Lee Chambers's picture

I know email servers have been in question before, but if this was available on Turnkey Linux that would be a winner.

Would it be even possible to install this on the core version somehow or is it opening a can of worms and best left to the experts?


Jeremy Davis's picture

As you may have seen, once upon a time we did have a Zimbra server, but it got discontinued long ago due to technical requirements.

As for installing it yourself, you could try installing it on TurnKey Core but I'm not sure how you'll go. If you check the Zimbra system requirements it doesn't explicitly support Debian. It does support Ubuntu (18.04) though, hence why I say that it might work...

In case you weren't aware; similar to TurnKey, Ubuntu is also based on Debian. However, unlike TurnKey, it's not derived from Debian "stable". An Ubuntu release starts life as a snapshot of Debian "unstable". As they generate their own packages, Ubuntu is considered to NOT be binary compatible. Despite this, most versions of software in Debian (and therefore available in TurnKey) will be the same or very similar to the versions in Ubuntu. Current TurnKey (v16.x) is based on Debian 10/Buster. It was released mid 2019 so will likely have some newer versions of software than Ubuntu 18.04.

Bottom line, it might install and work fine on a TurnKey Core base, but I can't guarantee it...

As a further consideration though, it worth noting that reliably sending emails is a non-trivial thing to do! It is possible, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it for the feint of heart. Unless you are doing it to learn about emails and how it all works and/or it's for personal non-critical use, I would definitely advise consideration of alternate options. I say that as there is significant configuration (outside of your actual server) to ensure that emails you send arrive at their desired destination and are not flagged as spam. Some email providers may even silently block your emails (I'm looking at you Comcast!) - so users will not even get your email in their spam folder! Even beyond initial set up, you'll need to monitor spam blacklists and deal with getting your mail server removed if/when it ends up on one of the many spam blacklists online.

Lee Chambers's picture

I have seen looking back through the forums that Zimbra was once a thing, what i was planning on doing is using the collaboration/webmail client side of things to manage emails from an external server.

I dont know if the above is even at all possible with Zimbra but i have set up internal mail servers in the past and as you quite rightly say, yes they are a pain in the rear to maintain using an external mail server puts all the painful responsibility on to someone elses todo list.

I was hoping to use it as a nice manageable front end for my users to access email from and external server, so far in a way todo this i have experimented with nextcloud by adding in the RainLoop plugin, this seems to work well as it will automatically login the user to which ever email account you configure on the admin side, i just have my doubts that users would use the nextcloud storage instead of their local mapped drives, currently i cant see anyway in nextcloud to disable the remote storage :(

Thank you for the insight on Turnkey though, hopefully its a platform that i can learn more about as hosting things on windows is rather limited, all the decent softwares seem to only run on linux :)

Jeremy Davis's picture

TBH, I've never used Roundcube, but it seems to be somewhat popular and it's been in the back of my mind as a candidate if (when?) we do reintroduce a mail server. One of the appeals for me is that it's packaged in Debian (as well as a MySQL connector and a bundle of popular plugins). So it comes bundled with all the default config (e.g. cron jobs, apache config, etc) and is easy to install (and even better; easy to maintain for us). Plus users get the advantage of the auto security updates. As per any install from Debian repos, the downside is that it's not the latest release, but in this particular case, I think that the price might be worth it.

For a "TurnKey Mailserver" appliance we would include the full mailserver (e.g. probably dovecot - which we'd definitely install from Debian). But for your stated purposes, you wouldn't need to do that, you could just have it connect to your remote mail server?!

As I said, I've never tried it, but it should be pretty straight forward to install. If you start with our LAMP app, this should do the trick:

apt update
# install roundcube, plugins and recommended additional packages
apt install -y roundcube roundcube-mysql roundcube-plugins php-gd php-pspell

# During install you will be asked if you want the DB auto configured; answer yes.
# You will also be asked to set a Roundcube DB password, just hit enter to let it generate a random one

a2dissite 000-default
sed -i "\|Alias /roundcube|s|^#[[:space:]]*||" /etc/roundcube/apache.conf
ln -s /etc/roundcube/apache.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available/roundcube.conf
a2ensite roundcube
systemctl restart apache2

Then your should find Roundcube at https://YOUR_SERVER/roundcube You should be able to log in with your mailserver credentials, i.e. email address, password and IMAP server URL (if your IMAP server supports it, using SSL is highly recommended; i.e. imaps://YOUR_IMAP_SERVER). I gave it a quick test (connecting to a gmail account - which also required tweaking my gmail settings to allow "less secure apps") and it "just worked", although I didn't test sending mail.

FYI, by default it will send mail directly from the server itself, so I recommend configuring TurnKey to use an SMTP relay (probably you could just use the same mailserver?). Also you can pre-configure the IMAP server URL via the $config['default_host'] setting (and others...) within /etc/roundcube/config.inc.php.

If you do test that out (or end up using something else) please keep us posted. Even if we don't adopt it as an appliance, it may well be useful for someone else. Good luck! :)

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