[Techtalk] Mail wisdom

Kai MacTane kmactane at GothPunk.com
Wed Nov 28 10:52:14 EST 2001

At 11/28/01 06:15 AM , Michelle Murrain wrote:
>Here's the deal: I'm setting up a server, and I need to provide around 250 
>e-mail accounts. I need both IMAP and POP3 (IMAP for the webmail client 
>squirrelmail, POP3 for remote mail). I don't want any of these users to 
>have shell access (it would be great if they don't have real accounts). 
>Also, this server is an extranet, with a password system that uses perl 
>and PostgreSQL. I'm dead set on synchronizing the mail passwords with the 
>extranet passwords.

After looking at just this part, I was thinking "Qmail with vchkpw". It 
supports a set of virtual users and even virtual domains -- as many as you 
want, IIRC -- with only one new /etc/passwd entry. And it has hooks to talk 
to a SQL database. You can find more information on it (including source 
download) from http://www.inter7.com/vpopmail/ -- it seems they've changed 
the name from vchkpw to vpopmail, partly to make it easier to pronounce.


>So these look like my options:
>- standard sendmail (my favorite, since I know it well - although I know 
>it's got security problems)

I'm not sure how well you know Qmail. If you aren't very familiar with it, 
you may find that getting it set up and running (and then installing 
vpopmail on top of that) is a decidedly non-trivial task. While I think 
that Qmail is, all in all, easier to deal with than Sendmail (assuming you 
start off knowing nothing about either of them), that doesn't mean it's 
exactly "easy" in an absolute sense. And transitioning from one to the 
other is pretty crazy, because the two are *nothing* like each other (aside 
from both being MTAs). The design philosophies are completely different 
from the ground up -- in fact, they're almost diametrically opposed.

Also, looking at the FAQ on vpopmail, it looks like it can talk to MySQL 
databases, but not necessarily PostgreSQL. I'm not sure how difficult it 
would be to adapt it for that purpose. (vpopmail is written in C, if that 
helps any.)

At the very least, I'd give it a look-see. But I'm not sure it's the best 
solution for your problem.

                                                 --Kai MacTane
"Hey, sister Moonshine, hold me 'til the break of dawn,
  Hold me long,
  Hold me hard,
  Hold me 'til the shadows fade away..."
                                                 --The Mission UK,
                                                  "Paradise (Will Shine
                                                   Like the Moon)"

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