AJAX and PHP WebMail Clients (and other ramblings about apt-get dist-upgrade)

There was recently an article I saw online (Slashdot or Lifehacker, I can’t remember) about 10 AJAX and PHP webmail clients. The article is here. I check them all out one night and I ended up liking RoundCube the best. Since I started trying out IlohaMail for a webmail client with my IMAP server, which was very plain and not very user-friendly at the time, I figured it would be a good opportunity to give it a try.

I installed it on my laptop, just to test it out, and it worked great. I immediately brought it to my server to set up and start using. There is a good installer built-in to help with any initial configuring, but it’s only really 2 config files and some permission setting, so I just copied it over from my laptop and edited the configs. Unfortunately, I found that it uses a command (mb_check_encoding) that requires a higher version of PHP than what I was running. Since I update every night, I found out that my installation of Ubuntu Dapper was getting pretty old. I figured this would be as good a time as any to upgrade…

I ended up upgrading from Ubuntu Dapper to Ubuntu Hardy, which led to problems with php5-mysqli (it became a part of php5-mysql, but I hadn’t done a complete upgrade yet). After I finally got everything settled, I attempted a reboot to get the new kernel. Of course, this led to more problems with Evms. My /etc/fstab was changed to include those stupid “UUID” entries instead of the actual devices (ie, /dev/hda1). After booting into the old kernel, editing the fstab, and removing evms (I noticed the problem originally because it spit out a kernel message like “dm-linear device lookup failed” every half a second), I was back in business. Plus, as a nice bonus, IVTV is now built in to the kernel, so I don’t have to worry about adding it as a module anymore.

So, to get back to my original topic, RoundCube is a very nice webmail client, which I found out when writing this uses IlohaMail code for handling IMAP. It uses AJAX in a way that makes it easier to use the application, but doesn’t go overboard. It very simply handles your IMAP mail and folders, and has an additional address book. It’s perfect for getting to your e-mail quickly when you’re at someone else’s computer.

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