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Digital mayhem





Please note there is now an update to this page which deals with OS 10.2/10.3 issues.

I have for some time been looking for a web email client to provide easier on-the-road access to the BayswaterFarm mail server. I have looked at several alternatives (IMP, Wing, AcmeMail, etc). Some in Perl, some in PHP. I was most attracted to IMP but was having problems sorting out its underblanket - Horde and PEAR - on Mac OS X. Then I discovered SquirrelMail.

I downloaded SquirrelMail and had it up and running the same evening. It is very impressive. I won't say that installation was entirely glitch-free - it wasn't - but ironing out the glitches was not too difficult. I hope the description below will be of help to other Mac OS X users following in my footsteps.

The discussions below below roughly follow the sequence in the Install document included in the download. For information my server is (currently) running Mac OS X 10.1.5, with Apache/1.3.26, PHP 4.2.1, uWIMAP v 4 rev 1, and Exim 3.33 (must upgrade!). I installed Squirrelmail 1.2.7.

Configure webserver to work with PHP4

I already had installed Marc Lyanage's PHP4 Apache Module. This is fine, except that it does not provide a php.ini file. This is essential for SM, so I created one in /usr/local/lib. (That is where Marc's package has been compiled to look for it.)


Here is what I included:

session.use_cookies = 1 session.save_path = /tmp register_globals = On file_uploads = On

The register_globals = On statement seems to be pretty essential if you want to be able to login.

Setting up .php files to use PHP4

I didn't follow the recommendation to create a .htaccess file in my SquirrelMail directory. I reckoned that as PHP was working, it would know how to deal with .php files, and also (as far as I was aware) it was not running in /cgi-bin.

Setting up IMAP

I already had uW IMAPd up and running. I store user mail folders in a/Users/whoever/mail folder. (This means that SM needs to be configured with a null entry for Default Folder Prefix in Folder Defaults, not with mail/ as SM has as default for uW IMAP.)

Installing SquirrelMail

Just follow the instructions. I did, and it works.

Setting up SquirrelMail

I just love the Perl script conf.pl. It makes setup so easy.

And there it is...


Congratulations to the Squirrelmail team for a great product.

Thanks to Matthew Barr for pointing me at the Squirrels in the first place!

Chris Bunch
July 3rd, 2002