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Any plans for Linux version?!
Idea shared by ronney gomes - 7/31/2019 at 4:38 PM
In Progress
I've been working with SmarterMail for a few years and I've always loved it.
It would be nice to see a linux version of this product.
Other products like Axigen, support both windows and linux.

40 Replies

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Andrea Free Replied
Employee Post
Hi all, 

Now that the .NET 8 update has been completed in Build 8747 (Dec 13, 2023), we are now preparing for the release of Linux! We’ve teased it, we’ve talked about it, and now we can, with 100% certainty, tell you that SmarterMail WILL be coming to Linux in the first quarter of 2024.

This is one of the primary reasons we moved to .NET 8: it will allow us to port SmarterMail to various flavors of Linux, the most widely used and supported operating system on the planet.

That means the Linux community will have access to the only other email and collaboration server on the market that offers NATIVE support for MAPI. Sure, there are several mail servers available for Linux, and there are ones that claim to offer “Exchange-like” functionality. However, most of them use Outlook plugins and/or various open-source solutions that end up feeling thrown together and are often limited and buggy.

SmarterTools has worked hard to make all of what has made SmarterMail one of the most popular mail servers on Windows also available on Linux. We look forward to sharing more in the first quarter of 2024!

We will use this thread to share updates regarding the upcoming Linux version, as well as to announce when the BETA is available. Those who are interested in participating in the Linux BETA should use the Subscribe button above. 

(Make sure your portal Email Settings are enabled to receive email summaries of subscribed Community posts!)

Thank you for all of your interest and support! Here's to a great 2024. :) 
Andrea Free SmarterTools Inc. 877-357-6278 www.smartertools.com
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Following. Looking forward to helping with your beta test. Hoping for Debian or Ubuntu with APT Repository deployment, or docker container distribution. Thanks!
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Hi

We are very interested in participating in the Beta version of Linux

THANKS
Philippe NOEL
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Debian certainly gets an upvote here as a supported OS.
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I personally would prefer an enterprise Linux like RockyLinux, but Debian works too. Just not something like Ubuntu that adds far too much on top of Debian to be really stable as a server. Alpine Linux would also be a good option for an extremely thin and light implementation where only the required bits of the underlying OS exist to serve up the .NET application as a web site and run the mail protocols. 

I imagine at some point you need a reverse proxy web server to replace the role of IIS on the Windows version. For that I would vote for Caddy web server. It's Caddyfile configuration would only need to be 3 or 4 lines long, and explicit TLS with automatic certificate management and automatic forwarding from the http to the https site comes along for the ride. Try the same with something like Nginx, and the config is much more complex, probably 12 lines minimum, and you have to maintain the certificates yourself and/or use an ACME client like CertBot to maintain them. That is significant extra setup and moving parts to break compared to Caddy that just handles it all internally. 
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I'd like to participate the BETA in Linux :)
It's any plans to use a clustered version of SM? Some others use like Zimbra, Axigen.
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John, we’ve had Ubuntu servers running as far back as v10. Never had so much as a hiccup out of our Ubuntu boxes. 
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+1 for caddy as a TLS terminator / reverse proxy in front of the internal web server. We use it for a lot of things and it really rocks :) The automagic certificates managements is gold.
Sébastien Riccio System & Network Admin https://swisscenter.com
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@echoDreamz Your personal experience does not negate the fact that Ubuntu server is not an enterprise Linux, meaning that the packages don't get the same level of testing, and are not supported for as long. In addition you are at the whim of Canonical doing things like leaning heavy into Snap packages and in the process removing many packages from their standard repo forcing you to use snap. Also, Canonical has recently come up with the ridiculous idea of Ubuntu Pro, which gets you closer to an enterprise Linux, as least according to their marketing, but they charge you every month for it like a subscription. Just too many red flags for me in the direction they are going. Fine for a desktop, but I don't want it on my servers.
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Matt Petty Replied
Employee Post
Just more personal experience but I've used Ubuntu in all my tests and side projects and I've had no issues with it. We'll cook up a list of supported distro's, Ubuntu will be on that list. CentOS just got it's discontinued status over the weekend and they are pushing everyone to RHEL. I just wanted to include my own personal experience as well here, our official list is gonna still be discussed.

