A few months back, the RAOTL forum moved to a new server, which is a dedicated Mac Mini, running Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). We got the server from those nice folks at Mythic Beasts, who so far have been spot on in their support – I managed to completely mess up an IP address change, desparately emailed them for support at around 11.30 on a Saturday night, and got a reply within half an hour, and a fix within an hour. Couldn’t recommend them highly enough to be honest.
Anyway, in my continued quest to become a proper full on geek/nerd type, I decided that this new dedicated server needed a mail system. Knowing that this was going to be a right royal pain in the backside, I thought I’d ask one of my technical aquaintances how hard it was. “Waay too hard, and difficult to secure” was the response.
So, with that in the back of my mind, I decided to do it anyway. I figured I’d learn a few things along the way. What I didn’t quite know is that it would be so so so fucking hard to do. However, a knight in shining armour was waiting in the wings to bail me out, but more on that later.
When I first tried to install this, I just Googled “building mail server, mac os x tiger”, and came across Richard Valk’s excellent ISP in a box series. I followed the tutorial, but only managed to get so far, as my /usr/local/var/spool/ folder did not feature an authdaemon/socket.
I was all over the place at this point, using a combination of MacPorts, which I didn’t fully understand, and self compiled bits and bobs. As I didn’t really know how to fix said problem, I gave up and looked at another avenue, Cutedge Systems’ Mailserve for Tiger
This would be my one click solution, or so I hoped. Again I had problems, as I couldn’t get the server to authenticate using SASL, and even using in built Mac OS X user account option, it still came up short.
A few emails between the software creators didn’t really solve anything either (though I must stress this wasn’t their fault, as most of my problems were to do with remnants of the MacPorts/self compiled installs.
So having hit two brick walls, I let it lie for a bit, occasionally checking the web to see if Richard had updated his guide. A few weeks ago, I came across a site which appeared to be ripping off Richard’s tutorials – diymacserver.com.
Actually reading the site revealed that it was in fact Richard Valk himself writing the new site, and updating the articles. So, armed with this updated tutorial, I started again. And actually got past me previous Authdaemon issue, only to run into a few more.
This time however, I emailed Richard, who very kindly hand held me through the rest of the setup process, and I now have a fully functioning, SSL authenticating email webserver running on the server. It’s taken me a total of two weeks on and off to get it working, but working it is. So thanks Richard – I greatly appreciate all your help.
In addition to that, he also talks you through setting up the entire server from scratch, Apache, MySQL, PHP the lot, so anyone who’s looking to run a Mac Mini (or any mac for that matter) as a webserver, should be looking at what is the most complete tutorial on how to do it over on diymacserver.com.
So it’s official – I’ve turned into a geek. I’ve crossed a line, and there’s no going back. Not only have I know built and configured a mail server, I’m also now at the stage where I am editing text files, via “emacs”, in Terminal. It’s all downhill from here…