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Romulan/Squirrelmail Upgrade FAQ


What are you doing?
Upgrading the hardware, mail server software and webmail software on romulan.oakton.edu, the student e-mail server.   The most obvious change to students will be the new Webmail client Squirrelmail which will replace the existing IMP webmail client.    For off campus users, webmail will also now require SSL security.

When will this happen?
Thursday, September 9, 2004 at 10:30 PM.   At this time student e-mail services on the old romulan will be shutdown, and we will begin migrating the existing email and configuration settings from the old server to the new server.    The new server should be online and fully operational by 8:00 AM, Friday September 10, 2004.

How can I report a problem?
If you experience a problem with your e-mail after the conversion, please contact the Information Technology Help Desk:  helpdesk@oakton.edu or speak with the on-duty computer lab coordinator in any of the open computer labs (Des Plaines rooms 1835, 1860, 2622 or A241 at Skokie)

Why are you doing this anyway?
Our current Student and Employee mail servers are running on 6 year old server hardware with limited processing power and storage.   Support and upgrades are no longer available for both the operating system and hardware.   A newer operating system and software should offer better security, reliability, features and performance.  The new hardware should offer substantially better performance, storage capacity and continued reliability.

What are the main benefits?
Can I continue to use Netscape or other IMAP clients?
Absolutely. On campus access to email via Netscape is unchanged and off campus IMAP access with Netscape, Mozilla, Outlook Express, etc. is also possible if you configure it yourself.

What gets converted?
All existing saved email messages and mailboxes will be brought over.   The conversion should preserve seen state, answered status, priority and other flags for all existing messages.  Any messages received during the conversion will be queued and delivered after the new server is up and running. All entries in the current IMP (Webmail) addressbook will be converted into Squirrelmail's format.   Note that due to the differences in format some of your personal address book, some entries may need to be reformatted manually.   Any existing sieve email filters or email forwarding status will be preserved.   Your password also will not change.

What gets lost?
Due to the difference in format, any existing webmail preferences will be lost.  (most of these settings would be irrelevant.) Any existing email signature will also have to be recreated.

What has Changed in Webmail?
The new Squirrelmail client offers many new features unavailable in IMP.  Some of these include:
Where can I find out more about how to use Squirrelmail Webmail?
Context sensitive help is available within squirrelmail (just click on the Help link in the menu.   Oakton's Squirrel Mail instructions can be found at:   http://www.oakton.edu/resource/it/?    Full
information about Squirrelmail can be found at the squirrelmail web site:  http://www.squirrelmail.org/

What hardware/software will you be using?
The new server is a 2.8 Ghz P4 Xeon dual processor HP Proliant DL380G3 with 2 GB of memory.   Network connectivity is via gigabit ethernet.  Disk storage is two mirrored (RAID 1) 36 GB, 15,000 RPM disks for the operating system.  E-mail data is stored on our 6 TB, 2 GB/s Fibre Channel, Storage Area Network (SAN).    The operating system is Red Hat Enterprise Linux.  Mail Server software is the Cyrus IMAP mail server from Carnegie Melon University.  The Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) is qmail.    The web mail client is squirrelmail, a php application running on the Apache web server.    This is pretty much an update to our existing email environment.

Where can I find out more information about my account or student access to technology at Oakton?
Visit the "IT for Students" web page at http://www.oakton.edu/resource/it/forstu.htm

Why doesn't Oakton's email system do <insert feature here> ?
Probably because we didn't think of it, or maybe because it is not possible.   Suggestions are always appreciated.  Send your requests for feature enhancements, improved default preferences, etc. to the Information Technology Help Desk helpdesk@oakton.edu

Who did all the work?
Most of the configuration work was done by John Widera  (John is going to be very happy when this project is over.) with assistance from Jim Hickey and Francisco Sosa.      Julia Gray did the "Oakton Theme" and Dann Foster, Sue Roberts and Nadine Poyser assisted with testing, feature and configuration suggestions and documentation.   Administrative and technical direction provided by John Wade