With this post I want to start a new project. Well, start is not really the correct term, because this project brings me back to the very beginning of my experience with linux, back to the roots.

About seven years ago I set up my first linux server. I put together some old hardware and placed it in the basement beside all the other (Windows) machines. On top of Fedora 6 I installed a Samba server for internal use, a webserver and I also wanted to set up a private mail server. Back then I lived with my parents and thanks to their offices we had a good internet connection with a fixed IPv4 address, so best premises for my goals. But then my parents announced their divorse and with that the sale of our house. This was the end for all my machines.

I lost the fixed IP, the good bandwidth, and the room for my servers, so I had to move to cloud based services and the first one was Gmail. This was the beginning of my era as a Google-aficionado. Today I am using dozens of Google services and Gmail is still the most important one.

All that did not stop me from becoming a freaky linux admin. Just some years later and – thanks to my job – with much more experience, I ordered my first VServer. This server (and its successors) did a great job, primarily as a webserver. However, the mailserver just forwarded my mails to the Gmail account, and this is where I want to start this project: Setting up my own mail server and moving all mails back.

You may ask why? I have to say, Google did a great job and I still think Gmail is the best free email service out there. But in the last few years they moved more and more to the we-know-what-you-want-so-don’t-tell-us-philosophy. For example, in Gmail they labelled mails as important and introduced the tabbed inbox. That’s not what I want. I want full control and I don’t want to have any artificial intelligence sorting my mails (or more general e.g. with Google Now: organizing my life).

I know this step will bring some drawbacks to my data life. I have to say goodbye to Gmail labels and reacquaint myself with IMAP folders. I’ll need a synchronizing strategy for contacts. I have to find good mail clients for all my devices and I’m sure I’ll miss some features of the Gmail web interface.

So, this will be a challenge. I’ll keep you up to date.

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