Benjamin Curtis

Speculations on Web Development

Postfix on OS X

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Last night I set out to get Postfix fully configured on OS X for two reasons: first, so my iMac could replace my aging Linux box as my mail server, and second, so I could test the email functionality of CatchTheBest on my MacBook Pro. Here are the resources I used to get this done.

I started with the iMac and did something out of character: I decided to use a GUI tool called MailServe rather than just do everything by hand. I figured it would be worth $20 to save me the time of compiling and configuring everything manually. That was a mistake, for a couple of reasons. First, it doesn’t support the maildir format, which I strongly prefer. Second, it doesn’t support IMAP authentication against anything but system accounts. I might be able to live with mbox, but the authentication was a deal-breaker.

So, this morning I decided to start from scratch on my MacBook Pro, this time the old-fashioned way: virtual mail hosting with Postfix/MySQL/CourierIMAP, complete with TLS/SSL, just like I have done on so many Linux boxes. A little bit of Googling turned up these handy instructions for setting up Postfix on OS X. A little while later I had it fully set up on my MBP, ready for hours of email testing fun.

The next step will be to switch back to the iMac and replace the inadequate MailServe with a full Postfix virtual hosting configuration. Unfortunately, the author of MailServe won’t refund my $20. I guess that’s just the cost of learning the lesson that it really is better to do it yourself.