OK so Linux is the answer, isn't it?

OK so Linux is the answer, isn't it?

Post by Chris Johnso » Wed, 17 Nov 1999 04:00:00



With the recent publicity of Linux, I decided to have a look at two of the
recent distributions of Linux, SuSE 6.2 and RedHat 6. I wanted to see how
easy it would be to set-up, deploy and manage on our existing LAN. Hopefully
I would get to see benefits like reliability and license cost savings over
our existing NT Based POP3 server.Allowing me to spend more time drinking
coffee in the staff room.

That was the idea, and still is I guess. Spend this week developing, testing
and setting SuSE or RedHat up. If all goes well deploy it next week.

I have spent many hours trawlling through documentation, I looked on the web
and through 25 or so books in a large bookstore. All of it was based on a
domestic situation, single mail account. Or even worse has talked about the
whole issue in the contents, but then only spent 2 pages trying to cover
commercial solutions, without actually covering anything!!

Please can someonne point me in the right direction, and please, please
don't tell me to RTFM....I've tried!

 I want to deploy a server to run alongside our existng file server


receive and send mail via our ISP. Mail then needs to be routed to the
correct mailbox to allow the employees to pick up their mail via POP3
connections from Outlook on their PC's.

Also, I need to provide some method of dial-in for remote access to mail, I
have read about IMAP and am very interested in this idea, but again I seem
to have only found basic information, or a description of what it does.

 I understand that this message might annoy some people ( resulting in me
being told to "Read the FAQ's and HOWTO's etc.") To those I apologise in
advance please understand that I do support Linux, If I can get this to work
then I can deply it in a commercial environment. I just have a time pressure
* over my head.

I cannot replace clients Win9x stations with Linux. But, I would be more
than happy for it to be driving clients requests and tasks.

  So I guess I have to ask the question, can anyone help me out?
 Many thanks,
 Chris Johnson

 
 
 

OK so Linux is the answer, isn't it?

Post by Cameron L. Spitz » Wed, 17 Nov 1999 04:00:00



>Also, I need to provide some method of dial-in for remote access to mail, I
>have read about IMAP and am very interested in this idea, but again I seem
>to have only found basic information, or a description of what it does.

I installed IMAP Beta 6, which includes a POP3 server that's just a
wrapper for the IMAP server.  I had to hack a server to work with
Qmail's home directory delivery, and I only wanted to hack one,
and that was the solution.

There's an RFC, and a sales blurb on
the imap.org site which really doesn't go into useful detail about
what IMAP does that POP doesn't.  There's a tantalizing "advanced"
configuration panel in netscape Messenger's servers setup
which suggests IMAP can manage multiple mailboxes for a single user.
Is the draft RFC the only documentation on what IMAP *does*?
Is there an IMAP tutorial someplace?

Cameron

 
 
 

OK so Linux is the answer, isn't it?

Post by Paul Ramse » Wed, 17 Nov 1999 04:00:00


The best article on the subject, bar none, is this one:

http://www.ncworldmag.com/ncw-04-1998/ncw-04-imap.html

If you want more detail on particular subjects, he has references linked
as well.



> >Also, I need to provide some method of dial-in for remote access to mail, I
> >have read about IMAP and am very interested in this idea, but again I seem
> >to have only found basic information, or a description of what it does.

> I installed IMAP Beta 6, which includes a POP3 server that's just a
> wrapper for the IMAP server.  I had to hack a server to work with
> Qmail's home directory delivery, and I only wanted to hack one,
> and that was the solution.

> There's an RFC, and a sales blurb on
> the imap.org site which really doesn't go into useful detail about
> what IMAP does that POP doesn't.  There's a tantalizing "advanced"
> configuration panel in netscape Messenger's servers setup
> which suggests IMAP can manage multiple mailboxes for a single user.
> Is the draft RFC the only documentation on what IMAP *does*?
> Is there an IMAP tutorial someplace?

  pramsey.vcf
< 1K Download
 
 
 

OK so Linux is the answer, isn't it?

Post by Cameron L. Spitz » Wed, 17 Nov 1999 04:00:00



>With the recent publicity of Linux, I decided to have a look at two of the
>recent distributions of Linux, SuSE 6.2 and RedHat 6. I wanted to see how
>easy it would be to set-up, deploy and manage on our existing LAN. Hopefully
>I would get to see benefits like reliability and license cost savings over
>our existing NT Based POP3 server.Allowing me to spend more time drinking
>coffee in the staff room.

