9 Replies Latest reply on Apr 1, 2004 11:50 AM by Andrew Oliver

    Feedback about Mail Services

    Sergey Zhukov Newbie

      Hi, guys, again !

      You started great project. I read your PDF (The Case for mail services) and that sounds VERY great !
      I thought about same project some time ago and I'm very glad that you started this up already.
      I'm system administrator with enough knowledge of - what I need from the mailserver for organizations, so can I comment something ? :-)

      I've seen your code and I see you're very much depends from email essense. I think it's bad.
      For example you divides MailMessage to Body and Headers (and offer to divide it more to From, To, ....), but many of items in the storage may not contain these fields, so maybe you need to simplify MessageStore ?

      I don't need just another mailserver (we have a lot of them), we need Information Storage for organizations.
      Users should be able to store many of their data on this server (mails, contacts, ICQ history, .... ), should be able to search in this storage. It should be replicable and should be ready for cluster support.
      Hope JBoss server will help in many of this possibilities.
      Of course it should be able to work with mail over any protocols. SMTP should not be major protocol for the server, because SMTP may die in the nearest future...

      Much of this possibilities MS Exchange has, but it still proprietary and still very closed. It's very heavy to extend MS Exchange for specific needs.

      I've seen JAMES, it has great feature 'mailets'. I hope you (or me :-) ) will implement the same feature, to make this server very flexible. But JAMES still usual just another mailserver (SMTP/POP3 toaster), and I don't see any reasons to use their Java mailserver if I have enough native mailservers with the same features....

      So as system (mail) administrator I promise to investigate your project on the development phase - how it's flexible for system administrators and for users. :-)

      I've started to think about universal storage for mailserver (with all described before possibilities), so maybe it will be useful in the future.


        • 1. Re: Feedback about Mail Services
          Bill Burke Master


          Please post your requirements for Mail Services in a separate topic and get a discussion going. Andy really needs feedback from System Admins to make this project successful.

          Thanks for your time!


          • 2. Re: Feedback about Mail Services
            Andrew Oliver Master

            Thanks Sergey, I think you're dead on with the specific issues with mail storage. I disagree with the YAMS sentiment, in that each mail server have issues and I've not yet found one that I like. Granted I'm sure some folks will eventually investigate us and not like what we're doing, but ultimately I think we can reach Exchange's feature set, be protocol compatible without some of its annoying flaws (proprietary, license costs, security failings, maintentance downtime, single operating system, etc). I agree the functionality in the JAMES mailet interface is something that we should achieve. I'd actually like to go a bit further and have some (thinking javascript?) scripting support so that admins can write mailets of sorts if they need.

            Mail services is set up to be protocol extensible from the ground up. Meaning if you look at my twiddle example, it has nothing to do with email. I'm not 100% convinced that we should tackle "universal storage" but its an interesting idea. More and more it looks like a lot of what we're doing will tie well into JBoss Nukes.

            Clustering is an issue that we're already discussing. We must support clustering. If you look closely at our storage stuff, its pretty imature but designed to be pluggable. Mail Services is still pretty early in development (we haven't even had a milestone release) so understand that some pieces have been implemented just to have something WORKING rather than perfected. I wanted a running mail server as close to day one as possible. Fancy stuff comes later :-)

            Calendaring and address books, etc are all on my list. (Granted a mail server that doesn't store addresses will have users, a mail server that doesn't send mail won't so obviously you see what we'll do first right :-) )

            I hope you're right about SMTP, but to be honest, I doubt its going away in the near future.

            I appreciate your feedback and keep it up. While I'm not entirely convinced that we should be a universal content storage solution I'm open to being convinced and maybe better integration with nukes in the future will achieve the same goal.

            Ultimately, I want Mail Services to be at least as easy to set up as Exchange, at least as featureful, but I expect to match the performance and stability of postfix and other UNIX mail servers.



            • 3. Re: Feedback about Mail Services
              Andrew Oliver Master

              Oh as Bill said, if you have specific requirements that would be SOOO awesome!

              • 4. Re: Feedback about Mail Services
                Sergey Zhukov Newbie


                "acoliver" wrote:

                I wanted a running mail server as close to day one as possible.

