Math Phys computer news



Math Physics mail is moving over the weekend 21/22nd July!

College policy now strongly discourages the use of independent departmental mail servers (mainly for legal reasons connected to personal privacy, the Data Protection Act and the need for the College to intercept mail if necessary) and ultimately all of the maths mail servers will be shut down and user's mail moved to the central Exchange servers. The Maths Physics mail server is the oldest of the department's mail servers and by today's standards has a very small mail spool directory, which gives rise to problems from time to time. It also has little protection against spam users.

It has always been the intention to move Maths Physics mail to the geometry server, which was sized with this in mind, but the uncertainty over college policy regarding mail servers has meant this has repeatedly been delayed. Now that the college is clear on this matter, Math Physics mail will move to the central servers over the weekend of July 21st/22nd.

Unfortunately, the Exchange server as installed at Imperial College does not support incoming SMTP mail so pure SMTP Unix/linux mail clients such as mail, mailx and elm will no longer be usable for reading mail. Mail clients that support POP or IMAP, such as pine and Netscape, will however continue to be usable with the new server. Documentation is now available for configuring both pine and Netscape, ready for you to reconfigure your email clients before or after the actual changeover.

Those of you who still prefer the elm interface will be pleased to learn that some effort is being put into creating a mutt installation for the Maths Phys section's Alphas and Linux systems; mutt is a modern replacement for elm with the same user interface but it also has support for POP and IMAP mail servers, as well as SMTP and a whole host of other features. This will be ready soon but it is unlikely to be ready in time for the changeover date of July 23rd.

Finally, if you are for some reason unable to get your new mail set-up working after the mail switchover on Julky 21st/22nd, you can still send and receive your mail using the college web-based mail service.

f is now running an experimental mail configuration

As part of the migration programme for moving Maths Physics mail off the local mail server, tera, f is now running an experimental mail configuration in which all outgoing mail from that system (eg from a Pine or Netscape Messenger mail client) is sent directly instead of via tera's mail server.

Currently (July 18th, 2001) all mail - both incoming and outgoing - for the Maths Physics section goes via the tera mail server. We plan to retire tera soon as a mail server for inbound mail, and as a mail gateway for outgoing mail, and we are putting in place alternative arrangements for outgoing mail that will no longer need the services of tera. If the new configuration on f proves successful, this will be extended to all Unix and Linux systems in Maths Physics.


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Andy Thomas

Unix/network sys admin,
Department of Mathematics

last updated: 19.7.2001