Mail Server Update


Well I have been using the Mail-In-A-Box mail server solution for a few months now, and actually quite enjoying it.  Nearly %100 migrated over.  A few old messages that haven’t been pulled over yet, and Google Drive is still my primary for those things.  But by year’s end, I should be %100 self sufficient, and essentially Google-free.

Although I do not hate or have any ill will towards Google, I am finding that for pure cross-platform compatibility at %100 parity, I need to host using standards.  Doing so will allow for greater flexibility for very little more effort than what I am expending currently (sometimes feels like swimming up a waterfall…)

So here is where I am sitting:

  • For mail, MIAB is doing the job.  MIAB is postfix + dovecot + DNS + LetsEncrypt automation + Roundcube.  There is a webmail solution, plus I can use any IMAP client to tap in and access or manipulate the messages.  Refer to the next part for what is actually doing my webmail.  In the MIAB web GUI, there is also a Munin monitoring instance, which seems quite nice and useful, although I think I may integrate things into my Cacti instance that is hosted elsewhere.
  • For contacts and calendars, MIAB ships with OwnCloud.  However, I have a serparate installation of Nextcloud elsewhere, which has all that plus plugin manipulation enabled (MIAB does not), and I have it doing word processing, spreadsheets, notes, calendars, contacts, files and webmail.  Quite nice.  And yes I am actually syncing to both OwnCloud and NextCloud quite nicely.
  • On the phone side of things, I had some fun getting things taken care of but its done and will sync now.  The issue that I ran into was Google not playing well with others, and not being aware that I needed a separate contacts list for syncing.  Copy Contacts fixed that, and now I just default to using that second addressbook for all contacts.  One fringe benefit is web manipulation in a better way via *Cloud’s interfaces.  DavDroid + Tasks + Copy Contacts is the toolchain for syncing, along with either GMail or Aqua apps for doing the actual emails.  Going forward, I will be hosting my own contacts and calendars, that if I want can be shared out or duped to Google.
  • On the PC, GNOME, Evolution and Chromium are taking care of everything there.  I have a Google account added to tap into Google’s stuff.  And Evolution can tap into both Google and Nextcloud that way.  For the web side, any browser will suffice.

So what can I say about this — its not free, as the Android side was ~$12 in apps, but thats not too bad.  And I will of course require at least one VPS to handle this all, and I am actually doing it with much more for redundancy and sanity sake.  But running my own is a benefit of being away from companies that, although today may care about my interests, may not tomorrow.  With a business class line, I can actually host at home for slightly more if push comes to shove (clone the VPS VMs and host em on a local KVM instance).

Although I still am working on getting things ported to EL7, this is going to be a very nasty undertaking and am drafting up a proposal for the MIAB team to add in a few things that, even without official support, will make doing things alot saner, and future-proofed.  But that is at least 6 months away at this time.

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