This chapter describes the function and configuration of the EtherShare Mail Server. In conjunction with the HELIOS Mail application, the Mail Server allows workstations in the AppleTalk network to send electronic mail messages and files to other Macintosh or UNIX users on the network. Incoming mail is received in the background while you will be informed by a "Mail Notification Feature". You also receive EtherShare server messages, such as printer messages, via electronic mail.
HELIOS Mail requires to install and configure your host's mail program (e.g. "sendmail"). If you have a modem attached to your host and configured for UNIX mail (uucp), you can also communicate with several million users of this worldwide e-mail system.
EtherShare's built-in (TCP) POP3 Server allows you to use mail clients other than Macintosh and mail applications other than HELIOS Mail.
14.2 The Mail Server Program
The Mail Server system consists of the program "mailsrv". It is created automatically in the "$ESDIR" directory during installation. EtherShare is configured to start "mailsrv" automatically when UNIX is booted.
"mailsrv" implements mail server functions on the host and manages the communication with HELIOS Mail and the UNIX "mail" programs on the host. It also notifies Macintosh users of incoming mail via the "Mail Notification Feature", which runs in the background on each workstation. Each new login request from the HELIOS Mail program on a Macintosh workstation starts a new host process.
14.3 Parameters of the "mailsrv" program
When it starts, the Mail Server program "mailsrv" first accesses the main configuration file "atalk.conf" to determine its configuration. The "install" program automatically sets up this file with initial values. The values can be changed if necessary by using an editor such as vi. See also chapter 5.14 "Editing "atalk.conf" (and other configuration files) manually"
The parameters described below can be defined for "mailsrv" in "atalk.conf" (note that the parameter list is preceded by the program name "mailsrv"):
is the AppleTalk (NVE) name of the Mail Server. This is the name with which it is known to the network. It is the name you see in the Chooser
of the HELIOS Mail program. Several names in a row, separated by a comma, are optional.
The default for netname
is the name of the UNIX host.
is the AppleTalk type of the Mail Server. This is the type with which it is known to the network. nettype
should normally be set to "MailServer".
The default for nettype
is the name of the AppleTalk zone to which the Mail Server should be allocated. This parameter determines the zone in which the mail server can be seen in the Chooser of the HELIOS Mail program. The chosen zone must be one of the local zones that the host is connected to. You can test this with the "zones -l" program (see zone
in chapter 13.3 "Parameters of the "admsrv" program"
The default for zonename
is "*", i.e. the zone of the first interface entry in "atalk.conf". Several names in a row, separated by a comma, are optional, e.g.:
admsrv: zone="marketing", zone="support",
specifies the maximum number of data packets that are passed from "mailsrv" to workstations through the network during a transaction. The number of packets may need to be limited if the buffer size in the workstations is too small. maxlpackets
can be varied to optimize the data transfer rate.
The default (and maximum) for maxlpackets
specifies the maximum number of data packets that are passed from workstations to "mailsrv" through the network during a transaction. The number of packets may need to be limited if the buffer size in the UNIX host is too small. maxrpackets
can be varied to optimize the data transfer rate.
The default (and maximum) for maxrpackets
is the directory to which all incoming mail is spooled. Outgoing mail is not spooled, since it is passed directly to the UNIX mail system.
The default for spooldirectory
is "/var/spool/mail", or "/var/mail" (depending on your UNIX operating system).
gives the interval in seconds with which the mail directory is polled for new mail. Usually, you use the "biff" program for mail notification instead, since you get immediate notification this way, and because "biff" needs less system overhead.
The Mail Server only polls for mail at the time interval specified by seconds
if "biff" has been disabled or is not available for some reason.
The default for seconds
is 60 (one minute).
This switch specifies whether or not to use the UNIX "biff" program for mail notification. "biff" is the preferred method, since it needs less system overhead than polling for mail. However, on some systems "biff" is already used by other programs such as "comsat", and may not be available for use by the Mail Server. In this case, the Mail Server automatically falls back to polling for mail.
If you want to release "biff" from "comsat" for use with the Mail Server, bracket out the corresponding line in the UNIX configuration file "/etc/inetd.conf" by inserting a "#" at the start of the line.
Then re-initialize "inetd" with the command "kill -1 xxx", where "xxx" is the process id of the "inetd" process. Finally, stop and restart the AppleTalk network with "stop-atalk" followed by "start-atalk".
