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I tested Zimbra open-source server few years ago and realized that it isn't quite stable for production. Doesn't think that it have changed much since then.
Better choise would be to buy Zimbra Network version - at least it have good reputation and support.
If paid version isn't option then better to configure postfix+dovecot+SquirrelMail+spamassassin and as client implement Thunderbird (or any other imap client).
There is already prebuild distros available like ClearOS. It have all needed features (mailserver, webmail, spamfilter) already pre-configured.
ClearOS comes as an iso and you can install it directly. But I am still using zimbra OSS edition for small purpose and it seems fine now. You can surely try it. It should not be much of an issue installing and configuring it.
I am using it as an internal server and relay mails using this from external server and it works fine. You should give zimbra a go for sure.
Another option would be to try Qmail.
It seems like our posts got crossed While you were writing, I was also writing..
I was looking for something like an internal e-mail server as well - but - at the same time, I wanted for clients to access data on the server through the use of C/C++ libraries (or some other kind of SDK).
Would be be possible to start with the Open source version of Zimbra and then later go to the networked version (if necessary) without too much trouble? The only reason why I am asking is because I am getting the sense that the Open Source version and the networked version are two different animals.
Yes they are. You can find the difference between different versions of ZImbra on their site. If you do not need re branding or host multiple domains. Though you can host multiple domains, you can not have different administrator accounts for domains. You just have one global admin.
If you need all this and more, you should go for network edition. Though for me FOSS edition is fine and I am happy with it.
But I did not understand your needs about SDK?
Could You explain what You would do with those libraries?
As I understand Your Linux related link, there is no limitations for mail servers. All connections is created through IMAP or POP3 protocols. You can use that library to connect even to Microsoft Exchange (if IMAP/POP3 is enabled) .
Zimbra, ClearOS or any other mailserver will support IMAP/POP3.
Maybe I'm missing Your point and You need something specific?