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The Answer Guy

By James T. Dennis, tag@lists.linuxgazette.net
Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

(?)Getting at MS-Mail from within Linux

The Myriad Ways to Co-exist with MS Windows

From Aubrey Pic on 28 Apr 1998

I connect my linux box, at work, to a Netware network. I, also, have Win95 on my box, ONLY to get my LAN mail. Is there any way (or is there a commercial pkg availible) to get my MS-MAIL messages w/out resorting to Win???? I have ncpfs running, so I can login & access my Netware account/directory, with no problems. I cringe every time I have to do this.

Aubrey Pic

(!) I really feel for you there. There are five techniques that come to mind:
  1. Get an extra cheap box to run Win '95 on. Put the two boxes on a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switch box.

    A bit expensive by some accounts -- but much less than the time you waste rebooted if you amoritize it over a year or two.
  2. MS-Exchange i (presumably the mail server that your site is using) can be configured to serve e-mail over POP. Essentially your postmaster would set you up with an account that had a local address but was routed as though it were to the Internet. You'd just use 'fetchmail' to grab your mail.

    This is probably the easiest and cheapest. However I've never administered an Exchange system --- so I have no idea how difficult this is or what sort of glitches you'll run into (particularly with various "rich text" embellishments that MS-Mail supports and that your associates might therefore use on mail that they consider to be "internal."
  3. Install an emulator such as Bochs, WINE, Wabi or DOSEmu (which allegedly can run Windows 3.x in standard mode).

    This is probably the most difficult approach (Wabi isn't too bad -- but it's only 3.x, too) The nice thing is hack value, you show your associates that Linux can run Windows apps.

    Bochs might be the most impressive, though undoubtedly the slowest. It can apparently run Win '95 under its emulation of a whole system (processor, chipset, video register set, disk controllers the works -- all virtual).
    (shareware in source form $25)
    (commercial ~$100 - 200)

  4. Get a G3 PowerMac and run Connectix Virtual PC under MacOS. (Apple has a special offer to include it free, until June 26.)

    Well, this is the most expensive and it does sell another copy of Win '95 for Microsoft. But that G3 is fast and should make a great platform for mkLinux and/or LinuxPPC in the next year or so.
  5. Run a copy of VNC --- with the server on some associate's system and the client on your Linux box. You won't get to read your mail concurrently with them. Or get a Citrix WinFrame server (runs over NT 3.51) and the Java "ICA" client so you can remotely run NT apps from your X desktop.

Copyright © 1998, James T. Dennis
Published in Linux Gazette Issue 29 June 1998

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