Sunday, August 10, 2008

At Last - A Real Contender

While looking at Clark Connect info, I saw mention of SME server.

A quick pop over there and a perusal of the forums left me impressed.

Like Clark Connect, with a long history and busy forums.
Unlike Clark Connect, this seems to be a community project first and foremost.
For example, elections and discussions were right out front in the forums.

They keep up to date useage stats, showing a pretty reasonable number of units in service.

The feature list is quite complete including an LDAP server and mention of plug ins like Jinzora, Dan's Guardian and Asterisk.

It is based on CentOS 4, and specifically mentions they try upstream packages unpatched to allow them to quickly flow through.

OK, I think it's time to pay attention to Rule 4. Before I started, I was pretty sure I was going to end up using Ubuntu Server 8.04, and just had to decide if I wanted to try (tomorrow's entry) Ebox on top or not. SME Server is making me reconsider. It looks like it should do everything I want it to - except teach me more about Ubuntu.

So here's a thought - old PCs I have in abundance. Why not install 'em both and see how we make out? All it costs is my time :-)


  1. SME Server is a fantastic project, I have used it for years in a variety of test and production environments. It does have a few oddities (for one, the built-in backup is sub-optimal), but overall it is great and the wiki is very good for finding answers. It is probably the fastest "bare-metal to running mail server" system I have seen. The painless host header setup for websites is amazing, too.

  2. Thanks for the feedback Jack! I'll have to try it for sure.

    Out of curiosity - do people combine firewall and server very often in production environments? I was under the impression that's always a no-no, but a lot of these all in one projects seem to ignore that advise.

  3. Jack - just started perusing
    your blog
    "(We work in IT and security, we have jobs because things go wrong)."

    I should post that on my office wall I think.

  4. Yes, unfortunately some people do combine firewall and server into a single device- but then again, some people even use MS Small Business Server.
    I have always used SME behind a firewall and recommend that setup. Depending on what you have running on it, you might get away with running SME facing the Internet, but if you are using it as a file store/mailserver/Samba server I would be very uncomfortable leaving it exposed. But then, I am a professional paranoid.