggest doing it when it is released; the chances of a problem here are very low.



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