Mail stack improvements in Ubuntu 9.04

After inclusion of clamav and amavisd-new into main in Ubuntu 8.10, in Ubuntu 9.04 we will see big improvements in mail stack. Up until now, sysadmins were left on their own to setup all the bits and pieces of the mail server; IMAP, POP, SMTP, SASL authentication, TLS/SSL support for all those services and maybe some other custom configuration.

In Ubuntu-server team we’we decided that this should be much easier and, based on experience of our members, created integrated mail stack with safe default setup. This setup won’t solve all mail configuration problems (we don’t setup any antispam and antivirus countermeasures), but it will enable your startup to get working e-mail server out of the box.

So, what’s included? Mail server stack is based on dovecot for IMAP/POP3 protocols and postfix for SMTP. Feature list:

  • POP3, IMAP, POP3S, IMAPS
  • SMTP, SMTP/TLS
  • Maildir storage for e-mails
  • SASL authentication (SMTP-AUTH)
  • dovecot MDA (mail delivery agent)
  • support for sieve scripting
  • managesieve protocol for managing sieve scripts on *server* from your *client*, like thunderbird or kmail
  • IMAP & POP3 workarounds for buggy clients

All these you get by default, out of the box without additional configuration. We’ve also made an effort on delivering safe configuration, which can be used by any client out there. This configuration takes care of your server and doesn’t allow clear text authentication on any of enabled non-SSL/TLS services.

One of the features provided, which I like very much, are extensions on e-mails. In other words, if you create IMAP folder ‘ubuntu’, any mail sent on ‘youremail+ubuntu@domain.com’ will automatically be saved in ‘ubuntu’ IMAP folder. We’ve taken safe approach on this one and we don’t automatically create those folders. Mail is delivered in special folder only if it exists.

There are also some minor changes, like human readable errors when mail is rejected or temporary error messages instead of full bounce when quota is full.

If I got you interested in these features, fire up ubuntu-server 9.04 in your virtual machine and test these features. Everything you need to do is:

sudo apt-get install dovecot-postfix

If you like it, please provide some feedback or if there are some bugs, report them on launchpad.

P.S. this is my new blog

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10 Responses to “Mail stack improvements in Ubuntu 9.04”

  1. I was going to ask “but what about the no open ports by default policy”, and then you answered my question by saying I’d have to explicitly apt-get install dovecot-postfix to get the goodness. Good!

    Instead, I’ll ask a different question: what happens if I send an email to youremail+Sent@yourdomain, with your name in the From: header and my name in the To: header?

  2. Sent, Trash and Drafts are ‘special’ folders. Dovecot LDA will not deliver mail into those folders.

  3. Hey There,

    Just wanted to say thank you for doing this integration!!!!!

    Jørn

  4. Jose Gaspar says:

    This project look’s great. Are you considering implementing postgrey?

  5. @Jørn Eriksen – Thank you. I hope people will find it useful.

    @Jose Gaspar – There are plans on expanding mail stack even more, but not for Ubuntu 9.04. You can read about ideas and even suggest some here:

    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ServerTeam/MailServer

  6. JillSwift says:

    We love you folks. Just FYI

  7. Anders Westrup says:

    Good work, keep it up!

    Do you enable the SMTP submission port (587)? Some ISPs block port 25 so this is required to reach the mail server when sending mail.

    And I hope that you require TLS when using SMTP-AUTH..

  8. @Anders – No, it’s not enabled by default (everything a user needs to do is uncomment one line in postfix’s master.cf), but we are aware of submission and smtps. Both will be, most probably, enabled in 9.10. We didn’t have time to extend postfix’s interface to its configuration (postconf is great for main.cf, but there’s nothing for master.cf), so that we could enable those features from package installation. It’s on our TODO list for 9.10.

    Yes, TLS is required for SMTP-AUTH.

  9. Anders Westrup says:

    @Ante – perfect! thanks for the details.

  10. [...] wrote a blog post about the dovecot/postfix integration. mathiaz mentioned bug 339966 reported by a user that had an [...]