[lug] Email questions

Brock, Kelly KBrock at maxis.com
Thu Mar 15 10:28:47 MST 2001

Hi There,

	Ok, I'm not yet very Linux knowledgable but this thread happens to
follow along with exactly the system I just managed to get setup and working
like a charm.  So, after many a headache, perhaps some of this will be

> I have a Linux box with a static IP that I am using as a 
> gateway (I use
> ipchains to filter and to masquerade my internal network) to multiple
> machines in my home, and as an FTP server. I don't use the 
> gateway as a
> workstation, so I want to read the mail from one of the other 
> machines at
> home. In order to access the FTP server from outside I use 
> the static IP
> address, which is what I assume I would have to do with my 
> mail client when
> I'm away from home.

	Basically what I found was that since I was using Outlook at work
and Electronic Arts blocks all external e-mail access, I had to sidestep a
little bit.  So, some of this isn't really relavent, I just found it fun and
hopefully if there are alternatives and/or better methods I'm definately
open to learning.  At the sametime, as someone else mentioned, every once in
a while Outlook or the mail server or someone would get into a snafu and
decide to re-download every mail off the server if you leave copies so I
wanted to be able to read and flush every message as it arrived.  Currently,
I'm setup using POP3 for external network access since my IMAP server
currently works internally and I didn't want to screw it up by trying to put
it on alternate ports for access through the EA servers.  It was easier for
me to just add a new POP3 with an alternate port.  (Not to mention that
Outlook's access to IMAP over the inet seems to be dead dog slow, POP3 is
working a hell of a lot faster.)

	So, the end product I've got now works like a charm and hasn't once
screwed up in the last 2 weeks.  That's a fairly decent record since the
prior setup was screwing up every 3 or 4 days with re-downloads or other
random problems.

	Basically, my idea was to setup a certain number of user accounts.
One set is a 'rules' set and the other is an actual 'access point'.  I'm
sure there are easier ways to deal with this but this worked best for me.
The 'rules' accounts are simply there to be named targets, they don't
actually have to exist as real accounts I believe but I made them just to be
safe.  So, starting with fetchmail here's the plan that I followed:

	Fetchmail was setup to read all of the external e-mail servers.  (I
have 8 e-mail addresses for several reasons so this was definately a
requirement.)  Instead of the 'is myname here' portion I instead used 'is
rule1 here'.  So, anything coming from that server doesn't automatically go
to a specific account it goes to one of the rule accounts.  As mentioned
though, you probably don't actually need (or want) these accounts to exist,
the work is actually done in sendmail's aliases file.  In sendmail's aliases
file, each 'rule' account is aliased to multiple targets.  For instance, my
main home address goes to the main account which is accessed via IMAP within
my little home group and also to the three externally accessible accounts
for work, laptop and 'other'.

	All of this basically means that externally I am able to use POP3 to
access e-mail, internally I can use IMAP/POP3 or whatever I want.  I do not
at any point, require anything stored on a server permanently except that
which will be accessed via IMAP.  The benefits are that it has never managed
yet (knock on wood) to confuse Outlook and end up re-downloading 2500
duplicate e-mails, it is flexible, and it's very easy to maintain.  One
example of the flexible is that I keep a free e-mail account that I use
anytime that it's possible the address will end up on a spam list.  I check
that account once in a while and if I'm feeling particularly nasty, I hunt
down spammers and get them banned from there ISP's.  But, I definately don't
want to have that e-mail getting put in with stuff that I'll be accessing
from work.  I 'may' want to go ahead and pop it into the mail e-mail and use
filters to move it into a specific spam folder for casual browsing.  Any of
this is quick and easy to setup.

	All said and done, I'm MUCH happier with the setup working this way
now.  My prior attempts over the last 6 months or so have all ended up being
only partially successful, this setup seems like the best tradeoff so far.
If you need any help, let me know.  I'm pretty sure I've at least got the
portions specific to this setup fairly well understood now, so hopefully I
won't fall on my face by posting non-sense.  :)


	Kelly Brock
	Maxis - Electronic Arts

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