HELP: Linux replacement for MS Exchange server? $

HELP: Linux replacement for MS Exchange server? $

Post by Fred Heber » Thu, 28 Nov 2002 08:35:40



I am trying to move away from MS Exchange to an open standards based mail
system running on Linux.  I have been looking for a while and seem to be
getting more confused.  I want an IMAP server, with web mail, and address
book, server side mail filters and reasonable administration.

I am looking for suggestions, and possibly someone to help set it up.  I am
not trying to get something for nothing, and I am willing to pay, just not
what M$ wants.

Background/Environment:  I work for a small Ambulance company we have about
45 full time employees on MS Exchange now.  We would like to have e-mail
for everyone, including part-time and "friends".  This works out to about
150 accounts.  I went to a local company and they gave me a quote for the
upgrade, and additional licenses of about $40,000.  This is WAY out of my
budget.

I bought a new server ($2,500), put RedHat 7.2 on it and have been looking
at some IMAP based mail servers.  

Most of the packages I have looked at looked OK but were missing important
functions or the administration was a nightmare.

So far the package I like the best (based on reading) is the "Courier mail
server".  It provides, IMAP, Web Mail, mail filtering and web
administration and looks like everything works together.  The problem is
that I can't get it to work. Any Courier gurus out there?

Another package that is promising is IEMS6.  This was easy to install, and
seems to have most of the components, but the web mail is poor.  Because it
is a commercial product ($1200) they seem unwilling to tell me how to
tinker with it.

There is a time pressure, because I am having intermittent hardware
problems with the old MS Exchange server and would really like to get off
of it before it crashes. Unfortunately I am a one man band and have very
little spare time.  I would be willing to pay for help to get a new mail
system on line and get me up to speed.  I am a reasonable administrator,
and a good programmer.  I have been migrating away from M$ for the last 2
years.  I have developed several apps and everything uses the same MySQL
database.  Actually once I get rid of Exchange, I can turn off the MS
servers!

I am posting this on several groups so please reply via mail.  You can post
to the group too, but I don't want to miss your reply.

Thanks,
Fred Hebert

 
 
 

HELP: Linux replacement for MS Exchange server? $

Post by Bob Camero » Fri, 29 Nov 2002 04:21:19


Hi Fred

Quote:> I am trying to move away from MS Exchange to an open standards based mail
> system running on Linux.  I have been looking for a while and seem to be
> getting more confused.  I want an IMAP server, with web mail, and address
> book, server side mail filters and reasonable administration.

I use to succesfully run for my 70 odd users at work, an IMAP and POP3
server. IMAP was actually used for filing in a groupware kind of
environment. Our Outlook IMO 2K users had two accounts setup. It worked
well.

I used the UOW IMAP and compiled from source. I modified the Makefile so
that the data appeared in the same place on the server (except for the
users unused inbox). Note that this was really only used to make the
installation easier. You can just as easily link to a common place from the
users home/root folder or even specify an alternate location in Outlook.

One of the main reasons I went to separate POP3/IMAP accounts was so that
the client wouldnt poll the IMAP server for all folder updates. users
simply clicked on a IMAP folder and all the headers would download.

For webmail access we purchased the Endymion product. There may be others
out there...

We use to use a plethora of procmail recipes to do some level of automatic
filing and out of office forwarding. This worked extremely well. (on the
spam too!) We even had sub processes launched on email content. (eg
"Contract creation notice" creates file structure and base files for ncp
mounted Netware server, appends commands to overnight office to office
rsync shell script...) Note that the procmail filter doesnt have to go in
the users home directory, you can have a global one in /etc. This will
probably be your biggest admin problem.

We also used to syncronise the IMAP "public" stores between two offices
overnight. It was actually done with a combination of procmail, formail,
rsync and a msgid cache. Only the differences were sent. (33K6)

Now for the problems...

- UOW IMAP doesnt handle a full heirarcheal structure. (At the time I did
it) One file represents one email folder and you cant make a directory a
file. I was starting look at another IMAP server (Cyrus) when our parent
company forced us to go to Exchange. (Which crashes about 3 times a week...)

- UOW IMAP and I suspect everything but Exchange doesnt handle Outlook
objects other than mail. ie you cant put contacts into an IMAP folder and
share them.

- Address books were always a thorny issue. We tried occasionally opened
PST files and even a large communal text document with Name etc details and
a "mailto" URL. Was looking at an LDAP alternative with a web update
interface. That was also squashed by the Exchange "downgrade". Also looked
at the Office 2K small business suite (comes with the professional version)
with view to usings its Access DB for prospect/contacts handling and update
to each users Outlook contacts. Horribly slow and clunky tho.

