Home IMAP server

Jeffrey F. Bloss jbloss at tampabay.rr.com
Wed Dec 27 04:00:16 UTC 2006

Dotan Cohen wrote:

> Also, will I absolutely need postfix? I'm not even sure what it does-
> all the documentation seems to assume that one is familiar with it. I
> _think_ that postfix will pull mail from my POP3 server and deliver it
> to the IMAP server. Is this correct?

No, for that you'll probably want something like fetchmail. :)

You'll need some sort of mail transport agent (MTA). That's what routes
mail around your network, forwards outgoing mail to other servers, and
directs incoming mail into the right "slot". That's the function of an
SMTP server, and Postfix is just one of the "standards". 

You'll also want to be able to collect and/or read your mail, so you
need something sitting there waiting for you to log in and do that.
This is the IMAP/POP3 part. Dovecot and Courier are just two of the
choices. Again, just a couple of "ol' reliables". 

On top of that you'll need a way to reach out to external email servers
and collect mail from there, incorporating it into your "home" server.
That's fetchmail's job. It logs into your POP account at Gmail and
moves everything from there to your server.

Confused yet? :)

On top of all *that*, there's some behind the scenes stuff that needs to
be set up like OpenSSL and SASL for security. Not to mention things like
Procmail, Bogofilter or Spamassassin, ClamAV, a "milter", yadda, yadda,
yadda... for filtering and managing the junk if you're inclined to do
that on the server.

This is why it might be wise to limit your choices to "standard" stuff,
and trust one of the "howto" links that were posted. At least for the
first go around, you can get creative later. I understand Courier has
modules for everything under the kitchen sink for instance, but there's
going to be so much more information and assistance out there for
Postfix that all you really want from Courier is the IMAP/POP module.
Or use Dovecot. And for fetching mail from other servers there's no
reason at all to look beyond Fetchmail.

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