Sebastien I like your suggestion, same as distro's we don't yet know exactly what we'll support natively (or integrated with) but Caddy, Nginx, and Apache are all on my list of things to research. 
Matt Petty Software Developer SmarterTools Inc. (877) 357-6278 www.smartertools.com
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an enterprise Linux 

like RockyLinux, alma linux, Redhat, 
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We use CloudLinux, but that is more for web hosting. Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux are both suitable replacements for CentOS. They were designed to be. 

Realistically, if you support Debian, it is going to work on Ubuntu. If you support RedHat Enterprise, it is going to work on Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux. I have a slight bias towards AlmaLinux, because all my web servers are CloudLinux, and they support AlmaLinux. Also, Benny Vasquez, who was the community manager at cPanel/WHM is now the Chair of the AlmaLinux OS Foundation.
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@John,

Not just my "personal" experience, we have hundreds of Ubuntu servers running of all different versions and configurations, some corporate servers for various tasks, other production servers, customer VMs, web servers, our Percona XtraDB Cluster runs it, our TeamSpeak servers that run anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand TeamSpeak virtual instances per host. Numerous gaming servers, we operate and maintain a few very large SQL Server instances on it, my experience is more than just a few little boxes here and far outside of just "personal" experience in the 10+ years of using Ubuntu.

It has been an extremely stable and positive experience not just for me, but our support staff, admins, and 1000s of our customers across many different products and services. Even our grey beard "IT's NoT ReD hAt!!!!" Linux admins have come around on it.
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So we all agree Debian, Ubuntu & RedHat derivatives should be supported :-)

I guess it will be interesting to see if DEB/RPMs are released or if it will be 'Containerized' using Docker.
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I hope it will not be containerized with Docker. I am throwing very significant hardware at my server at it still regularly bogs down with the prior release. Everyone who is familiar with my server, including Mail's Best Friend, Cloud Mail Store, and even Smarter Tools, has said it should be more than enough for the number of domains and mailboxes I have. I want to at least have the option to install directly to bare metal, even if I choose to virtualize it under KVM. I just purchased 3 new servers, all with dual 28 core Xeon CPUs, 128GB RAM, and 56TB of storage (after the RAIDZ2 parity) just for this, and I would not be happy if the only option is Docker containerization.
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I am looking to move away from MS based servers although i don't see users moving from windows 10/11 just yet or using Outlook. I hope there maybe a separate thread where it can be discussed on the best way to move from a active directory based windows domain to a linux server with similar setup so that those using Microsoft can do a full transfer.
Anyone else looking to do this.?
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We began migrating everything from SmarterMail A to SmarterMail B (approximately 300 customer domains) last December. We're conducting the migration somewhat unconventionally. We're creating new domains and users on the new server and migrating each user individually. There are several reasons for this. One reason is certainly that we've been operating the server for 20 years, and each domain has a slightly different storage form for the configuration files.

We have now seen that a version is soon to be released that runs on a Linux server, which we naturally welcome. 

We are now somewhat in doubt whether we should stop the migration. Will a simple migration to Linux be offered, or should we expect another major migration effort?
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Are there plans for SmarterTrack to move to .NET 8 and Linux as well?
Ora G. Walters(she/her)
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Hi any update about the release for the linux support version? 
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Derek Curtis Replied
Employee Post
We are working diligently on the Linux port and are on track for the Beta of SmarterMail Linux in Q1. We don't have a firm date for release just yet, but when we do we'll be sure to update this thread. 
Derek Curtis COO SmarterTools Inc. (877) 357-6278 www.smartertools.com
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HI 
we are waiting for the Linux beta in April ;-))
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Questions

I need

Exchange ActiveSync - 3000 Mailboxes : is it possible ?
MAPI / EWS - 1000 Mailboxes : is it possible ??


