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We are looking for a relatively simple mail server. We have two requirements:

  1. Incoming mail can be piped to an arbitrary executable (binary or script)
  2. Users with valid passwords can easily use the server as an outbound relay.
  3. (Preferable) Easy configuration.

We use Postfix on most of our servers, but it seems to be more difficult to configure than necessary. (This is not a question about Postfix, but usually the main issue we have is being able to use #1 or #2, but not both.)

Any suggestions for which mail server fits these requirements?
Our focus is web development, not email hosting, so we don't want to spend too much time on email administration.

We are running Ubuntu 12.04 Server, so something that installs from apt would be nice.

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Email hosting, when done correctly, is not a "set it and forget it" venture. You've admitted that it's not a core competency, so do yourselves (and your users) a favor and let an experienced third-party host your email. – EEAA Apr 27 '12 at 3:24
Additionally, if you think postfix is difficult to configure, then you're going to be very pressed to find something that is any easier. Honestly, pay someone to host email for you. – EEAA Apr 27 '12 at 3:26
In my opinion, with experience from qmail to Microsoft Exchange, with everything in between, postfix is by far the easiest to use. – user3914 Apr 27 '12 at 3:35
@RandolphWest . . . and qmail is only slightly harder to use than chiseling out the email in binary on a stone tablet and sending it to the recipient by oxcart to be re-transcribed into digital form by a highly trained marsupial of some sort. – voretaq7 Apr 27 '12 at 3:42
@Randolph, when you say you did it for three years do you mean the chiseling, oxcart and marsupial? :) – John Gardeniers Apr 27 '12 at 5:15
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You should give iRedMail ( a try, it matches all your requirements:

And, it's free and open source. :)

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Your requirements seem unique enough to where you may just be better off writing your own front end for the various features of postfix that you already know how to use. I think you'll end up customizing whatever you choose anyway, so you might as well make it exactly how you want it.

It's not terribly hard once you get the hang of secure filesystems and service manipulation through a (PHP|Ruby|Perl|Python) frontend.

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Interesting idea. We tried using Webmin to manage Postfix, but I did not like how that worked out. I am spoiled by cPanel, Google Apps and Exchange making things so easy. – yakatz Apr 29 '12 at 1:20

I have Postfix pipe incoming messages to SpamAssassin using Amavis on my personal site. (Also had the ClamAV atnivirus, but it was taking too much RAM.) It must be possible to configure Amavis to pipe mail to other programs. And yes, I use the same server for outgoing mail, with password authentication over TLS. This seems to cover both your #1 and #2.

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