Meet my new email client.
Yes, it's Google Mail. Or to be more specific, Gmail part of Google Apps, and it is now hosting my (and Vivian's) emails on this domain (yang.id.au).
I have been running my own email server for the last 10 years, hosting my own domains. It has been sendmail at the beginning, then qmail, and then postfix for the better part of last 10 years. I have tried various IMAP solutions. The ultra-insecure wu-ftpd first, then Courier-IMAP, and for the last 2 years Dovecot. The server has been running on various Linux distributions -- RedHat, Mandrake and Gentoo. And in the recent years I also have to deal with email spams/virus. I have tried various combinations of Spam Assassin, ClamAV, Gld for greylisting and dspam.
Yes. Running a mail server -- even for just two people -- is a lot of work. Moreover I have not yet mention about hardware related issues that have been plaguing my home server for the last couple of weeks. What a pain!
So I am at the cross-road of choices again. Should I bow down to the Google god and submit all my private emails into the cloud in return of piece of mind that they will be in safe hands? Or should I continue to keep my ageing server running, and train that stupid bayesian filter that still can't seem to figure out the difference between spam and ham...
Not the first time I had this internal battle. I always picked the former in the past years. However this time, under the "encouraging" words of josephb (yeah, I am just finding someone to blame in case it did not work out :), I picked the cloud. I think I made the right choice (so far).
Signing up and modifying the DNS records are easy. It's also quite straight forward to set up IMAP4 so Vivian can still use Thunderbird to access her emails. Now I have fully integrated email solution that can be accessed from anywhere...
- Web-based access via Google Mail
- IMAP4-based access via Thunderbird
- Mobile-based access via Gmail J2ME app
So far so good. No more software upgrade, or ringing home from work "hey Vivian can you reboot the server?" Although I am no longer able to
grep -r foobar ~/.maildir/ to scan through my mails, I can now search my emails like how I search on Google.
Copying all my existing emails (from the last 12 years) to Google did require a little bit more work. I will write about it in my next post.