- I was quite happy to administer at the Linux CLI and use the SuSE yast
pgm to add/delete users. I'd suggest you find that code that parses
/etc/passwd for the full email names and adds them to /etc/mail/aliases

Quote:> Background/Environment:  I work for a small Ambulance company we have
> about
> 45 full time employees on MS Exchange now.  We would like to have e-mail
> for everyone, including part-time and "friends".  This works out to about
> 150 accounts.  I went to a local company and they gave me a quote for the
> upgrade, and additional licenses of about $40,000.  This is WAY out of my
> budget.

We also have our Linux box talk to the Exchange one. You could for
arguments sake replciate public folders from/to IMAP folders (with a
periodic update - I do it using fetchmail/procmail/formail) and setup
"extra users" as aliases on the Exchange server and fetchmail/procmail pull
them down to the Linux server. Sounds confusing but it works really well.
(We have Exchange in our head office and Linux server in our remote one.

Hope this is of some help to you. Pls contact me if you want any more help..

Cheers Bob

 
 
 

HELP: Linux replacement for MS Exchange server? $

Post by Tony Lawrenc » Fri, 29 Nov 2002 05:26:09



> I am trying to move away from MS Exchange to an open standards based mail
> system running on Linux.  I have been looking for a while and seem to be
> getting more confused.  I want an IMAP server, with web mail, and address
> book, server side mail filters and reasonable administration.

I have for some time now been selling the Mitel SME server
(http://aplawrence.com/esmith.html)

Before somebody jumps down my throat for promoting a commercial product,
understand that it is also available completely free.  It is open
source, and there is an active community developing for that product.

The commercial product bundles support and features that might be more
difficult for unsophisticated users to deploy, like virus scanning,
groupware, server to server vpn, etc.

Unless it just changed today, the currently downloadable product
(version 5.5) is a 2.2 kernel, ext2 filesys (this isn't something you
install on Linux- it's a complete system by itself).  The commercial
product version 5.6) is based on RH 2.4 kernel with ext3 filesystems.
The free product release always lags the commercial by a bit,, but I
expect the free 5.6 will be out soon.

I chose this to sell after evaluating several others.  I like this
because it does have the free version, is open source, and yet offers
the commercial route for those who would rather just have someone else
take care of the more difficult stuff and support it.  Their support,
btw, has been nothing less than fantastic - another reason I continue to
sell this.

Read about it at http://aplawrence.com/esmith.html.  Keep in mind that
page IS plugging the commercial side, so if your interests are strictly
on the free side, see http://www.e-smith.org instead.

Feel free to contact me with anything you want to know about the
commercial product.  Please don't contact me about the free product; I'm
contractually constrained from offering any sort of assistance with that.

--

Please note new phone number: (781) 784-7547

Tony Lawrence
Unix/Linux Support Tips, How-To's, Tests and more: http://aplawrence.com
Free Unix/Linux Consultants list: http://aplawrence.com/consultants.html

 
 
 

1. HELP: Linux replacement for MS Exchange server? $

I am trying to move away from MS Exchange to an open standards based mail
system running on Linux.  I have been looking for a while and seem to be
getting more confused.  I want an IMAP server, with web mail, and address
book, server side mail filters and reasonable administration.

I am looking for suggestions, and possibly someone to help set it up.  I am
not trying to get something for nothing, and I am willing to pay, just not
what M$ wants.

Background/Environment:  I work for a small Ambulance company we have about
45 full time employees on MS Exchange now.  We would like to have e-mail
for everyone, including part-time and "friends".  This works out to about
150 accounts.  I went to a local company and they gave me a quote for the
upgrade, and additional licenses of about $40,000.  This is WAY out of my
budget.

I bought a new server ($2,500), put RedHat 7.2 on it and have been looking
at some IMAP based mail servers.  

Most of the packages I have looked at looked OK but were missing important
functions or the administration was a nightmare.

So far the package I like the best (based on reading) is the "Courier mail
server".  It provides, IMAP, Web Mail, mail filtering and web
administration and looks like everything works together.  The problem is
that I can't get it to work. Any Courier gurus out there?

Another package that is promising is IEMS6.  This was easy to install, and
seems to have most of the components, but the web mail is poor.  Because it
is a commercial product ($1200) they seem unwilling to tell me how to
tinker with it.

There is a time pressure, because I am having intermittent hardware
problems with the old MS Exchange server and would really like to get off
of it before it crashes. Unfortunately I am a one man band and have very
little spare time.  I would be willing to pay for help to get a new mail
system on line and get me up to speed.  I am a reasonable administrator,
and a good programmer.  I have been migrating away from M$ for the last 2
years.  I have developed several apps and everything uses the same MySQL
database.  Actually once I get rid of Exchange, I can turn off the MS
servers!

I am posting this on several groups so please reply via mail.  You can post
to the group too, but I don't want to miss your reply.

Thanks,
Fred Hebert

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