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Received the email about the beta and got excited, however after reading the announcement it seems that Smartertools have overlooked a massive opportunity in the market.

If you're going to compete in the Linux market then there has to be drop in replacement for exim and native support for cPanel and DirectAdmin.
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It would not necessarily make economic sense as Exim is $0 whilst Smartermail is $$$ so would there be demand for it. Also, running mail separate to web makes much more sense as if there a problems at least just the website or email is impacted for a domain rather than both.

I would rather it worked properly under Linux than worry about DirectAdmin / cPanel integration. If you want integration I would rather manage it via a centralised 'Client Portal' (HostBill, WHMCS et al) and get the seamless integration from an end-user perspective that way.

Just my 2 cents, I could be wrong :-)
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Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
SmarterMail on Linux will soon be working with all the control panel companies, just like we do on Windows!
Tim Uzzanti CEO SmarterTools Inc. (877) 357-6278 www.smartertools.com
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Excellent news Tim, if that is the case and it works well then we'll definitely order more licenses from you.
Keep us posted
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Tim,
That's great news. When considering a control panel such as WHM/cPanel, do you envision a plugin that does not require WHMCS to function?
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Hi

Some news about the Linux Beta ??

Philippe
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Hi SmarterMail Friends,

I’m eager to join the SmarterMail beta for Linux. Following the discussions closely and excited to contribute to this development!

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Hi SmarterMail Friends,
My team also is expecting to start testing SmarterMail on Linux.
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Derek Curtis Replied
Employee Post
Things are moving forward! Yesterday I installed it a few times on an Ubuntu VM. Installation is very simple, and very fast, and the interface hums on Linux! We're getting close and still are targeting a BETA release this month. 
Derek Curtis COO SmarterTools Inc. (877) 357-6278 www.smartertools.com
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This changes everything.
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Q: If you're running a Windows Server with SmarterMail, why would one want to change to Linux?
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@Ron Raley:  I am happy to decommission my Windows machine and make its license available for something else, as well as reclaim the resources a Windows machine uses in my virtual cluster.
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When this finally gets ready for production use, I can eliminate my last Windows server. The only other thing I currently still have running on Windows is MailStore Server, and I am investigating Piler so I can get rid of that one. I am guessing SmarterMail on Linux will not be ready for prime time until after I have that done. Maintaining Windows has been such a thorn in my side, and the stability is just not there either. One of the primary steps to updating Windows always involves prayer.
John C. Reid / Technology Director John@prime42.net / (530) 691-0042 1300 West Street, Suite 206, Redding, CA 96001
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Zach Sylvester Replied
Employee Post
@Ron Raley, switching from Windows to Linux might be beneficial for several reasons, including cost, security, and operational efficiency. Here’s why:

  1. Cost-Effectiveness: Linux generally requires less powerful hardware and can be run without a graphical interface, which significantly reduces overhead. Additionally, Linux distributions are often free or have lower licensing fees compared to Windows. This cost advantage extends to many hosting providers, where Linux instances are cheaper than Windows.
  2. Security: Linux offers robust security features like user and group permissions, where files and directories are accessible only to authorized users. By default, files are not executable, enhancing protection against unauthorized code execution. Users must explicitly grant execution rights, and even then, the scope of what executables can do is limited by user permissions.
  3. Operational Simplicity and Uptime: Linux systems are renowned for requiring fewer reboots, contributing to longer uptime. This is particularly good for server environments because most updates and upgrades can be applied without restarting the system.
  4. Ease of Administration: Linux can be fully operated via the terminal, which I find simpler than navigating through graphical user interfaces. For instance, managing services like SmarterMail on Linux can be more straightforward. To stop the SmarterMail service, you simply type:
sudo service smartermail stop
Updates are similarly easy, usually requiring just a single command.


Windows still has its place and many people will continue to run SmarterMail on their Windows machines but for larger organizations, I think that Linux may be the future for SmarterMail in that regard. 