History: "biff" was the name of a dog belonging to a Berkeley programmer who wrote part of the UNIX mail system. Biff used to bark each time the postman delivered a (conventional paper) letter to the door.
The default for this switch is biff
(for all UNIX architectures) provided that it is not already in use by other programs.
When you installed EtherShare, a new address book was automatically created as the empty UNIX text file
"addressbook" in "$ESDIR/conf". You can add new addresses to the list with the New Address...
function of HELIOS Mail. When you use the address book, normally you will also see all users of your UNIX host, including root, in addition to users you have included manually with the New Address...
function. Specify nopasswd
to turn off this feature, in which case the address book will only show users who have been included manually.
The default for this switch is passwd
is a string containing the official name (UNIX mail name) of your host. This is the name which users of other systems need to include in their mail address when they want to reach you. It is made up of a name (e.g. the host name "osiris") and the domain in which the host resides (e.g. "helios.de").
The default for name
is made by concatenating the name of your host and its domain name (e.g. "osiris.helios.de").
is the name and path of a file containing a list of e-mail addresses. The list can be accessed by and maintained from HELIOS Mail. You can use it to save time when you often mail to the same people.
The default for filename
is the name and path of the UNIX program used to send mail. You should normally use the "sendmail" program for this purpose. In some cases, you may need to use "/bin/mail" instead. However, you may encounter problems with the mail program, such as lack of 8-bit transparency. You need 8-bit transparency if you want to send mail containing national accented characters such as "Umlauts". A character conversion table in the Mail Server allows you to send mail containing Umlauts to UNIX users, too (see chapter 6.3.2 "Text preferences"
The default for mailerpgm
If you check Save name
in the HELIOS Mail login window, HELIOS Mail makes a note of your name, and the zone and name of the Mail Server you want to use (see chapter 6.4 "Configuring the connection"
). Next time you start HELIOS Mail, you only need to enter your password. Furthermore, if you log on first to the EtherShare File Server on the same host, you will not have to enter your name and password for either the Mail Server or the "Mail Notification Feature" anymore. This is convenient, but presents a security risk if you leave your Macintosh unattended with volumes mounted - even if you have quit HELIOS Mail, others can start it again and have access to your mailbox without needing to type in any password. Specify the noautologin
parameter to force HELIOS Mail to ask for a password each time it is started. This is similar to unchecking the Save name
box in the HELIOS Mail login window, but applies to all HELIOS Mail users on that host. To make use of the noautologin
feature, do not forget to always uncheck Save password
in the same window. The default for this switch is autologin
port=2001 (or other value)
You have to configure the pcmail port. The default port number is 2001.
The UNIX vacation program is required if you want to make use of HELIOS Mail's vacation message option. For details about the vacation program and the ".vacation.msg" file, see the respective UNIX man pages.
EtherShare 2.6 includes a POP3 Server so that it is possible to use a mail client other than HELIOS Mail with the Mail Server on the UNIX host.
In order to use this feature, you have to activate the "TCP/IP" Control Panel on the Macintosh client. In the "TCP/IP" setup window, you have to specify how the Macintosh allocates its IP address, e.g. by "Using DHCP Server". This, however, is determined by your system administrator. The mail client has to be configured as well. You have to enter the name of the server on which EtherShare is running as POP3 Server. Note that some programs call the POP3 Server "Email account", "POP account", or "Mail Server".
For internal communication, EtherShare uses certain TCP sockets which have to be available, otherwise certain EtherShare services will not be available and an appropriate error message will be issued.
For the EtherShare Mail Server which is providing POP3, POPPASSD, and PCMAIL services, the "mailsrv" process has to be able to connect to specific sockets to allow POP clients to communicate properly. In the following, there is a list of the sockets used on the server:
You can verify available/used sockets by checking the contents of "/etc/services" and the output of "netstat -a -n".
Verifying whether the HELIOS POP3 Server is
In order to check whether the HELIOS POP3 Server is running, you can enter the following command under UNIX:
The server will issue the following response:
+OK HELIOS POP3 Mail Server <...> ready
If you receive a response other than that shown above, this indicates that another Mail Server had already been running before HELIOS Mail was started. In that case, HELIOS Mail cannot use the socket, recognizes the other Mail Server, and does not start.
The POP3 protocol allows non-encrypted and encrypted passwords. If you want to use encrypted passwords, you have to make sure that your UNIX host is configured accordingly. The users have to be set up with "afppasswd". You will get an error message from the client if the server has not been configured properly. For more information, please refer to chapter 9.5 "Users and groups"