Where are we with SM Prod release ?
Question asked by Lakshan Salgado - 4/17/2020 at 7:03 AM
Answered
Dear Smarter tool team: Its now mid April 2020 and we are still waiting  for the prod release of the latest version. An I mean a stable working version where we don't get inundated with end user calls with problems and we have a quiet day after a upgrade in the office. We are still stuck on 15.7 and all I see are endless beta level releases and bug fixes. Can someone step up and tell us where we stand please.

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John Marx Replied
If you are not using MAPI then it is stable and reliable. We are using it but not turning MAPI on right now. I know you will say but the main thing is MAPI. You are right but by using everything else we get the latest to our users and have decided to wait patiently.

I know I want MAPI but this seems to be a huge undertaking and overall the product is getting better, as is the MAPI from the release notes.
0
SM 7405 it's very stable and reliable.
We are using it for all our customers that don't need the MAPI support.
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RICHARD EDEL II Replied
Current Beta Release 7412 my clients cannot get IMAP or POP to work.  HELP!
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John Marx Replied
Same here with IMAP and POP. I had to uninstall and go back to a previous version. Within five minutes of updating people were calling and complaining.
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Larry Duran Replied
Employee Post
What clients are reporting issues with IMAP and POP?
Larry Duran
Software Developer
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Sébastien Riccio Replied
This happens with all clients that still supports NTLM (outlook is one of them).

No issue with emClient, but as soon as a client supports NTLM and tries to use, it it fails.

I still don't get it why NTLM has been recently added to SmarterMail when most of the server and client softwares are deprecating it. 
Even MS own servers doesn't announce this auth method anymore (office365) and are advising not to use it anymore.

From:

Old Protocols
The old or "legacy" authentication protocols that Microsoft wants organizations to remove include the following, per the announcement:
  • Basic authentication
  • Digest authentication
  • Windows authentication (NTLM and Kerberos)

As it is the auth method that brought a lot of auth problems, I already asked why it was added but got no answer. Is it a requirement to support Outlook 2010 ? If yes we should have a toggle to disable NTLM if the server admin doesn't want it.

"NTLM is not recommended to use in general as it poses some security concerns:NTLM relay, brute forcing, and other vulnerabilities. You can read about general NTLM risks here. As a rule of thumb: try to reduce NTLM usage in your network as much as possible."

[2020.04.20] 02:55:40.567 [x.x.x.x][66803271] response: pvv7 OK CAPABILITY completed
[2020.04.20] 02:55:40.645 [x.x.x.x][66803271] command: dri8 AUTHENTICATE NTLM
[2020.04.20] 02:55:40.676 [x.x.x.x][66803271] NTLM message received TXXXXXXUAABAAAAB4IIogAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKALpHAAAADw==
[2020.04.20] 02:55:40.676 [x.x.x.x][66803271] NTLM challenge message TlRMTVNTUAACAAAADAAMADgAAAAFgoki/6v9F2Ok7usAAAAAAAAAAJYAlgBEAAAACgA5OXXXXNAEEASQBMADAAMwACABYAUwBNAEEAUgBUAEUAUgBNAEEASQBMAAEADABNAEEASQBMADAAMwAEABYAcwBtAGEAcgB0AGUAcgBtAGEAaQBsAAMAJABNAEEASQBMADAAMwAuAHMAbQBhAHIAdABlAHIAbQBhAGkAbAAFABYAcwBtAGEAcgB0AGUAcgBtAGEAaQBsAAcACAAVT6hprhbWAQAAAAA=
[2020.04.20] 02:55:40.692 [x.x.x.x][66803271] NTLM message received 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
[2020.04.20] 02:55:40.692 [x.x.x.x][66803271] Exception: (PooledTcpItem.cs) Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
[2020.04.20] 02:55:40.692 [x.x.x.x][66803271] StackTrace:    at MailService.TcpServerLib.IMAP.IMAPSession.AuthNTLMResponseHandler(String encodedResponse)
[2020.04.20]    at MailService.TcpServerLib.IMAP.IMAPSession.ProcessAsyncData(Byte[] memStream)
[2020.04.20]    at MailService.TcpServerLib.Common.PooledTcpItem.ProcessData(Int32 bytes)
[2020.04.20] 02:57:22.901 [x.x.x.x][66803271] disconnected at 20.04.2020 02:57:22
Sébastien Riccio
System & Network Admin

1
echoDreamz Replied
Glad we didnt update then...
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Sébastien Riccio Replied
Hi,

From Latest beta build:

CHANGED: SmarterMail no longer advertises NTLM authentication for POP, IMAP, or SMTP protocols. 

