These are the comments I got when I wrote Wanted: Virtual Personal Email Servers:

(me:) Today this article was announced on LinuxToday and this is the first comment it got:

I didn’t feel like creating an account on his site just to make this comment (where’s OpenID please?) but in case he reads the comments here - the obvious solution is Citadel, which is a nice compact installation that does pretty much everything he’s looking for in a single package.

Here is my answer:

Art, thanks for your feedback. I agree that creating an account is bothering. It is definitely my intention to set up as soon as possible OpenID and/or some captcha system so that even unregistered users can contribute feedback directly on the website. I only have to find the time :-(

With respect to Citadel: personally, I don’t need it. I already built and use my own, fully customized VPES almost two years ago, it’s doing great and I am very happy with it. The point of this article is that:

  1. the majority of email users will simply refuse to switch to anything that isn’t complete and manageable from the first minute from one web control panel. They won’t install and configure stuff from the command line as I already did

  2. As good as it is, Citadel is NOT “pretty much everything” I am suggesting. Far from it. For example, the Citadel page about spam says: “Citadel has the ability to easily and seamlessly integrate with SpamAssassin. Here’s how to make it work for you. First, of course, you must install SpamAssassin. The steps for installing SpamAssassin are beyond the scope of this document. Go to the SpamAssassin web site…” In other words, to build what I call a complete VPES you have to do quite some work today, even if you start from Citadel. Not a problem for me, again, but not what I am suggesting.

  3. therefore, the point of my article was to suggest to developers and hosting providers (since I am no developer, have no interest or skills to be an hosting provider AND I already have my VPES anyway) to do the extra step to integrate all these things in ONE bundle to get more users and paying customers.

Ciao, Marco

C. D. Rigby wrote: Dynamic DNS

Excellent article, and for me, quite timely. I am in the process of setting up Postfix for myself on my home “server” (an old laptop running ArchLinux). So, the article provides good pointers for my roll-ones-own solution.

More advanced users may wish to run their own VPES at home. Many people have a dynamic IP address from their ISP. This configuration is almost always cheaper than an account with a fixed, routable IP address. So, I would add to your list, conditional on a self-managed, at-home VPES, the need for a Dynamic DNS service. Web searching for “dynamic DNS” will turn up lots of options.

Me: About timeliness and VPESs at home

about the “timely” part: as I wrote at the end, a VPES is to email what diaspora is to social networking with Facebook: an ideal/necessary complement.

I have not gone too much into the “VPES at home” part for several reasons. Speaking only of price, in many countries ISPs don’t allow running any server off cheap residential access contracts (even when they tolerate it but only until they have a bad day): in those cases (which is mine too) a VPES in a data center is actually cheaper than running a VPES at home. Even if it is more expensive than it should for the reasons explained in my piece, that is lack of properly sized hosting packages.