Any popular Linux distribution will do that.  No Linux distro, IMHO,
is well documented.  (Red Hat, in particular, seems to have fallen into the
tech writer cultural trap of writing long chatty descriptions of its
GUI installer's *appearance* without telling what the GUI installer is
actually *doing*.  So the newcomer to Linux who chooses Red Hat learns
lots about her particular Red Hat version's GUI but little about Linux
or unix in general.)

Be aware that Linux is just another unix, and things
that are not Linux-specific, which is most of the things people do with
Linux, are not always documented in a Linux-specific way.  In particular,
there is nothing much that's Linux-specific about network file service
or mailbox service, and there is nothing Linux-specific about SMTP email.
You'll have to look for email server documentation, not Linux documentation,
for that.  (This is also true of Solaris and SCO.  Don't even try to use
the mail servers that come with them.  Install a current one, from source,
yourself.  It will save you work, believe it or not.)

> I want to deploy a server to run alongside our existng file server


>receive and send mail via our ISP.

Qmail, Exim, or Sendmail can do that for you.  They all have happy
users.  See www.qmail.org, www.exim.org, www.sendmail.org.
I found Qmail well documented and reliable.  There is nothing Linux-specific
about it, but its license terms make it unattractive for Linux packagers,
which is why it's not included in any popular Linux distro.
I chose Qmail because Sendmail's complexity and reputation for security
troubles put me off.

The main problem with Qmail is a feature: it delivers mail to a file in
each user's home directory, not to the defacto standard /var/spool/mail/$USER.
So you have to hack the POP and IMAP servers, or make symlinks to the old
location, or apply a Qmail add-on, and provide a MAIL environment variable
for your local users, or hack the local mail clients.

Quote:> Mail then needs to be routed to the
>correct mailbox to allow the employees to pick up their mail via POP3
>connections from Outlook on their PC's.

The POP3 server that comes with IMAP Beta 6 works fine.
I have an ugly hack patch that makes it work with unmodified Qmail.
If there's interest, I'll post it, and maybe a competent programmer
will be inspired to do it right.

Quote:> I understand that this message might annoy some people ( resulting in me
>being told to "Read the FAQ's and HOWTO's etc.") To those I apologise in
>advance please understand that I do support Linux, If I can get this to work
>then I can deply it in a commercial environment. I just have a time pressure
>hanging over my head.

A week is plenty of time to get SMTP, POP3, and SAMBA working.
Start with plenty of drive space, and make separate partitions for
/boot/ (5 MB at the start of the first drive), root (150 MB),
/usr/ ( > 1 GB if you want to just install "everything"), /var/, /home/,
and swap.  In my experience, most first time installation failures are
due to bad partitioning strategy.  Remember repartitioning later is
time consuming and error prone, and the time pressure will be worse.

It is unfortunate that the differences among Linux distros are all in the
things new users encounter on their first install.  Once it's installed
correctly, all the distros are pretty much the same.  Perhaps someone will
someday offer a distro that *documents* its setup instead of trying to
*hide* it under a layer of proprietary stuff.  The closest I've seen to that
is Debian, which is why Debian systems are less annoying to live with
IMHO than SuSE or Red Hat.

Cameron

 
 
 

OK so Linux is the answer, isn't it?

Post by Rod Smi » Wed, 17 Nov 1999 04:00:00


[Posted and mailed]



Quote:

> That was the idea, and still is I guess. Spend this week developing, testing
> and setting SuSE or RedHat up. If all goes well deploy it next week.

From the nature of your question, my guess is that you're unfamiliar with
Linux and UNIX. If so, you may want to schedule a longer period for
testing, simply because you'll need to learn a fair amount before you can
get a Linux system up and running to do the various things you presumably
want it to do. You might be able to do it in one week if you want Linux to
do just a couple of things and/or if you can spent close to all your time
on the project. An experienced UNIX person could get a Linux server up and
running in a day or two, but for a newbie, a week may be a tad optimistic.

Quote:> I have spent many hours trawlling through documentation, I looked on the web
> and through 25 or so books in a large bookstore. All of it was based on a
> domestic situation, single mail account. Or even worse has talked about the
> whole issue in the contents, but then only spent 2 pages trying to cover
> commercial solutions, without actually covering anything!!

