Last night I succeeded in setting up on my server the IMAP protocol (with the help of my sysadmin friend Hamzah). It turned out not to be too difficult, once I fixed my silly configuration mistake (setting the mail directory to /var/mail instead of /var/spool/mail). I’ve still got a bit of configuration to do, mainly editing a few security settings and such. It seems Debian comes almost configured correctly out of the box. This seems to happen with quite a few packages.
Before setting up IMAP (which is, for those not in the know, an email protocol), I was accessing the mail on my server using POP3. POP3 works well, but only if you are always using the same computer all the time. Since the email messages are stored on the local machine using POP3, it is hard to track them across computers. IMAP stores the emails on the server, and each local machine uses the IMAP server as a reference.
Now that I am using IMAP, I can access my mail from virtually anywhere, without having to drag around my laptop. In the near future, I’m hoping to set up webmail on the server as well. I might even write my own, depending on how adventurous I feel. I mean, how hard can it be?