This fixed the issues with the clients trying to use NTLM to authenticate (tested with outlook in imap/smtp mode).

Kind regards
Sébastien Riccio
System & Network Admin

0
Lakshan Salgado Replied
Seeing this thread evolve, my concerns about a stable release seem very valid for paying customers who should rightfully expect to have a stable production ready product. Yes, I get the whole MAPI drum beat but the fact is the prod version and the BETA MAPI version need to be forked until both are stable and the code bases merged. Also, seems to be we need to be on Smarter Mail version 19.x or something  per the announcement by SM leadership of a new release version every calendar year a while back. Just saying. 

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echoDreamz Replied
SmarterTools stopped the "major release" cycle with SmarterMail "17". The product is just now "SmarterMail" and the roll out new builds with new features etc. as time goes instead of waiting for new major version to do so.
3
Lakshan Salgado Replied
Thanks for clarifying the new Smarter mail versioning.  Maybe SM should just go to what should be known as a SM stable version. That will help people like me who are currently sidelined have confidence to upgrade yet not be burned with never quite knowing what version actually has serious bugs and what can be expected to work out the gate. I for sure do not have time to take on customer calls that produce zero revenue nor the time to chase down SM 'free' support and wait around for a response. The last time I opened a ticket on a Friday morning, unless I paid the ~$350 on a expedited support call, I got stuck waiting on a response that I got the following Monday. That was not at all cool. I ended up paying for third party support to get the customer off my back later that Friday but had to give up several months of e-mail revenue to chase an issue SM support should have been on the ball with. Used to be never like this.

Gabriele Maoret - SERSIS pointed out early in the thread SM 7405 is stable but the last known public downloadable version - non-beta is 7242.  I can't but wonder if the reason there are no bug fixes after 7242 since last November 2019 is because SM just never has gone back and added bug, not because it is rock solid. In the past years we would see fixes every 4~6 weeks after a dot release.

I really do wish someone at SM will chime in.

3
kevind Replied
@Lakshan, you make some good points as others in this community feel the same way.

I'm sure some of the 380+ problems that were "fixed" in the current production beta also exist in build 7405. So it would be nice to have a forked build where those are addressed.

Also, probably shouldn't call the current beta 'production ready' when there are weekly releases with a dozen or more fixes in each build. Some call the current beta stable and reliable, but I would say not until there are no bug fixes for 2-3 weeks.

Hopefully ST sees this as some constructive feedback...
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Gary P Replied
Yeah I also a little confused , probably from the fact that it is called production ready - beta , which to my eyes reads as beta.

so can ST clarify the latest builds are production ready and safe ,with the understanding and exclusion that the MAPI part.

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Netmate Replied
We are also stuck with version 15.7. The Beta (MAPI) is going on and on with no end in sight.
2
John Marx Replied
I have done some thoughts on what a Production Beta is. This is what I have come up with:

  • Production - all the current new features and bug fixes
  • Beta - the MAPI pieces
Now I definitely could be wrong but this is how we are treating this extended beta. Other than the removal of the reading pane our users have been very happy about the Production Beta. We are not letting them, or even us internally, use the MAPI pieces just yet.
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Hi John, same thoughts from us.

By the way, we are testing MAPI: it works, but still it has too many bugs, I think
It lacks localization support, my migration tests from Exchange and Kerio still fails (everytime, not a single migration was successful at the moment) and there's some sync problems that sometimes totally hang syncronization with Outlook.

So, I think that MAPI it's not "production ready" now.

But SmarterTools team is working on it and day by day it's getting better.

My 2 cents.
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John Marx Replied
I know they are working on. The problem I have with rolling it out to my team, or our customers, is the "fix" almost always is to delete the profile, etc. which is not a good customer service experience. This is why we are holding off until it's stable as we don't have the staff to handle hundreds of phone calls related to MAPI when the current system works and our customers are not knocking on the door for it.
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I think you get me wrong. We are only testing MAPI on some test accounts by ourselves, no one of our customers are using it in production nor in test enviroments.

We are waiting to have a stable MAPI too, before going out to our customers
3
Jorge Euran Replied
And we are in May now... and this doesnt seem to be coming soon! It is really disappointing.
2
Netmate Replied

And the sad part is that the MAPI related updates are breaking other stable protocols time to time, such as POP3 & IMAP, so you can't even think of upgrading your production server from v.15 to the production ready beta and wait for MAPI to stabilize before using it.

For e.g.



1
Sébastien Riccio Replied
That's where we are too.

We're waiting to be sure that nothing that is currently working WELL with the non-MAPI release, breaks if we upgrade our production server to the public not(production ready) beta.

