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Ok, I finally got my email server working, and now need to document it and remove the "cruft" from WikiLearn.

I'll start by giving an overview of my setup and making a list of all the pages I've already written about email -- many of which require rework or deserve deletion.

See AboutThesePages.


Overview (Outline)

Aside: I'm trying to figure out what kind of pages I need to explain email. I think I should have a page which contains something like the information in this overview, with links in appropriate paragraphs to pages which can provide more information where appropriate. So, maybe I start by rewriting the following on a page to be called Email<something> (or maybe leave it on this page).

  • Linux (typically a server) vs. Windows (typically a client) (but changing now)

  • Here is what I wanted in an email server: If you want something close, you can get a lot of help from these pages. If you want something significantly different, I think WikiLearn can still help, but you will have to modify some things with little or no guidance from me.
    • An email server on my LAN, with email clients possibly on that machine and others, so that I could:
      • Share one email account among my entire family (i.e., several users, several clients)
      • Sort incoming mail or duplicate it, so that mail that was clearly intended for a specific member of the family went to that person's user account only, and mail that was of more general interest went to multiple accounts.
      • Collect outgoing mail from all clients in one central location, so that, if I sent mail from different machines, I had a copy of each outgoing mail in one central location.
      • Do all of the above:
        • over a dial up account (I can use any kind of TCP/IP compatible Internet connection)
        • using my existing ISP with his POP and SMTP servers (he does not support IMAP)
        • without registering a domain
        • using existing email clients for those that prefer them, allowing others to use any email client that suits them
      • Related to above: I didn't originally intend to use IMAP, but I eventually decided to do so because:
        • Using IMAP, I can store all my mail on (the local) email server and access it from any client on the LAN (or on the Internet if I want to open up my network to that possibility -- I do not do that and do not immediately plan to do so so you won't find much guidance on that. You need to carefully consider the security issues.
        • Using IMAP does not preclude using POP3 on the same LAN. Many IMAP servers include POP3 (including the one I'm using -- is it Courier?). My wife's email client gets her mail via POP3 (and does not leave it stored on the email server) -- my email clients use IMAP and do leave the email stored on the email server. (Using an IMAP client vs. a POP3 client (as well as the change to having my mail presorted into folders by category) has necessitated some changes in my email habits.) BTW: I haven't found a good way to indicate the arrival of incoming mail -- I apparently don't know how to set up the kde application (kbiff??) to do this, and haven't tried any others so far.
    • Another aside: My email server gets the mail every 10 minutes from my ISP (as long as my gateway machine is running, which is basically during my waking hours). At some point my ISP may object to this and I may have to adjust that script. Currently it pings my ISP which confirms the connection is up or causes the autodialer to dial out. When the ping is successful, it runs fetchmail to get the mail, and then runs commands to check the postfix outgoing mail (defer?) queue, kick it, and recheck it. It records the results in a log and sends them in an email to me.

  • Should I mention my belief, that you should not have to RTFM to do this -- you should have to read as little as possible -- hopefully WikiLearn will be enough, or will point out the other things you do need to read.

  • An email server consists of several pieces of software -- in my case fetchmail, postfix, procmail and some ancillary stuff like xinetd (and a working TCP/IP network). The sketches (EmailOverviewSketch, EmailServerSketches) provide some (IMHO) helpful insite into how the pieces fit together (there are some errors or omissions).

  • Start by installing a "preconfigured" email server (by installing a Linux distribution that can install a working email server during installation of the distribution). It might do everything you need, or at least everything you need to start. (In my case it didn't, but it came close, closer than I realized). For your first email server, start this way and then tweak it if necessary to make it work. Later, if there is a good reason to do so, consider installing the software in a more "manual" method (possibly even compiling from source). In my case I installed the Mandrake 7.2 "MandrakeFreq" update on a P133 machine with 128 MB RAM, a 3.1 GB hard drive, and an ethernet card (System8 -- double check the specs). It is on my (manual) KVM switch so that I can connect a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to it but I'm certain that you could arrange things so such is not required after the initial installation and setup.

  • Consider installing things like servers and similar "infrastructure" on a slow, cheap machine with the intent that you'll put your workstation on your fast (possibly expensive) machine (with lots of memory) -- the advantage -- you won't have to reinstall the infrastructure if you want to upgrade your workstation to the next version of software -- leave your infrastructure running on the old machine -- only upgrade it at your convenience or to improve security or functionality (or when you get so good at it you can do it in your sleep).

  • Fetchmail required creating a .fetchmailrc file in the home directory of the user I'm running fetchmail on/as. ("keep" to preserve messages while troubleshooting)

  • IIRC (I will check), the only thing I had to do to make postfix work was set up the relay parameter. (And, for my special purposes, add the always_bcc parameter.)

  • Procmail is a longer story -- <later>. Procmail is a jack of many trades, and can be used in several ways in an email server setup. I use it two ways: It is my local MDA -- postfix sends local mail to it to be sorted into the proper user's local mailbox. And, I use it to sort mail from my local mailbox into category based folders.

