Good Stalker

september 25, 2008

A long, long time ago in an interwebs far, far away there was a product named Stalker Internet Mail Server (SIMS) that ran on Macintosh System 7.  In that same interwebs, some guy named Mookie was building a server using an old PowerMac 7100 -- one that was given to him out of pity and charity.  He was a young apprentice at the time and could not afford to buy hardware nor software.  So, he scoured around and found SIMS.  SIMS worked brilliantly, especially the free version that gave him a few mailboxes and did exactly what he needed.  After a while, Mookie started building servers using Linux and soon forgot about SIMS.  That is until recently. My ongoing search for software or a service that will let me synchronize my iPhone without cables has come to an end.  This is all because I found a product by those Stalker guys, now known as Communigate Systems (personally, I think Stalker is a cooler name) .  SIMS has grown up and is now named Communigate Pro. During this growin' up period, SIMS also developed new skills, mainly groupware skills -- tasks, contacts and calendaring.  And, those Stalker guys have a community version of Communigate Pro that is free for those of us who do not need to host 25+ people.  The community version of Communigate Pro is exactly the same as the commercial version and lets me host five users -- if I go over the five user limit, the software swithces into trial mode for the commerical version.  Booyah, free software. The other night, I reimaged my old VAIO notebook (a paltry Pentium 3 900MHz, 512MB RAM, and 80GB HDD) which has a busted space key (Jacob ripped if off).  I reimaged it with CentOS 5.2 because after trying to get my Debian/Ubuntu mojo on, I couldn't -- so, I returned to my roots, RHEL where I know how to get shtuff done.  Using the small, slow notebook for a server is great because after turning on the ultrapower save mode in the BIOS, the thing runs at 500MHz all day long.  There is no noise because the fan doesn't run.  It sits and runs quietly all day long.  I setup a dynamic hostname over at DynDNS and got Communigate Pro working. So here are my notes about my Communigate Pro experience so far:

The difference between CGP and Zarafa are termendous.  Zarafa had me setting up daemons manually; configuring Apache by hand; and downloading, installing and configuring their ActiveSync component by hand (which also had a whole handful of manual steps to go through at the command-line).  There were also no administration tools, other than a command-line tool for user management.  CGP has an easy installation process (rpm -i <pkg_name>) and also a pretty detailed web-based administration tool. There are other components to CGP, like mail, RSS reader, file storage, and stuff.  But, I doubt I will be using that stuff much -- especially mail, which I do not need.  CGP works great as a backend server for doling out my calendars to my home and work machines -- and my iPhone.  It also works great for storing my contacts.  After I tested remote wipe, I was able to restore my iPhone within minutes because everything was always in sync and not on the iPhone. I am going to keep using CGP for my PIM activities and hope that they add calendaring alerts. ISO Mania! And yes, Alice, this ActiveSync stuff was (<- notice tense) the new "Linux distro" obsession for me.  I think it is over now though.

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