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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