Mail server is a server that has been setup and integrated within an environment so as to dedicate it for sending and receiving mails as and when required or when requested. All the requests are made by the mail servers’ software client which is a part of the total package either a free one or an enterprise version which is especially created for large scale users. The server is responsible for handling the sending and receiving the mail from one address to the other while the client is totally responsible for sending the information to the server and receiving so a local database could be maintained for future references.
Today’s Linux Servers offer many options with their enterprise and free open source versions that don’t come with after download / sales support. Some of the most discussed and important features are 1) Email and spam filtering, 2) keyword eves dropping, 3) On the go virus scanning and fixing, 4) firewalls, 5) Auto Answering, 6)Bandwidth and space allocations, 6) Use customization according to the user, 7) Mailing Lists, 8) Virtual Domains 9) Web Based, Blackberry and Microsoft Exchange support.
Basically these are some of the most discussed and important features that every server should have these days to be rated as a competent and player which can be given importance and used as a choosing criteria for any person setting up one for his group or enterprise. According to Speel (2003) integration with different mail formats and compatibility between different systems and servers is the future for any mail server that wants to succeed and keep its market share intact.
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Speel goes on to say that the openness of Linux servers as they are open source and their growing integration capabilities are acting like a cherry on the cake and for sure give Linux based servers a special place for the tech planners in different enterprises and public service companies offering free emails. Although the trend has been showing a reverse form where according to Gralla (2010) Linux is being dominated by Windows Server for Mail servers as about 21. 2 % of the market is taken by Linux Mail server and about 73. 9% has been won over by windows and it is not a surprise because it has been seen that for a long time integration between the platforms has been thin and with people using windows in homes and offices it did create some problems.
This has been changing over time and must be fixed up in due time and we will see growth in the numbers for sure. So Microsoft wait up you are up for a surprise. Keeping this competitive discussion aside the main focus of this paper is to discuss four main types of Linux based mail servers which use different methods and are maintained and worked on by completely different people and teams.
Although they are open source and can be changed upon requirement with due respect for the original developer but still the basic framework remains the same and that would be the topic of discussion. The four servers are: 1) Post Fix 2) Send Mail 3) Qpopper 4) Cyrus Mail Servers Post Fix Servers: According to Dribbin(2003) post fix mail servers are Mail Transport Agents that support the LDAP, SMTP, AUTH and while running a chroot environment supports the famous TLS mode as well.
Post fix was started by its developer as an alternative to very widely used Send Mail Servers as they at that time were pretty slow and cumbersome. The developers found the code a bit difficult to edit so they thought of working out a new server from the ground up taking help from the source code of Send Mail servers. This is what makes Post Fix servers fully compatible with Send Mail Servers as well. Mysql plays the database part of the server and though the total package may have a Send Mailish feel the insides are pretty different.
According to postfix themselves they wanted to create a system that was flexible and would cost less as Send Mail was one big program managing all the intricacies and due to the largeness it was easy to make mistakes and mails like qmail was a group of small programs listed in hierarchy which was just a very painful procedure to complete and make efficient enough. Basically post fix is a semi resident, mutually cooperating set of processes that cooperate between each other to get more done in less time. There is no child – parent relationship between the processes and most of them are independent.
Postfix is implemented in all environments as a resident master server that runs post daemon running completely on demand to save processing power and resources. According to the company it is the only server architecture implemented in such a manner. Send Mail Servers: One of the first Linux based services and solutions that perfected the function of a mail server and let many other platforms to learn from it. It also let different platforms communicate with a little pain but at least showed some compatibility with different mail servers that already existed.
There are many different configurations that can work for a linux based send mail server. One of the most common according to Bergsten (1999) is and was the central main hub relay format where the task of a server is to send, receive and relay all mail for all local or neighbor server or client machines that may be working in conjunction with the central server of an existing network or intranet. It has to do as directed for all client and neighbor mail server machines. Security was the prime reason behind the development of specific capabilities in send mail servers.
It can be configured to accept mail only from addresses locally or having a certain license so as to insulate neighbor servers from any threat. All commands were unix compatible that were used for this server and many additions have been done ever since in the same server configuration and new ones made on its model. As explained earlier many of the cumbersome problems were taken out with time which was the main motivation behind the development of Post Fix Servers. Qpopper Mail Servers:
According to Weiser (2007) Qpopper is one of the most widely used mail server that encompasses the POP3 protocol and its derivatives. It is known for supporting a lot of features and add-ons that are community developed and can be made according to need. Qpopper is usually used with normal Unix based email delivery agents like Send Mail or other compatible mail programs and formats. It is known for its security, stability and safety features that cannot be challenged by any other development out there.
Qpopper also provides a large number of features and support for many new developments like bulletin boards, on the go email service, push notifications, Apop and integration with other packages like Kerberos etc with a lot of ease. Qpopper is known to be completely compatible with RFC 1939 that is the definition of POP Protocol and RFC 2449 which defines and also goes much deep into the extended response codes and the POP3 client services. Fetch mail, SILS, SSL, OpenSSL and TLS are all known to work flawlessly with Qpopper. Cyrus Mail Servers: Many different flavors and types of Cyrus Mail servers have come out.
One of the most common is the main Cyrus mail server based on IMAP protocol which was a project and is constantly worked on by Andrew Systems and Carnegie Mellon University in America as the project of their working students who can research and improve on it. To understand Cyrus mail servers we need to understand the IMAP Protocol. IMAP basically is the internet standards tracking protocol for accessing messages on Bboards or through news and mails. The biggest difference between Cyrus IMAP server and the basic IMAP servers is that it is usually implemented for a closed environment for increased security and easy controllability.
Usually the filesystems and management is implemented so to put the database and storage in areas of the local area network that is private to the mail server and normal users are not permitted without any acceptance or special identification key or certificate. All the users access email through the IMAP, POP, POP3 or KPOP protocol and the database admin has a lot of control on how he wants to put it in action and accommodate any necessary changes. The private mailbox server architecture is known and validated for its efficiency, scalability and administration.
All settings are done through Unix compatible commands and a GUI above it to make things easy can be developed if required. Conclusion: All mail servers have their pros and cons. Considerable research and self improvement studies have to be done to understand what kind of features and scalability is required by the experts and upper management or decision makers. The main difference can be made by the terms and securities one setup offers and the future scalability that may be needed by any setup and the efficiency or easiness of access one is looking for and what kind of cost and server setup is going to go in to the total setup.
Speel, hans-Sees. (2003, may 18). Exchange functionality for linux. Retrieved from http://www. linuxjournal. com/article/6734 Gralla, Preston. (2010). Idc: windows dominates linux in servers, not just the desktop. Retrieved from http://blogs. computerworld. com/15675/idc_windows_dominates_linux_in_servers_not_just_the_desktop Dribbin, Dave. (2003). Large-scale mail with postfix, openldap and courier. Retrieved from http://test. linuxjournal. com/article/5917? quicktabs_1=0 Postfix, . (n. d. ). Postfix overview - global architecture.
Retrieved from http://www. postfix. org/architecture. html bergsten, Han. (1999, March 10). An Introduction to java servlets. Retrieved from http://webdevelopersjournal. com/articles/intro_to_servlets. html Faqs. org, . (n. d. ). 22. 1. linux sendmail server. Retrieved from http://www. faqs. org/docs/securing/chap22sec173. html Weiser, Gerald. (2007). Online availability check of teleradiology components. Journal of Digital Imaging,20(4), Retrieved from http://www. springerlink. com/content/401u87133nq947v1/
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