System-wide email upgrade of 2009-2011

Effective August 1, 2011, everybody will have accsss to the more modern modern email services at The WELL. The older servers will be shut down. Since November of 2009, we have offered a replacement for our antiquated, expensive to run, and confusing suite of email services.  If you have already upgraded, or if you joined after November 6, 2009, you need take no action. Thank you.

If you have been a member with email services since before November 6, 2009, and you never opted to upgrade your services at the utilities page, you are now upgraded to the new mail service is provided by a full-featured open-source program called Zimbra. This page describes the new Zimbra service. For help configuring your settings,  go to the Email Help page.

What is Zimbra and what does it offer?

  • Zimbra provides a modern web mail option, at, plus remote POP and IMAP.
  • When you’d rather use a “desktop” mail program, like Outlook Express, Thunderbird or Apple Mail, Zimbra offers you a choice to set yourself up with either POP or fully synchronized IMAP. Choose either one, and then make all your device settings agree.
  • Zimbra provides support for popular IMAP-based mobile mail applications, or you can use Zimbra’s mobile web option to manage your mail with your mobile browser.
  • A calendar, address book, briefcase, task manager and chat are all included at as an integrated part of your mail toolset if you wish to use them.
  • Up to 500MB in disk space is included on the server, exclusively for your mail. (This is five times the legacy default. (After the 500MB quota, unless you delete or download some mail, incoming email will be refused rather than incurring an unexpected surcharge. You will be able to see how much of your quota you are using at any time, so you don’t have to risk bouncing email due to a full mailbox.)
  • You may bump up your quota (set yourself a a higher limit). Enhanced disk quota rates start at $30, which quadruples the basic disk quota for email for a full year. Additional levels are detailed on the plans and pricing page.
  • Zimbra has simple, user-trainable spam-blocking as well as customizable whitelists and blacklists to manage spam.
  • You may still keep your original 100MB free allotment to keep files, personal web pages and any legacy email you want to keep in your home directory. Your quota on the iris server is separate, and in an addition to the free space included in your home directory where you old email is kept.
  • Zimbra provides better security for all mail applications while reducing the number of servers the WELL staff must maintain and support.

Important considerations:

  • You will no longer be able to receive email by way of the old ( server. That incoming server will be shut down in August, and no more new mail will be delivered to that machine. You must configure your devices to use after you upgrade. Change your settings after you OK the upgrade.
  • You will no longer send mail out by way of the server. That server will also shut down August 1st. The server can handle both incoming and outgoing mail, using different ports. Iris does not require that you check your mail before sending. If you use your ISP or mobile phone’s smtp server instead of The WELL’s, that outgoing option will continue to work as it did.
  • You will no longer get any new mail via Squirrel Mail at effective August 1st. Use the Utilities page to move any stored web mail to the Zimbra server, which provides you with web mail access directly at
  • Any mail programs that you may use when you ssh in to will no longer work directly, with the exception of a version of Pine that can work via IMAP. If you mainly use one of the other old UNIX programs you may wish to choose a new approach, be it a shift to Pine or to web mail. (You will still have ssh access to PicoSpan conferencing of course!) Here’s how to use Pine with IMAP.

Do I want to use POP or IMAP?
Can I still use Pine somehow?
Is there a manual for Zimbra?

Answers:Do I want to use POP or IMAP?

Choose one and stick with it to avoid confusing and damaging your mail spool. The Email Help page has full information about how to choose the one that works for you. If you want to keep using Pine you are now in the IMAP camp.

Can I still use Pine somehow?

For the first months of this project back in 2009 we thought that this upgrade was going to be the end of UNIX mailers here. Recently we have been working with volunteers who have been using Alpine, the more recent version of Pine, with the Zimbra system. It works slightly differently, via an IMAP connection to Zimbra, but it is mostly similar and it will be able to be used to both read and send email. Here’s how IMAP via Pine works.

Is there a manual for Zimbra?

Click “Help” in the upper right corner of your page when you are logged in at to go to the extensive Zimbra manual. For a concise introduction, and help with settings for email, go to our page for  help with the new email system.