                I think it's general mistake, sorry.
                I shall repeat: I have enough choice for JUST email server, so not necessary to rush to make just another server.
                It should be coolest and greatest server. It should be very extensible server.
                Only this reason will force me to install and use this server.
                Before that I don't see the difference between JAMES and JBoss mail services.

                Sorry once more, I've seen your PDF and I explored jboss-mail on the weekend, you have a greatest ideas and I tries to add some to make this server the best, because I know what users want.

                About universal storage: I don't offer to implement it right now. But I think it's good idea, and most important that me (as user) and most of my users will like this.
                This is not exactly my idea. I like MS Exchange with their server side mailbox and public folders. I can store my most important data to this storage and no need to worry about backups, casual deletes, because SysAdmin of MS Exchange server will care about regular backups and can restore my important information even if I will delete it.
                I know this, because I'm sysadmin and I know what sysadmin should to do to make users happy. :-)

                So universal storage can provide us the way to store all user's information by any supported protocol (SMTP, POP, IMAP, others). I prefer to have all my information in one place and I think mailserver is the best choice for that.


                • 5. Re: Feedback about Mail Services
                  Andrew Oliver Master


                  "SergeyZh" wrote:

                  So universal storage can provide us the way to store all user's information by any supported protocol (SMTP, POP, IMAP, others). I prefer to have all my information in one place and I think mailserver is the best choice for that.

                  Right, but we're not having that tomorrow, or even the next day. Its important to have RUNNING software and grow it from there. Our approach is modular, so you're just talking one more protocol and maybe some refactoring of the storage (or possibly a seperate case) to have what you're speaking of once we have all of the other plumbing for basic SMTP/POP/IMAP support. There is a lot more plumbing required to get there.

                  You're asking for more cargo space before we're done making the frame and building the engine.

                  • 6. Re: Feedback about Mail Services
                    Andrew Oliver Master

                    So what I meant to say (after reading it sounded more like I was shooting you down than honing you in) was enthusiastically document the idea, I love to hear more about it. At the same time, lets not put the cart before the horse: "but finishing SMTP before we start universal storage is a mistake" -- Cart and horse is important. We're still on horse. Good that someone is thinking about Cart but best if everyone is working on horse.

                    • 7. Re: Feedback about Mail Services
                      mike andrews Newbie

                      universal storage is a great idea --- bringing folks into closer contact with their data instead of hiding it in legacy hierarchical non-secure non-transactional non-indexed non-relational file systems, and jboss is probably the place to do it. i think you've identified something pretty useful.

                      surely this would be tied into mail at some point in time (since mail is data), but that's probably in the long-term future at least as far as our immediate concerns go. 'universal storage' even sounds like it belongs in its own project, and seems more like a cross-cutting concern rather than something one would manually put into mail, or nukes, or ejbs, or servlets, etc etc... (this is a complement)

                      as far as our mundane lives as mail-server-implementers goes, i think folks may also be looking to just simplify their lives or i.t. infrastructures, and so why run sendmail + jboss when you can just be running jboss? plus we're going to get all the extensibility, interoperability, and other synergies from having everything run in j2ee/jmx/etc.

                      so while i agree that we have alot of great opportunities to do something novel after M1, M2, etc, we also have a big payoff to merely get a production-quality pure-and-simple mail server running in jboss, as a first stage. after that, everything else is pure gold as the saying goes --- and that's pretty exciting.

                      BTW, my bet is that sendmail is still around in 2050; i'm actually a bit fond of it too.


                      • 8. Re: Feedback about Mail Services
                        Sergey Zhukov Newbie


                        "acoliver" wrote:
                        "but finishing SMTP before we start universal storage is a mistake".

                        It's not my words. I mean - it's no necessary to make M1 of mailserver without any new features.
                        But you're programmers, so you may know the project's life cycle better.

                        I didn't say drop the SMTP or drop whole project. I was really impressed that much of my things are listed already in your draft PDF.
                        I just wanna to add you some idea (I have given it already :-) ).

                        Note: I started to create the universal storage on the last weekend and plan to continue on the next and I plan to make it compatible with your Mailboxes (or write some parser), so just keep it in mind.


                        • 9. Re: Feedback about Mail Services
                          Andrew Oliver Master

                          We'll also want to make it compatible with Exchange folders ultimately which probably means SMB (aka CIFS) of some sort.