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Old 08-31-2010, 10:47 AM   #1
Registered: Jul 2007
Location: Bucharest, Romania
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I want to have my laptop as mail server in order to read my mail remotely

Hello to all of you,

I am 100% Ubuntu user now, no more Windoze. I am cured ...

Anyway this topic is about using my mail folder remotely (if i expressed it correctly). Let me describe it properly.

I use Thunderbird 3 on my Ubuntu Karmic (v9.10) and of course to download my mail I connect with a password and user name to a remote mail server on the web. Thunderbird stores this mail into a folder xxxxxx.default. The problem is that there are many times when my wife uses the computer that I work on (a laptop) and I am obliged to switch to my desktop PC running Ubuntu 9.04.
Is there a possibility to use Thunderbird here and link it to my remote folder that is on the laptop? ;something like having the laptop as mail server, but without the need to download the whole directory, but just to view my mail as I was working on the laptop. (i heard companies have something like intranet, where there is a server and all computers act as clients, working directly with the content on the server ... so no software on them). And to extend this ... could it be possible to do this not only in my LAN at home, but more on the internet? It would be very nice to have everything well stored at home (I would buy a SSD for this).

Any ideas largely appreciated

Kind regards,

Old 08-31-2010, 11:27 AM   #2
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Lots of ways to do what you'd like.
Easiest is just to use ssh with X-forwarding turned on, so your mail program runs on your laptop, but displays on your desktop.

1] Install openssh-client on both computers and openssh-server on the laptop at least.
2] Connect to your laptop, by typing this on your desktop PC
ssh -X cosscat@LAN-IP.OF.LAP.TOP
# eg
ssh -X cosscat@
You can use the name of your laptop instead of its IP address if you have it listed in /etc/hosts
3] Start thunderbird on your laptop PC
The thunderbird window will open on your desktop PC.

That's it.

If you want to do this over the internet you'll have to:
- Understand the security risks of opening up a service (ssh) to the big bad world.
- Know your internet IP address
- Open port 22 on your modem/router/firewall and point it at the LAN IP of your laptop
- It would be wise to set up key-based authentication (and disable password authentication) for ssh, and check sshd_config very carefully to make sure you are as fully protected as you can be.

Last edited by tredegar; 08-31-2010 at 11:29 AM. Reason: clarity
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 09-01-2010, 06:01 AM   #3
Registered: Jul 2007
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Distribution: Ubuntu
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Thank you!!!

Wow... it works out of the shelf!!!
Thank you tredegar!
Old 09-04-2010, 03:00 AM   #4
Registered: Jul 2007
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Over Internet?

But what about having the same features over Internet, not just LAN?

Thank you
Old 09-04-2010, 03:07 AM   #5
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It probably would be a lot easier to use IMAP instead of POP when you will be reading e-mail from different computers. The e-mail remains on the server. If it is an e-mail you will want to save when you get home, simply don't delete it on the server.


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