Once you've got something in Linux working for a single user, it's usually
not too tricky to get it working for many, at least if you understand the
Linux/UNIX username and security principles -- but then, you may need to
spend some time figuring that out. That's not something that's easy to
convey easily. Or, rather, it is, but there are a bazillion nuances that
you simply must experience for yourself.

>  I want to deploy a server to run alongside our existng file server


> receive and send mail via our ISP. Mail then needs to be routed to the
> correct mailbox to allow the employees to pick up their mail via POP3
> connections from Outlook on their PC's.

If by "we receive and send mail via our ISP" you mean you've got
something like one or more POP or IMAP accounts that you want to poll and
then let people on your internal network grab mail locally, you should
look into fetchmail. This program comes with most Linux distributions and
it grabs mail from a remote mail server and injects the mail into the
local Linux mail queue. You can then use any of several Linux POP servers
to make the mail available locally. 'Fraid I can't go into much more
detail than this without knowing more about your specific setup.

Quote:> Also, I need to provide some method of dial-in for remote access to mail, I
> have read about IMAP and am very interested in this idea, but again I seem
> to have only found basic information, or a description of what it does.

IMAP is a mail server. It can be used over a dial-up connection, but by
itself it won't help establish that connection. In fact, if you're already
using POP on the local network, there's little reason to use IMAP for
remote access, unless you need IMAP's features over POP's in which case
you should probably deploy IMAP for both internal and external use.

Anyhow, what you really want is to configure your system to accept remote
logins, either using a text-mode terminal or PPP. I've never actually done
this, but from what I've read about it, it shouldn't be too terribly
difficult. Try reading the documentation on getty and its variants
(mgetty, vgetty, etc.), and pppd.

--

http://members.bellatlantic.net/~smithrod
Author of _Special Edition Using Corel WordPerfect 8 for Linux_, from Que

 
 
 

OK so Linux is the answer, isn't it?

Post by Chris Johnso » Wed, 17 Nov 1999 04:00:00


true I am new to UNIX/Linux, my roots remain in the domain of NT and Novell.
I see Linux as being a solution available for consideration, especially in
this situation. But I am having trouble wading my way through the
information, sometimes conflicting, sometime confusing, but most of the time
not specific to commercial environments where Linux would be best used as a
Server supporting Win9x clients.

I will continue to have a look at this solution at home. I'll have another
look through the HOWTO's etc. However I think that for the moment, I will
buy the extra licenses for the NTMail system!

Many thanks for your help,
Chris


> [Posted and mailed]



> > That was the idea, and still is I guess. Spend this week developing,
testing
> > and setting SuSE or RedHat up. If all goes well deploy it next week.

> From the nature of your question, my guess is that you're unfamiliar with
> Linux and UNIX. If so, you may want to schedule a longer period for
> testing, simply because you'll need to learn a fair amount before you can
> get a Linux system up and running to do the various things you presumably
> want it to do. You might be able to do it in one week if you want Linux to
> do just a couple of things and/or if you can spent close to all your time
> on the project. An experienced UNIX person could get a Linux server up and
> running in a day or two, but for a newbie, a week may be a tad optimistic.

> > I have spent many hours trawlling through documentation, I looked on the
web
> > and through 25 or so books in a large bookstore. All of it was based on
a
> > domestic situation, single mail account. Or even worse has talked about
the
> > whole issue in the contents, but then only spent 2 pages trying to cover
> > commercial solutions, without actually covering anything!!

> Once you've got something in Linux working for a single user, it's usually
> not too tricky to get it working for many, at least if you understand the
> Linux/UNIX username and security principles -- but then, you may need to
> spend some time figuring that out. That's not something that's easy to
> convey easily. Or, rather, it is, but there are a bazillion nuances that
> you simply must experience for yourself.

> >  I want to deploy a server to run alongside our existng file server
> > (Novell). I need this server to manage email sent to


- Show quoted text -


> > receive and send mail via our ISP. Mail then needs to be routed to the
> > correct mailbox to allow the employees to pick up their mail via POP3
> > connections from Outlook on their PC's.