We already lost enough customers in the past because we break things when applying updates, having to rollback and are not capable of having a stable mail service.

In the meantime we pay for maintenance, submit bugs report (that are corrected, this is good) but never backported to the stable version we use.

So we have customers waiting since almost one year, that we fix some small but annoying bugs, but we must tell them to be patient and hold.. because we can't risk yet to use the mapi version which contains these bugfixes. (they don't care about mapi at all, just want bug fixed).

Some already resigned their contrat and went to another service provider.

To avoid more customers loss, we had to setup another mail service in parallel (took us 1 month), all based on opensource projects and that brings, let's say 80% of what SmarterMail as to offer, but also brings features SmarterMail doesn't...

We moved our most angry customers on it and all the issues they had are gone.

Don't get me wrong. I personnaly globally like SmarterMail for a lot of things and wish we didn't need to setup an alternative, but we had to act before losing complete important contracts only because the mail service has issues.

I hope the future will be brighter!

Sébastien Riccio
System & Network Admin

5
Lakshan Salgado Replied
We finally broke down, raised our prices per mailbox and started up as a Microsoft reseller of 0365 last month. We don't make money on it but are able to now sell added products and I get zero headaches. Soon I will post a link of my cost analysis for everyone to look at and discuss what the breakeven is on a 500 seat SM Ent license. That analysis will drive a decision on if we will completely walk away this year. (That would be sad, we have has SM since v1 but under the current circumstances may be warranted)

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Merle Wait Replied
Sébastien Riccio - was your open solution hMail ???   We have had hmail server longer than we have had SM.

EDIT
I am NOT nor did I intend to promote another mail system...  
To be clear.. we have and will continue to .. put all of our email efforts into SM. The point am trying to make, is that we have numerous clients we have never migrated to SM yet, because we are waiting on the SM mapi functions.

 We too, have left some our  upset customers on hmail.  But I haven't given up on SM yet...   Would be interested to see Lakshan Salgado  analysis
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Sébastien Riccio Replied
@Merle Wait I don't really want to promote other mail systems on SmarterTools community threads but as it's fully opensource and not commercial product I guess it's ok. We use "mailcow" that is a fully opensource docker container based full mail system using existing open source components.

Their github community is very reactive. Search for the procjet mailcow-dockerized on github.
Sébastien Riccio
System & Network Admin

0
Merle Wait Replied
@Sébastien Riccio   - good point ..   I am NOT nor did I intend to promote another mail system...   After I re-read my post ...  it does read that way.. So I will edit it to indicate as such.  
To be clear.. we have and will continue to .. put all of our email efforts into SM.  The point I was trying to make, was that we have numerous clients we have never migrated to SM yet, because we waiting on the SM  mapi.  
The trying to identify cost, benefit, support, stability, features, BCP(Business Continuation Plan) between two systems can be challenging. Hence the reason would like to see @Lakshan Salgado analysis. 
1
viv burrows Replied
First I must say we have been a timid beta tester, we install 3 working days after the release of a new build, this has meant that the kind brave people who have tested immediately have enabled us to miss the c**p releases and there have been several.

MAPI - We are doing a cautious roll out of mapi to one of our customers, one user and their Outlook every three days, the latest release is continuing to sync and is not throwing errors.

The customer is a non complex one and has been happy for me to zap and redo their local Outlook when it was required.

Other customers with pop imap, currently no issues on the latest release.
3
Douglas Foster Replied
I have been monitoring the bug list, and have been struck by the thousands of details that have to be right for this to be a complete emulation of Exchange ActiveSync.  It has been heartening to see the list of open issues get shorter, while the list of resolved bugs is getting shorter as well.

I am impressed by this project, which seems to be getting more and more stable by the day.
0
Jorge Euran Replied
So, any updates on this? Does anyone from ST has mentioned an estimated production release date?  It seems that this beta is just taking forever... 
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IT Admin Replied
Why is it still not 'production ready' even after 6 months and nearly 40 'production ready beta' releases?
0
Because MAPI is still not ready...
5
IT Admin Replied
It is high time that ST should split SM into MAPI and Non-MAPI versions and provide regular updates and bug fixes for Non-MAPI users. 

There is no 'production ready' software updates and bug fixes released since Nov 1, 2019.
2
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
I`ve bitten the bullet and updated to the latest MAPI BETA for our production server as our last update was from 2019 and we had some outstanding bugs we could no longer wait for.

Honestly, with MAPI turned off, we`re pretty much OK (Build 7447). The small improvements to WebMail, plus the bug fixes are welcome. I would say you can update to the this build and keep MAPI off.