I hope my opinion helps. It's not a bad thing to use Windows, as it's easier for most people due to the learning curve associated with Linux. However, once you learn how to use Linux, I believe it's far easier to administer. 

Thank You! 
Zach Sylvester System/Network Administrator SmarterTools Inc. (877) 357-6278 www.smartertools.com
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I am going to nit-pick Zach's response, but in good faith.

  1. Cost effectiveness: No argument here.
  2. Security: Windows permissions can get pretty granular, more so than UGO and more akin to Solaris ACLs with a greater range of permissions, and include important features such as Encrypting File System use for service accounts (which are actually users.)  In my Post.Office setup, I have EFS enabled for the mailbox store running under the Post.Office user account, giving data-at-rest protection for the store, and I could do the same for the spools.  (Come to think of it, I might have, already.)  I have planned to try out this scenario with SmarterMail.
  3. Uptime: Yeah, having to restart Windows every 30 days for patches is not fun, especially when you run a bunch of Windows servers.  Several Linux distros offer in-place patching/upgrading of the running kernel.  Sweet!
  4. Administration: learn2cmd :)
sc stop MailService
I do, however, find Windows easier to administer in a large environment in which I can leverage Active Directory, RSAT, and clustering.
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Zach Sylvester Replied
Employee Post
@AWRData To each their own as they say. I find Windows commands to be inconsistent and less powerful than Linux commands. On the Linux version, you will be able to upgrade the SmarterMail version with a single command. Linux allows for full disk encryption and has many types of encryption and encryption features that can be applied to its file system. Linux has many alternatives to services available on Windows, for instance, MAAS lets you install and provision hundreds of Linux machines at once. It also allows you to easily administrate your environment. But if you have a setup that is working for you no need to change it as we are going to continue to support Windows for the foreseeable future. It's awesome that you're doing so much with your environment to make it fit your needs! 😊

Thanks,
Zach Sylvester System/Network Administrator SmarterTools Inc. (877) 357-6278 www.smartertools.com
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@Zach: That is fair enough, and my intent was to demonstrate that those familiar and comfortable with the Windows ecosystem may not find SmarterMail on Linux as a benefit.  I am comfortable in Windows, Unix, and Linux environments, so moving between them can be trivial.

A word on Linux volume encryption.  That is all well and good, but unless it offers limited access to privileged accounts, I would not recommend SmarterTools lean too much upon it as a solution.  The same goes for Bitlocker on Windows.  The Windows EFS allows user-level encryption, meaning that anyone who is not the user, and who does not have the user's EFS certificate installed, cannot access the user-encrypted files.

In my Post.Office example, no other user on the system which could be compromised will have access to the Post.Office user-encrypted files.  Thus, if the machine was to be attacked, access to email storage is prevented (baring a highly sophisticated compromise, which gets deep into the weeds.)  As well, if the account's password is changed, the EFS certificate becomes invalidated.

Linux does appear to offer something similar, but I have not yet tried it out.  I encourage SmarterTools to explore methods of encrypting the email store, and include management processes into SmarterMail.  This will dramatically increase confidence in the software, both as a product and as a service.
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To also add to Zach's responses... We are a shop that runs a large number of both operating systems. Love them both in different ways.

1. Generally speaking, yes, but we have customers with RedHat who pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year for support
2. IMO, Windows permissions are far more granular than Linux is, allowing for more control, so I don't think it's a completely valid argument against Windows.
3. While the uptime is true, Windows can certainly also run for a very long time as well, while some Linux distros have hotpatching or require licensing for it, many do not, requiring the same reboots that Windows does as well. Microsoft's next server release (2025) is supposed to have hotpatching. This argument may soon become less of a thing as well.
4. As pointed out Windows has had this ability since the start of Windows NT (and before, for net)

sc stop SERVICE
sc \\COMPUTER_NAME stop SERVICE
or
net stop SERVICE
net stop "Friendly Name"

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