> If by "we receive and send mail via our ISP" you mean you've got
> something like one or more POP or IMAP accounts that you want to poll and
> then let people on your internal network grab mail locally, you should
> look into fetchmail. This program comes with most Linux distributions and
> it grabs mail from a remote mail server and injects the mail into the
> local Linux mail queue. You can then use any of several Linux POP servers
> to make the mail available locally. 'Fraid I can't go into much more
> detail than this without knowing more about your specific setup.

> > Also, I need to provide some method of dial-in for remote access to
mail, I
> > have read about IMAP and am very interested in this idea, but again I
seem
> > to have only found basic information, or a description of what it does.

> IMAP is a mail server. It can be used over a dial-up connection, but by
> itself it won't help establish that connection. In fact, if you're already
> using POP on the local network, there's little reason to use IMAP for
> remote access, unless you need IMAP's features over POP's in which case
> you should probably deploy IMAP for both internal and external use.

> Anyhow, what you really want is to configure your system to accept remote
> logins, either using a text-mode terminal or PPP. I've never actually done
> this, but from what I've read about it, it shouldn't be too terribly
> difficult. Try reading the documentation on getty and its variants
> (mgetty, vgetty, etc.), and pppd.

> --

> http://members.bellatlantic.net/~smithrod
> Author of _Special Edition Using Corel WordPerfect 8 for Linux_, from Que

 
 
 

OK so Linux is the answer, isn't it?

Post by Cameron L. Spitz » Wed, 17 Nov 1999 04:00:00



>This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

This is the comp.* hierarchy, a plain text medium.  What's the MIME for?


>> Is the draft RFC the only documentation on what IMAP *does*?
>> Is there an IMAP tutorial someplace?
>The best article on the subject, bar none, is this one:

>http://www.ncworldmag.com/ncw-04-1998/ncw-04-imap.html

"It not only stores e-mail at the server, it allows you to manage your
e-mail at the server. IMAP4 allows you to create server-based folders,
move mail messages between them, filter and search e-mail, all without
having to download the messages to be stored at the client. Think of it
as the client/server approach to e-mail."

Which is just another copy of the sales blurb at imap.org.
The rest of the article describes installing an IMAP server.
Doesn't say anything about what it does once installed.
Is it going to create directories under user control?

Quote:>If you want more detail on particular subjects, he has references linked
>as well.

No tutorial, though.   I guess that's an exercise in some course at
Washington University, and they don't want to post the answer.

I wonder, for example, what the "different namespaces on your IMAP server"
are that Netscape is talking about in the "Advanced" tab, under "edit
incoming mail servers."  It seems a shame that the only way to find out
is to reverse engineer the server.  That would be more work than it's worth.
No wonder IMAP hasn't caught on.

Quote:>--------------3B1BF4FFF2C56AD3956D48CA
>Content-Type: text/x-vcard; charset=us-ascii;

Oh.  Never mind.

Cameron

 
 
 

OK so Linux is the answer, isn't it?

Post by Paul Ramse » Thu, 18 Nov 1999 04:00:00


Quote:> This is the comp.* hierarchy, a plain text medium.  What's the MIME for?

OK, no silly vcard this time.

Quote:> Which is just another copy of the sales blurb at imap.org.
> The rest of the article describes installing an IMAP server.
> Doesn't say anything about what it does once installed.
> Is it going to create directories under user control?

Yes. All that stuff you do with netscape (or Eudora or Outlook) in your
'Inbox' and the folders your mail program keeps organized on your
computer? You keep on doing that stuff. The only differences is that the
folders no longer reside on your computer. They reside on the IMAP
server. Why is this a good thing? Because it no longer matters what
computer you are sitting at, you can get at your mail from any computer
with an IMAP client. All your mail, including your folders, not just
your inbox.

Let me try a different analogy. Alot of people have gotten into the
practice (which I'm sure ISPs loath) of having their POP client program
leave their mail on the server. This way they can check their personal
email account from the office, and still download the messages and have
them in their folders at home. This is like a lobotomized IMAP. It has
three copies of the mail* around; one at work, one at home, and
one of the ISPs server. But the only copy that really *needs* to exist
is the one at the ISP, if only the server could handle things like
folder management and whatnot. This is what IMAP does, it smartens up
the server to the point where mail doesn't have to *leave* the server to
be managed by mail clients.

Quote:> No tutorial, though.   I guess that's an exercise in some course at
> Washington University, and they don't want to post the answer.