I also tried MAPI for one account, but could not get it going any way. My company email address also exists in Microsoft`s cloud as an MS Teams account and whatever I do, when I add my account in Outlook it adds it just fine and emails are being retrieved, but I cannot send any emails (I guess it`s trying to use Microsoft`s servers for sending). Every time I want to send something, it just opens that small browser window and prompts me to login to Outlook.com. Since we have no time to deal with this, we`ll just leave it as it is for now and use the rest of the functionality as that`s pretty much OK.
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Yeah, I could say that SM Production Ready BETA with the MAPI turned off is THE production release you should use...
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IT Admin Replied
Someone in this thread mentioned that sometimes the beta release breaks Non-MAPI protocols as well, so isn't it risky to deploy it on production server even if you are not using MAPI?
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viv burrows Replied
If you leave it 3 working days after release before putting it on your production server one of the braver souls above will have reported any issue and if so avoid until fixed. We've stuck to that and touchwood and whistle we've been ok

Viv
1
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Gabriel's concerns with MAPI are related to internalization.  This is where all folders like Inbox and Deleted are actually translated and stored on the server in whatever language. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, this deep level of internationalization is coming about a month after production release will support International domains and more.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
4
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
We are only days away from production release.  The logging and debugging code is being removed and BETA users will see even more memory and CPU improvements with these last couple BETA's.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Hi Tim, thanks!

We are looking forward to the stable versions, and then we'll wait for the internationalization!

Very awsome job indeed!

In my honest opinion, SmarterMail is getting better and better day by day.
3
Lakshan Salgado Replied
As the original person who started this thread, I can agree SM seems to getting very close as noted by Tim U. Starting to remove some of debug code is for sure a good sign. The serious bugs seem to have been worked though. I see from the last few BETA's (I note: these came in rapid succession a few days apart with quite a few fixes in each) some issues still persist (understandably). Let's not convince ourselves because SM releases the final prod version, the code is golden. Question will be, how well will it work without weekly patches, hotfixes and updates. Once SM is at a point where we get an update every 4 to 6 weeks, the fixes are a handful and no MAPI issues are listed in the bug list, that will be the time to go into prod. We are already +2~3 years into this so what is a few more months? For us, unfortunately, we have now moved over 300+ accounts in the last month to 0365 and the value of MAPI and SM continues to diminish. We'd be lucky to keep a server with a 1000 user license left. may be down to 500 by the time it all settles down. Love the product and kudos to the SM development team that has stuck with it. Can't say much for us customers who have been made to suffer through this fiasco.
2
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
SmarterMail will be released to production on June 3rd.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
3
Lakshan Salgado Replied
D-Day !
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IT Admin Replied
Fingers crossed.
3
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post Marked As Answer
Things are looking good for today!
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
2
Thomas Lange Replied
@Tim: I do not care for official stable/production-release at all - we are already running the MAPI-beta´s even some month before the first "production ready beta" was available on our production server - ok, we are not selling Mailserver-access to customers, just using it for our own employees (ca. 150 users/accounts, EWS - eMClient and MacOS) , EAS - and MAPI right now only for a few accounts / mostly testing - experimental usuage Outlook 2016+2019 VLSC-licenses).

What really is important for our SmarterMail production server/installation: how will you go on with bugfixes and new features?

Waiting some weeks until next official stable release (monthly) with fixes in it would not be the best solution.

So I suggest at least two SmarterMail branches:
One more/hopefully "stable", and another "beta/preview" branch, with at least weekly updated/fixed builds including release notes/changelog for each build so that anybody can decide on their own if it is worth to install these "weekly" beta builds.

And if a build is good for being classified as stable just copy it into the "stable"-branch for users that do not need/do not want the weekly updates.

Best of "production ready beta"-phase is/was that the updates/fixes were published weekly or even a few times during the last weeks - I do not want to install updates every week but it is good to read and see what was fixed and decide, if it is an important issue for our system.
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Ronald Raley Replied
Thomas,

If you run into a critical issue and contact support, SmarterTools will often send you a custom build to fix it.

Ron
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Thomas Lange Replied
@Ronald: I know that with custom builds - but for custom build there are no release notes at all
it should fix or debug an actual issue - but in the past this was always without release notes, so we do not know was else was changed/fixed or whatever.

I prefer being up-to-date with issues/fixes - until I contact support with a (critical) issue I often try to test/figure out first on my own.... so an actual list with fixes (release notes of betaversion) would be great - and probably less support-tickets for support @SmarterTools :-)

So they should/could just make two branches/download sections "stable" and "beta" :)
And perhaps all customers are happy...

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