[Wlug] For discussion: A Worthy LUG project? (was gmail invites)

Bob George mailings02 at ttlexceeded.com
Thu Sep 16 17:54:34 EDT 2004

Frank Sweetser wrote:

>>Is there a benefit to having a gmail account, other than the free
> Gmail actually is pretty neat.  The whole archive and search vs folders takes
> a little getting used to, but I think they implemented it pretty nicely.  It
> ends up giving you a very flexible view of your email archives.
> Oh yeah, and it's about an order of magnitutde faster than any other webmail
> service I've tried =)

As a long time Linux enthusiast, I've never quite understood the thrill 
of having 1GB of my personal data stored on someone else's server, much 
less on one that is hosted by a company that -- while mostly playing 
nice now -- reserves the right to do whatever with that data later.

I've also not understood why that would be any more attractive than the 
building of a (better, faster, bigger) server of my own, particularly 
given the wealth of tools available to us GPL.

On the BLU list recently, there was much discussion about building a 
cluster, but plans stalled when the reality of power and HVAC were 
detailed. However, hosting a box or two somewhere didn't seem to be an 

So... For the tech-minded but still willing to store personal stuff 
outside, wouldn't a secure, private (as in gpg) and shared Gmail 
alternative make a good LUG project?

I know many folks are looking for ways to get experience doing 
real-world things, and enough of us probably are interested in specific 
aspects of this to be involved at varying levels. Others may have 
hardware available for dontation.

1.) Is there interest in something like this
2.) Where could it be housed/hosted and what would it cost?

Advantages I see are:
1.) A cool LUG project. I haven't heard of anyone doing this, and it 
makes for a nice "Gmail? Hah!" response at techie gatherings.
2.) A good hands-on project for the curious (apache, webmail, gpg/pgp, 
spamassassin, system hardening, procmail, php/whatever, mysql, etc.)
3.) We can address Gmail shortcomings
4.) We can enhance security and privacy (gpg/pgp, encrypted data and 
other options come to mind)
5.) We can allow users more direct (and effective) spam control 
(spamassassin, milters come to mind -- allow each user more control!)
6.) We can allow POP/IMAP access to/from the server (secure SMTP?)
7.) A good place to store LUG files etc. (be good now)
8.) Cool WLUG domain names!

Disadvantages abound of course:
1.) Time - Effort to get started, and over the hump
2.) Money - Hosting primarily
3.) Support - Who'll fix it
4.) Scalability - Will it be killed by success? How much room can be 
allocated per-user? How big of a box before it buckles?

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