Microsoft Exchange Server replacement Project

James Gray james.gray at
Mon May 28 15:00:15 UTC 2007

Mario Ohnewald wrote:
> we are currently looking for a Microsoft Exchange Server replacement.

Have a look at Zimbra (  It has a free Open 
Source version with limited support, plus a few paid version with 
different support levels.  The paid versions support Outlook and other 
closed source groupware/collaboration clients natively too if that's 

> All the Projects such as Samba, OpenXchange, Squid, Ldap, etc... already
> exist. Its just a matter of "putting all the pices together".

Indeed.  Putting the pieces together is a real pain, but using Zimbra 
greatly simplifies a lot of it (read on).

> After doing some researches we found it very confusing and challenging
> to set up something like this.
> Would someone here want to help develop a ubuntu package wich covers all
> this? Or is there already such an project?
> In the first stage, the Project should include:
> - Configuration of a LDAP backend

Zimbra handles this for you.  In fact it implements the MS Active 
Directory schema from what I can tell.

> - Configuration of Samba

Simply use PAM LDAP to hook Samba into the pre-configured LDAP server 
and you're all done.

> - Configuration of OpenXchange

No need for it (Zimbra is a "competitor" with OpenXchange).

> - Configuration of Squid

Either use an LDAP authenticator, or use NTLM and authenticate against 
Samba (or both).  The benefit of using NTLM is that IE and Firefox on 
Windows will both transparently authenticate without user intervention. 
  You'll need to keep a "BASIC" authenticator on hand for browsers that 
don't support NTLM but the basic authenticator can use LDAP, thus using 
the same back end.

> - Configuration of Curier

Zimbra does this for you. Out of the box you have pop3, imap (both using 
TLS or SSL), SMTP (again with auth and TLS/SSL) and a VERY capable web 

> - Configuration of nss_ldap
> - Configuration of pam_ldap
> - simple Administration Tool

The first two are simple configuration files on the required hosts once 
you have your LDAP server set up, the last is handled by a nice 
web-based GUI in Zimbra.

> Is anyone willing or intrested to help?

I may sound like a Zimbra sales droid but we have settled on it in lieu 
of other products because of its integration with our standard operating 
environment, support and low cost.  It's a very well engineered package 
and I've been very impressed with it - that's all. YMMV :)



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