Electronic mail was the first Federated service carried over the Internet, and in some ways it pre-dated the IP based system we think of as the Internet today, as it was possible to send emails for example from systems connected via UUCP to others using DECmail a long time (in internet terms) before the creation of the Web.
Ambridge Garden Club members want to be able to communicate with each other over email, using, if they wish email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org, and these should be, at the choice of the member, accessible using the club mail system as a store and messaging system – using the “Internet Mail Access Protocol”, or a web interface to that; or they should be forwarded on to another email system of their choice. They will want email addresses for key roles such as email@example.com, and for groups of people such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unwanted emails (spam) should be rejected, as far as possible, while ensuring that wanted email reception and delivery are reliable.
Setting up email – an overview
Actually setting up the email for Ambridge Garden Club was more convoluted than ordering the domain or purchasing the server, so there is no step by step guide. The components used are capable of scaling up to deal with many thousands of users, so have many options for configuring them, and there were other possibilities for the components as well. The ones below should be suitable for a small organisation and they should be susceptible to automated installation and configuration for future purposes.
User Database – LDAP
Information about the members of the Garden Club are stored in a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) database. This holds their names, and other information, such as their email address. There are many tools available for manipulating the database through web interfaces, and many of the services our club members will want to use, email, instant messaging, web page publishing and so on can use LDAP as a store of information.
Mail Transport Agent – Postfix
Postfix handles mail receiving and sending to any address which ends in @ambridge-garden-club.org.uk. Some members want their mail to be forwarded to another mail system, and this is handled by a combination of postfix-ldap to find their addresses in LDAP and postsrsd, which ensures that the email forwarding is Sender Rewriting Scheme friendly.
Other options would be Exim or Sendmail.
Mail Server – Dovecot
The mail which is not forwarded is delivered into Dovecot. This will allow members to access their mail via their choice of email clients, such as Thunderbird, or K9mail, or the Roundcube web front end.
Other options would be Courier.
Mail Filtering – Sieve
Sieve allows mail to be sorted into folders as it is delivered, or unwanted messages to be rejected, under the control of the person using the mail account.
Web Frontend – Roundcube
Roundcube provides a fairly simple web interface to an IMAP server. The implementation at Ambridge Garden Club is configured to only access its local server, and to have the sieve plugin to manage mail
Other options would be SOGo