Mobile email with Linux email servers

Not every business runs Microsoft Exchange. Maybe the company isn’t based around a Microsoft infrastructure or Exchange is too expensive or they use something else for historical reasons. It is very common in this situation for the company’s email to be run on one of the various Linux distributions, either with a packaged email system, or a hand-rolled one. How do you get email to mobile devices in these circumstances?

As with Exchange and non-ActiveSync devices, IMAP is the best way of enabling access for mobile devices. An IMAP server that responds to the IDLE command correctly (keeping the connection to the device open, and sending notification of changes such as new mail as they happen) provides the same functionality as push email.

In order to maintain security of email, your chosen server must support session encryption. Many packed email servers, such as Communigate Pro, allow the addition of SSL certificates; some don’t though, so carefully check the feature lists of your potential solutions.

If you wish to hand-configure a basic Linux installation, there are a number of how-tos available depending on your choice of SMTP and IMAP or POP3 server. The solutions for Postfix (for SMTP) and Cyrus (for IMAP) are particularly clearly documented – these, in conjunction with OpenSSL for SSL certificate requesting and management, will enable you to set up as secure and as flexible a mobile email solution as an integrated, packaged system. The question then is whether the ease of management of a packaged system outweighs the extra cost.

Postfix TLS Support:

Configuring Cyrus IMAP:

Communigate Pro:

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Comments (1)
Posted: May, 5 2009


But crazy thought? I dont think so..
As I tweeted, Oracle buys the Sun to break through the Cloud.
Looking forward to the IBM-SAP post.



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leave When you add a new user and their email address doesn't show up in the Global Address List, work through the tips and suggestions in the ever-useful Exchangepedia Blog:
Bulk-add new users with the script here ( or give existing users mail access ( - this also has details for adding multiple meeting rooms as resources). And when an employee gets replaced, the steps at make it easy to connect the previous user's mailbox to the new user account so that mail for that job role keeps going to the right place. Reject spam with a custom message Just in case the message you're rejecting comes from a real person, you can have Exchange send a less cryptic message that the default error; it will make your customers look more professional. This blog post
explains how - but make sure to keep the 550 error code at the beginning.
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