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Hi all, My company uses MS Exchange for our mailserver and uses Outlook on all the workstations (everything is microsoft windows based here ). I was hoping to try and ...
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  1. #1
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    Linux version of MS Exchange


    Hi all,

    My company uses MS Exchange for our mailserver and uses Outlook on all the workstations (everything is microsoft windows based here ).

    I was hoping to try and move some of our servers towards Linux as I have played with a few different flavors over the years, and the main question I have right now is if there is a reasonably close linux based program that will duplicate Exchange, but still work with Outlook running on windows based machines? The version of linux isn't much of a concern as I am currently not running anything, so I would have to start from scratch anyways.

    I have read about a few different programs that may do it, but I don't want company bullsh*t about their own program, I want answers from people who have used them if possible.

    Thanks for the help,
    Jeremy

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
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    There used to be a package called Suse OpenExchange which was pretty similar, but I think my company ditched it because it was a bit rough around the edges.

    Any imap server will do the email though (cyrus or Dovecot are the two that spring to mind first, I'm sure there are other though). If you do any calendaring, then maybe checking out a caldav server would be a good place to look?
    Linux user #126863 - see http://linuxcounter.net/

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    Thanks for the response. Do you mind if I ask what your company went to after ditching open-Xchange?

    I looked at Open-Xchange which would pretty much take care of what I want, although I do have to pay for it. Considering we are still running win NT on a few servers, 2000 on the rest, and exchange 5.5, I know I won't convince my boss to purchase new software (kind of a tight ass with that stuff... still using office 97... :'( ).

    I also looked at some of the individual programs that I could use to setup a Linux mail server (lot of work and somewhat complicated from what I read), but my main goal with this, however it needs to get accomplished, is essentially to replicate our current systems with Linux (exchange, active directory, 4 Citrix metaframe servers, and a few others) while not drastically affecting any of the workstations. That means I still have to be able to access everything from MS Outlook (email, calendar, tasks, private and public folders, etc...), be able to log into the systems with Active Directory (or LDAP and Samba once converted to Linux), access the various servers from metaframe (I know, seperate issue, not really too concerned about that yet) and not royally screw up anything as there are dozens of different macros that get run on local workstations accessing programs and files on the servers and sending automated mail outs to our store managers.

    All of this I am trying (hoping and praying) to be able to do before even taking it to my boss so that I can show him that it does and is working, and that we won't lose any productivity (hot button this is).

    Given what it is that I have to accomplish, does anyone have any other suggestions about certain programs, or websites I can read, that will help me to resolve all these problems. Specifically the replicating the MS exchange server into linux and then Active Directory?

    I should mention that I don't have to convert everything to Linux. I would like to move exchange since it is so old to something new, and I like Linux, but everything doesn't have to go as long as I can make it all work with the Linux system as well.

    Thanks for any help,
    Jeremy

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    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
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    My company now uses something called 'scalix' which I know very little about. It does regular IMAP but also has a widget for windows that makes Outlook talk very slowly to the mail server (so I use Thunderbird which uses the raw IMAP mail).

    The advantage of doing this on Linux is the fact that it's not all a one-application solution, you can pick the best applications that suit your needs. What can you use?

    Mailservers: Postfix, Courier, maybe even Sendmail, these can all be set up pretty quickly.
    ActiveDirectory: OpenLDAP or Fedora Directory Server - or even not bother replacing...
    IMAP: with Cyrus or Dovecot
    Calendaring: any CalDav server will do the job
    Shared folders: Samba!

    And on the windows clients, show your boss OpenOffice, and the price, and Office 97 will be history. Windows has lots of mail clients available, Thunderbird is one of the best. You can even get a version of Evolution for Windows.
    Linux user #126863 - see http://linuxcounter.net/

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    Thanks for all the info Roxoff.

    I found Fedora DS after posting and downloaded it and was going to try and play around with it a bit. And the other programs are exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Something to get me started. I would like to have a more or less direct replacement for Exchange, but if I can install multiple programs to do it, while maintaining a seamless transition from the users, I have no problem with it.

    And as for the windows users and office 97, I was planning on going to openOffice eventually (I hope), the main problem as to why we haven't upgraded at all is partly cost, but mainly it's the dozens of different macros the we run everyday. We aren't sure if they will easily transit to a new version of office, and highly unlikely for open office. Will have to do some major research on those to transfer them (considering I didn't make any of the macro's and I only run 2 or 3 myself...). But thanks for letting me know about it though.

    And as for the mail clients, I think outlook would end up staying as I may choose something different, but the majority of users here (something like 99% of them) don't know sh*t about computers or the simplest of things. They have become use to outlook and they aren't the kind that can switch programs easily. I however will look into them though. Maybe with some luck.

    Thanks again, I will post some more (different threads) as more problems arise.

    Jeremy

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    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
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    Having several different programs doing the various bits of what Exchange used to do is a better solution, a failure in one place wont mean the whole system goes down, plus you can set it up and configure piecemeal, and graduate a roll-out (making life easier for the sysadmin, i.e. you). From a philosophical point of view, one monolithic app is the Microsoft way and small independent tools interoperating is the *nix way. Of course you introduce complexity with interoperation, but nothing that cant be managed easily on open standards.

    As far as the users are concerned, dont worry about them being used to outlook - if they stay with that, the company has to bear the licensing cost. They'll be moving over if the company says so - and if they're not computer literate (as you suggest) you could tell 'em anything you like to convince them that changing mail tool is good. You could even tell them that Thunderbird is much quicker than outlook, that they can have their calendar running without their email, that they can connect to multiple mail servers at the same time (Outlook on Exchange cant...). You don't even have to make stuff up - and if they still refuse to change, just tell 'em that the MSOffice license fee will be taken out of their salary if they don't switch
    Linux user #126863 - see http://linuxcounter.net/

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    Sure is a good idea to take the license fee out of there salary if they don't like to switch. I think I might have to propose that option .

    And I do whole heartedly agree that a toolbox full of apps versus a one tool fits all can be beneficial especially if you don't use everything, but complicates things as you mentioned. That's mainly what I am worry about because I don't know all the most compatible programs or anything so it will be a lot of trial and error stuff until I find what works. I am reasonably confident I can find them and get them to work, but it will take a lot of work and time. Should be fun and give me something to do

    Jeremy

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