Setting Up An IMAP-Based Email Solution, part 3

Friday Jun 22nd 2001 by Stew Benedict

Traditionally, Unix-based systems use POP servers for retrieving email, but in today's environment, where users log in from multiple location using varied clients, this can prove problematic. One solution is to use IMAP instead. This time out we cover the installation of SquirrelMail.

Installing SquirrelMail

From the SquirrelMail webpage:

"SquirrelMail is a standards-based webmail package written in PHP4... with all the functionality you would want from an email client, including strong MIME support, address books, and folder manipulation."

You can download SquirrelMail from

 [root@moe]# cd /usr/local/apache/htdocs
 [root@moe html]# tar -xzf /home/stew/squirrelmail-1.0.6.tar.gz
 [root@moe html]# mv squirrelmail-1.0.6 webmail
 [root@moe html]# chown -R nobody.nobody webmail
 [root@moe html]# chmod -R 400 webmail
 [root@moe html]# chmod -R u+X webmail
 [root@moe html]# cd webmail
 [root@moe html]# chmod u+w data
 [root@moe html]# cd config
 [root@moe config]# perl

 SquirrelMail Configuration : Read: config_default.php
 Main Menu --
 1.  Organization Preferences
 2.  Server Settings
 3.  Folder Defaults
 4.  General Options
 5.  Themes
 6.  Address Books (LDAP)
 7.  Message of the Day (MOTD)
 8.  Plugins

 D.  Set pre-defined settings for specific IMAP servers

 C.  Turn color off
 S   Save data
 Q   Quit

 Command >> 

Many of the defaults are fine. You'll need to change the server setting from "cyrus" to "uw". There is also support for other IMAP servers. You can set the organization name and other optional features as appropriate. You will also want to set the domain name appropriately or use "localhost". If you don't care for the name or the "squirrel" graphic, you can replace these with your own organization's logo. The default settings end up in config/config.php should you decide to make changes later.

 Command >> s

 Data saved in config.php
 Press enter to continue...

Now point your browser to http://localhost/webmail, and you should be greeted by the SquirrelMail login screen:

              click image for full size

Login with your username and password, and by default you'll be able to access your inbox. You can also create additional mail folders, or access folders in your home directory created with other standard mail clients.

              click image for full size

SquirrelMail has proved to be quite popular, and has already aquired a number of contributed plugins. These include a spellchecker, filters, pop server hooks, administration, and other useful tools.

Part 4 of this series will deal with enabling SSL and the following week will feature a closing sidebar story regarding off-the-shelf packages that handle IMAP under UNIX systems.

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