May 27, 2004 3:35 AM   Subscribe

Where I work has suddenly become all fascist about internet access and blocked SSH access. This is a pain because it was how I used to access my emails (SSH in, use Pine). I can't use a POP3 client on my PC because they've had that port blocked for ages. I'm currently using mail2web but don't like the way it handles replies and the general lack of functionality. My question is: is there a good free webmail application out there that is either managed (like mail2web) or I can install in my account (Linux, no db access, no root). If the latter can cope with the folders I have (I use spamassassin), safely render HTML emails (possible junk mail) and is easy to install, then that would be excellent. I have tried Google and Freshmeat but all the ones I saw were either commercial or looked rather featureless. Any recommendations?
posted by ralawrence to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
I use Fastmail , and although its not free, and I've some issues with the level of support they give, I think it's a good product.

50 Mb space, Imap, Pop, Web access, Virus checker, Advanced spam filter. $20 a year.

Alternatively, you could wait for gmail.
posted by seanyboy at 4:14 AM on May 27, 2004

I'd like to add a similar request on to this thread...

Is there a service which will receive mail, then change the sender address and redirect the resulting message to another address?

This would be so that people who have access to a 'work' email address can send mails but have them look as if they were sent from a personal address.
posted by skylar at 4:29 AM on May 27, 2004

i don't understand where your email is. is it on a home machine? is the linux acct at work, or the email source?

i use squirrelmail to provide web access to email. it needs an imap server to work with (afaik) so i also use courier. this all runs on linux, but is installed in the system (not root, but not as me, either). i'm pretty sure you can install squirrelmail in your own acct (with apache + php - you may not be able to use port 80 though). your email provider may provide imap anyway. more info (self link) at http://www.acooke.org/andrew/writing/email.html.

squirrelmail works with folders (maildir directories handled by courier) and is pretty nice generally (i use it in preference to mutt, even when i have ssh access to my machine).

are they blocking all ports, or just 22? don't forget you can use ssh on any port, but need it configured at the server. installing your own ssh server on some high numbered port might be a possibility (you could even ask the linux machine owner to open up an extra port - it's easy to add).
posted by andrew cooke at 4:42 AM on May 27, 2004

Response by poster: My email is hosted on a friends Linux box located at an ISP. At work (and home) I use Windows to SSH to it and read my mail. Occasionally (when the mailbox gets over 100 or so emails) I will use Outlook at home and pull off all the messages.

With regards to work, everything over 1024 is blocked and from what I can tell, everything below that which is considered non-essential (ie. practically everything) is also blocked. HTTP and HTTPS is fine, but thats about it.

I will ask them to try opening another port, but if that also fails (or they won't), then any recommendations would be gratefully received.

Finally, thanks for the SquirrelMail recommendation, I will take a look!
posted by ralawrence at 5:46 AM on May 27, 2004

It's a bit featureless and no longer in active development, but I've been running acmemail for years and never had a lick of trouble with it. A friend of mine runs IMP, and if I replace acmemail, it'll be with that.
posted by majick at 6:40 AM on May 27, 2004

I second Squirrelmail. I used to be a diehard IMP user, but Squirrelmail is a lot easier to install and the interface is a bit nicer, too.
posted by zsazsa at 7:00 AM on May 27, 2004

But also understand that they pay you to work, not to ssh into your server. It would be like complaining that they blocked access to Metafilter.

Aside from that, another vote for SquirrelMail. Nice little webmail setup. I used it before I moved most of my servers over at 1and1 and their slow but working webmail system.
posted by mkelley at 7:04 AM on May 27, 2004

Why not just run an ssh server on port 80? If they proxy that, there's software to tunnel a tcp connection over HTTP, rudimentary but useful. It's on freshmeat somewhere.
posted by fvw at 7:19 AM on May 27, 2004

I could set up a POP/IMAP server on my home machine and install Squirrel, IMP, or something like that. But I'm really lazy. Here's what I do:

Set up a mail rule on your client to redirect your mail to whatever free email service you like (I use gmail, nya nya). You can get fancy by customizing your existing mail filters so that it only forwards mail that isn't junk. On my Apple Mail, for example, I tell my Junk rule to "Stop evaluating rules", then have a rule at the bottom of my list to redirect any mail that gets that fair to gmail.
posted by mkultra at 8:13 AM on May 27, 2004

er, gets that far...
posted by mkultra at 8:16 AM on May 27, 2004

I had a similar problem at work. I have subsequently found a solution which involved monkeying around in the server room and routing some cables, but prior to that I was in the same boat you are.

Look for open ports. There likely are a few. Try things like MSN messenger, AOL instant messenger, etc. Get an instance of ssh running there. A competent port scanning tool (I use nmap, but it may only work on unixes) will be able to tell the difference between filtered ports and closed ports. Once you find the port, ask the administrator of the linux box to put ssh on that port.
posted by mragreeable at 9:21 AM on May 27, 2004

That really didn't address your question, I guess. I second the vote for imp. Supposedly it runs without a database. (Though I use it with mysql.)
posted by mragreeable at 9:27 AM on May 27, 2004

mragreeable: Have you pen-tested the network you swapped cables on from outside your LAN?. There's quite a good possibility that what enables you to exit your LAN unprobitively after your engineering, opened it up to the outside world. Depending on whether or not you also reconfigured your routing tables, acl's etc. etc. etc.

Pardon my nosiness, but when I see things like this, I either get curious, or worried. In this situation I'm worried about others curiousity.
posted by mnology at 11:18 AM on May 27, 2004

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