To me, eMail servers are one of the most complicated but most interesting things there are in the technical world. However, in the past I did some attempts to setup a full-featured eMail-Server environment using the Citadel and the Kolab 2.2.4 groupware software.
It worked, though for me neither of them felt “complete”.
Citadel, designed as a all-in-one and easy-to-install solution, which makes use of code from well-tested software to build something self-contained, worked out of the box. But it had a very ugly web-frontend with it’s own webserver (they are working on a complete rewrite for version 9).
Kolab 2.2.4 was very difficult to setup on my ubuntu server system because it was intended to be used with openpkg and was not natively supported for specific distributions. However I did not succeed to set it up completely and kept using citadel.
Some months ago Kolab 3 came out and in the last weeks I did some first testing. Result: Kolab 3 is a large step foreward. Some things changed: The webclient is now roundcube which integrates perfectly with kolab via a set of plugins, developed by the kolab-team. And it looks so nice!
Kolab extensively uses the ldap directory server database to hold information about users, the global addressbook, distribution lists and system configuration (served domains, shared folders/calendars etc.). This seems a very clean approach to me, using open standards to build up new functionalities. Keep on!
Installing Kolab 3 on my ubuntu precise x64 machine was not easy, but in the end it worked. Here I’ll tell you briefly how.
The differences between ubuntu and debian machines concerning this case are mostly package versions. So as I just added the kolab repository to my /etc/apt/sources.list and tried to install the kolab packages I got version incompatibilies. I tracked them down to the perl package, which was needed in some low version by 389-ds and in a higher version by cyrus-imapd at once.
Anyway, it worked, by some tinkering:
- Load the package database from ubuntu raring (kolab-debs commented in sources.list!) and install the most recent 389-ds from there, which works with the newer perl.
- Install the kolab packages from the debian-repository of kolabsystems making sure that you keep your 389-ds packages,
- Configure kolab as described in the docs.
- To get kolab-webadmin working you have to fix some packaging error of libnss3 as describe here. You do not have to edit files in /usr/share/kolab-webadmin. Only make sure that /usr/lib/mozldap/ldapsearch works.
- Get the most recent version of kolab-webadmin from git and update your “kolab” database in mysql (drop tables and load the sql file shipped with kolab-wap). You’ll get the shared-folders feature then.
Up to now I did not get the 389-console to work, but I don’t know if that is related to the above procedure since I am very new to the 389-ds. Additionally I still struggle with my the ldap and my ssl-certificate. I would greatly appreciate some help with this. Just send me an email 😉
Because the kolab-development team lacks packagers the first ubuntu-debs were released only very recently. Since the installing-process works flawlessly on ubuntu from the debian repository, I would recommend them to stick with debian or ubuntu packaging only and keep those up-to-date (due to longer support periods I would say ubuntu, but one might argue about cannonical). I bet people who want to install kolab on their system will know enough about it to convert from ubuntu to debian or vice-versa if it is clearly said that one have to do it.
PS: If you come fumbling around to a point where apt-get tells you to type in “Yes, do what I say!”, I would really recommend not to do so 😉