Ubuntu Instant Server Spec Comments and Suggestions
Comment of AchimBohnet
One possible choice for Mail server could be the kolab project:
integrates postfix, cyrus, ldap, horde etc. See http://www.kolab.org/
- web admin interface and interoperation of components are continuesly enhanced by kolab project
debian pkgs at alioth project pkg-kolab. See https://alioth.debian.org/projects/pkg-kolab/
Currently the debian pkgs contain a README file with step by step instructions how to set kolab up. AFAIK when pkg are stable there are plans to create a (deb)conf script to setup kolab. With the setup script ready, adding mailserver to boot menu would just be adding pkg kolab to the list of pkgs to install.
Comment of DavidIrvine
I have spent over 6 years developing such a server - had to stop as it cost me everything. So with not to much time and too many debts (investment and open source in Scotland is very very tough) I can add some suggestions. Please take or leave them its no prob. The main parts customers wanted were:
1: Ease of use (we used a php interface on a seperate server from the main apache (port 442)). This server run as a user with no permissions and sudo was employed to issue commands on it's behalf. If the server was hacked the user privs were garbage). This was backed up with a very minimal CLI interface for disaster recovery.
2: Switch on DHCP automatically (use a helper in the init script to see if theres an existing dhcp server on the network first).
3: Ability to use samba / ftp / or any other method (hated frontpage) to uplead websites.
4: Single disk no questions install - simply type install at prompt and wait for disk to format and all s/w to install (should be less than 10 mins on average machine).
5: Backup - absolute necessity - look at tapes / rsync/ssh remote backups and a minimum of use the cd as a bare bones recovery disk with a usb stick with the configs on it. That gets to the point where restore from tape / remote etc. is possible.
6: Thin clients (ubuntu ok there) but perhaps add a management interface at this juncture.
7: Email and web sites (ftp et al) should be able to be seperate domains and users or allow some domains to share users. i.e. david@abc and david@def are the same guy, however david@def is not.
8: Good office software included i.e phpgroupware, horde etc. particularly interisting with syncML and perhaps LDAP backend for sharing client data from web office to openoffice / evolution / outlook and pocket pc's and phones (see sync4j).
9: VOIP - why are we linux chaps not really pushing this - asterisk etc. and the ability for a server to be the phone/receptionist/fax/remote system for a small company is fantastic. It can read the same ldap database as above.
10: Use a really good firewalling script to allow port forwarding, static nat, DNAT, reporting, whitelist/blacklist, vpn and passthrou etc. (if a service needs a port such as VPN - tell the user on the vpn screen and provide a button to push to enable such). this is perhaps the most used part by engineers to allow clients to get the best value for money. We added vlan capabilities to this as well for multi business suites such as business centres (very simple).
With this and a wee tiny bit more - it beats other systems from well known companies hands down. !! Especially if it's open source which is what I was never allowed to do with my system - hence the demise
Back to what I started out to say, we tried really hard to make a server for dummies package for end users, however we found in all honesty (and no disrepect) that theres a large proportion of resellers out there who influence business customers and require an awful lot of handholding, but shown the way and trained effectively there the route to market with this stuff.
Comment of John Moser
These days, internal communication and conferencing have become paramount. A Jabber/XMPP or SILC server to supply Instant Messaging would appeal to businesses as a way to keep employees between data centers or away from the office in touch. In this we also need to consider future expansion to allow point-and-click instant voice or video chat (conference calls and video conferencing) using Pidgin when the pidgin-vv work gets merged; the ability to instantly voice-discuss over a 3kb/s Speex stream or video present a discussion with white board aid from remote locations at 1024x768 Theora/Speex over a gigabit link with logging on the central server would appeal to distributed development teams and other groups of people working together remotely.