Looking for a Webmail offering that's competitive with Microsoft's Outlook Web App (OWA), but available on Linux? One of the best Outlook alternatives for Linux is Zarafa, a collaboration platform with support options for businesses that need a robust replacement for Exchange.
Zarafa seamlessly integrates with your already working Linux email server, offers all of the advantages of the Exchange OWA platform (and more), and does so at nearly half the cost. And, although there is a cost involved with the software, Zarafa is open source (GPLv3). And in this article I am going to show you how to install Zarafa on the Fedora platform (release 13 in this instance) and integrate it with a working Postfix installation.
If you're looking for a guide to getting Postfix up and running, see "Install and Configure a Postfix Mail Server." Make sure you have Postfix running and delivering mail before you start the process of installing Zarafa.
What exactly does Zarafa offer that might entice you to give it a try? Take a look at these features:
- Open up a terminal window.
Issue the command
suand then enter the root user password.
Issue the command
yum install zarafa zarafa-webaccess.
- Accept any dependencies necessary.
Depending upon the speed of your machine and your network connection, this installation could take some time. But, believe it or not, the above commands will install the complete system.
Starting the Servers
There are a few sub-systems to start in order to gain access to the Zarafa Web interface: apache, mysql, zarafa-server, zarafa-gateway, and zarafa-spooler. To start these systems, issue the following commands:
service httpd start
service mysqld start
service zarafa-server start
service zarafa-gateway start
service zarafa-spooler start
Creating Stores and Test User
The next step in the process is to create a public store where email will be held. The command to do this is:
With your newly created stores you now need to migrate users into Zarafa. The easiest way to do that is to use this handy script, written by Matteo Predieri. Copy the contents of that pastebin entry into the file
~/Downloads/zarafa_import and then give it executable permissions with the command
chmod u+x ~/Downloads/zarafa_import. With this script you need to create the file
/tmp/userlists.txt that contains all of the users you want to migrate into Zarafa. Each user will be on a single line like so:
username password email@address firstname lastname
Add each user you want and then save the file. Now issue the command (as the root user)
~/Downloads/zarafa_import and all of your users will be imported into Zarafa. You can now log into Zarafa by pointing your browser to
http://ADDRESS_OF_SERVER/webaccess. Log in with one of your users and you will see a very familiar Web-based interface (see Figure 1).
The actual administration of Zarafa users and stores is handled through the zarafa-admin command. This command not only allows you to add/edit users, it also allows you to create multiple companies on your Zarafa server.
Free vs. Paid
There are, basically, two different versions of Zarafa. There is the paid version you can obtain from the Zarafa Website and there is the community edition (which is what we installed in this article). In order to actually get the "official" support for Zarafa, you have to purchase licenses, which are not cheap. You can get a full list of prices from the Zarafa Prices page. For smaller organizations, who are not so worried about support, the community edition will work just fine.
This article only touched on the power of Zarafa. What we didn't discuss is LDAP and Active Directory integration as well as multi-company setups. But this article will give you a solid base for moving forward with your installation. Once you have Zarafa installed, you can then start to build upon the foundation to create an amazingly powerful Web-based collaboration tool.