  • I didn't need DNS! (Expound on what I did need in /etc/hosts or whatever (not much, IIRC).) I didn't need DNS because (1) my email clients address the email server by its TCP/IP address (192.168.x.x) and (2) my email server looks like another email client to my ISP rather than a full blown email server. If my email server was intended to serve as a full blown email server, I would need a registered domain name and MX records would have to exist in DNS servers (like at my ISP) to indicate that my domain address (rather than my ISP's domain address) is the address that will accept email for me. There are very few disadvantages to this situation (I can't arbitrarily create new email accounts), some advantages (no additional cost of registering a domain name or having it "parked" somewhere (if that's the right phrase, no need to change anything with my ISP.) If I did have my own domain name, I would not have to worry about changing email addresses if I change ISP's. But, I'd like to have my own domain name for a my websites hosted out on the Internet, and, AFAIK that would require two registered domain names as I don't know how (I don't think there is a way) to use one domain name for both a web site hosted out on the Internet and for email delivered to me. Or wait, I guess if whoever hosted my website allowed me to have email addresses using that domain name I could then treat that website as my ISP for email purposes (and maintaining a local ISP to provide my local connection to the Internet) -- I'll have to think about that some more.

WikiLearn Pages on Email

My Intent: Review each of these pages, decide which are still useful, which should be revised and kept and which should be deleted. But, first, I think, I'll rework the overview / outline.

  • EmailInterimUpdate 16 Aug 2002 - RandyKramer -- OK, I feel pretty good about my email server now it's not finished, but I've made quite a bit of progress, which I should record (maybe on this page). I think I ...

  • EmailResources 01 Jul 2002 - RandyKramer -- Currently this page contains only a few "new" resources I've found. An older list of resources is on another page and a Word document in the process of being "refactored ...

  • WlsC0006Email 22 May 2002 - RandyKramer -- daRcmaTTeR wrote: I'm curious about something and as yet I've not been able to find any info in the docs about this yet. Does TWiki require Sendmail in order to function ...

  • EmailServerTerminology 03 Apr 2002 - RandyKramer -- Definitions of some terms related to email and email servers, like MUA, MTA, MDA, pop server, pop3 protocol, imap server, imap protocol, smtp protocol, etc. See: ...

  • EmailServerImplementation 02 Apr 2002 - RandyKramer -- Setting aside a bunch of false starts, here is the page that I'm going to use to document my implementation of an email server on my home LAN. With this much recorded ...

  • Email 02 Apr 2002 - RandyKramer -- I am planning to set up an email server on my home LAN using a Linux box. This page is the first of several pages dedicated to learning how and then implementing ...

  • EmailPostfixBlockDiagram 02 Apr 2002 - RandyKramer -- The intent was to show postfix in more detail, including the various daemons and where they move mail from and to, and maybe the various databases that contain aliases ...

  • QmailResources 20 Mar 2002 - RandyKramer -- Currently I'm working (on and off) on setting up an email server for my home LAN using postfix. I made some breakthroughs in understanding, but, as a backup, I'm ...

  • EmailPostfixTrials 10 Mar 2002 - RandyKramer -- I decided to try a bunch of tests to see which configurations would make Postfix work. I've now had some success and need to regroup and "analyze" the results. See ...

  • Procmail 27 Feb 2002 - RandyKramer -- Procmail is an MDA with extensive and useful filtering properties. See AboutThesePages. Contents TOC From :

  • EmailQmail 27 Feb 2002 - RandyKramer -- Qmail is an MTA . I might consider trying it, although I am more interested in postfix because it is is installed by default on Mandrake 7.2 (and 8.1) and it is simpler ...

  • EmailFileFormats 27 Feb 2002 - RandyKramer -- There are various file formats used to store email at various "stages" of the email generation, transport, storage process. This page is intended to provide information ...

  • EmailEnvelopeAddress 27 Feb 2002 - RandyKramer -- I'm finally getting a better handle on what the envelope address is. It is not any of the (original) headers of an email, but is instead the address that the smtp ...

  • EmailServerImplementationDiscussion 12 Feb 2002 - RandyKramer -- This page is a working page to create and document an email server on my home LAN, on a Linux Mandrake 7.2 box (most likely). Process Steps: Collect all my notes ...

  • TildeSlashDotMailcap 05 Feb 2002 - RandyKramer -- See BLT . ~/.mailcap : A user's personal version of a file to determine the program to be used to display various MIME message types in an email. (Sounds authoritative ...

  • MailFileFormats 25 Jan 2002 - RandyKramer -- See BLT . There are several different file (and directory) formats used for storing email. The following was quoted, then "abstracted" from (but most of this is direct ...

  • Imap 14 Aug 2002 - RandyKramer -- imap is an email protocol that allows mail to be read and written while remaining on a remote server (like your ISP's server). imapd is a common name for the daemon ...



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  • () RandyKramer - 28 Aug 2002
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

[[Main.RandyKramer#28 Aug 2002][]]

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