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Meet Open Source Server Messaging Needs With GroupServer

By Juliet Kemp (Send Email)
Posted Oct 11, 2010


More on open source servers

GroupServer is an open-source (GPL) mailing-list manager that doubles as a forum/bulletin board. Email posts are mirrored on the web, and vice versa -- in other words, it's more than an archive.

Need both mailing list and forum software but don't want to chose one over the other? Consider this open source server hybrid.

It's a neat idea, and you can check out the user interface via OnlineGroups.Net, which provides free public GroupServer groups. Setting up and using a group was easy, and the server software is fast. It also does clever things like hiding included text at the end of an email (you can click to unhide). One security criticism: My password was shown in plaintext when I first set it.

You can also download and run the software yourself. According to the web site, it runs on CentOS and Ubuntu; unfortunately, I encountered problems with Zope versions and apparently blocked web sites when installing on Ubuntu.

The documentation isn't particularly helpful on the matter of problems, and there's not a big community around this software (unlike, say, Mailman), so it's hard to find support online. However, the company replied when I tweeted about my travails, so they do seem to be happy to be helpful.

If you want to run something that's both a mailing list and web forum (thus avoiding having to choose!), GroupServer looks promising. I'm not convinced it's really ready for an independent install, but the OnlineGroups.Net site itself is clearly running well. It's worth checking out as a stand-alone install, especially if you're interested in playing around with Python and Zope and have a little time to spare.

In a final, unrelated note: After just over two years at ServerWatch, I'm moving on. I hope you've enjoyed the columns, and I'm looking forward to reading future Tip of the Trade columns by my successor.

Juliet Kemp has been messing around with Linux systems, for financial reward and otherwise, for about a decade. She is also the author of "Linux System Administration Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach" (Apress, 2009).

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