What kind of tutorial do you need, precisely? I used that article
(http://www.veryComputer.com/) and the Fine
Materials which came in the various source packages I was installing,
and got an IMAP server set up and running in an afternoon. And I'm never
going back! Our company does alot of off-site work, but we all just
point Netscape on whatever computer it is we're working on towards the
IMAP server and we have full acccess to all our mail, in a nice easy
interface. Plus, for those times when an IMAP client is not available we
have a little web gateway (called Twig) which provides a web-mail
service on top of the IMAP service.

Quote:> I wonder, for example, what the "different namespaces on your IMAP server"
> are that Netscape is talking about in the "Advanced" tab, under "edit
> incoming mail servers."  It seems a shame that the only way to find out
> is to reverse engineer the server.  That would be more work than it's worth.
> No wonder IMAP hasn't caught on.

I've never had to muck with the advanced settings to get things
working.  I've found terminology with alot of the advanced stuff on
Netscape (the IMAP stuff, the LDAP stuff) to be murky and difficult. My
assumption is that everything 'becomes clear' when you buy a Netscape
Enterprise server which has buttons labelled with the same terminology.
 
 
 

OK so Linux is the answer, isn't it?

Post by Duncan Simps » Thu, 18 Nov 1999 04:00:00



<lots snipped>

> I want to deploy a server to run alongside our existng file server


>receive and send mail via our ISP. Mail then needs to be routed to the
>correct mailbox to allow the employees to pick up their mail via POP3
>connections from Outlook on their PC's.

The novel server is not relevent here. fetchmail will fetch the mail
from the remote system and feed it to a local mail transport agent,
usually sendmail. Once there a pop daemon will serve it to clients and
all 3 are proably installed already. Some ISPs will speak [E]SMTP to your
[E]SMTP understanding mail server so fetchmail is not required.

The only thing you need is to give everyone an account, with a
password, on the linux box with a shell listed in /etc/shells. IF you
wish to stop them logging then add a shell to /etc/shells that is
shell script along the lines of

#1/bin/sh
echo "You are not allowed to log into this server. Bye"
exit 0

Quote:>Also, I need to provide some method of dial-in for remote access to mail, I
>have read about IMAP and am very interested in this idea, but again I seem
>to have only found basic information, or a description of what it does.

imapd (IMAP Deamomn) and pop3d (POP3 Daemon) will offer service to
anyone who can give them proper credentials, unless the tcp wrappers
cuts the connection before they get the chance. Some imapd servers
speak both some version of imap and pop3. No extra configuration is
required.

--
Duncan (-:
"software industry, the: unique industry where selling substandard goods is
legal and you can charge extra for fixing the problems."

 
 
 

1. OK so Linux is the answer, isn't it?

With the recent publicity of Linux, I decided to have a look at two of the
recent distributions of Linux, SuSE 6.2 and RedHat 6. I wanted to see how
easy it would be to set-up, deploy and manage on our existing LAN. Hopefully
I would get to see benefits like reliability and license cost savings over
our existing NT Based POP3 server.Allowing me to spend more time drinking
coffee in the staff room.

That was the idea, and still is I guess. Spend this week developing, testing
and setting SuSE or RedHat up. If all goes well deploy it next week.

I have spent many hours trawlling through documentation, I looked on the web
and through 25 or so books in a large bookstore. All of it was based on a
domestic situation, single mail account. Or even worse has talked about the
whole issue in the contents, but then only spent 2 pages trying to cover
commercial solutions, without actually covering anything!!

Please can someonne point me in the right direction, and please, please
don't tell me to RTFM....I've tried!

 I want to deploy a server to run alongside our existng file server


receive and send mail via our ISP. Mail then needs to be routed to the
correct mailbox to allow the employees to pick up their mail via POP3
connections from Outlook on their PC's.

Also, I need to provide some method of dial-in for remote access to mail, I
have read about IMAP and am very interested in this idea, but again I seem
to have only found basic information, or a description of what it does.

 I understand that this message might annoy some people ( resulting in me
being told to "Read the FAQ's and HOWTO's etc.") To those I apologise in
advance please understand that I do support Linux, If I can get this to work
then I can deply it in a commercial environment. I just have a time pressure
hanging over my head.

I cannot replace clients Win9x stations with Linux. But, I would be more
than happy for it to be driving clients requests and tasks.

  So I guess I have to ask the question, can anyone help me out?
 Many thanks,
 Chris Johnson

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