Mail Server Delivers Unix Power

SAN FRANCISCO (07/05/2000) - Tenon Intersystems specializes in wrapping friendly Mac interfaces around powerful Unix applications. With NetTen 1.4, Tenon seeks to provide an industrial-strength, standards-based mail server for the Mac. NetTen incorporates widely used Unix applications -- PostOffice for mail and BIND for DNS -- into a single Mac program that hides the Unix environment from the administrator. The result is a unique combination of features and flexibility -- and a management experience that the Macintosh faithful may find slightly uncomfortable.

NetTen is easy to install, taking less than 5 minutes, and has simple hardware demands (a Power Mac with 15MB of RAM and 50MB of disk space). Configuring the mail and DNS services is fairly straight-forward, with NetTen's Web interface allowing remote administration from any browser-equipped computer. The management pages could use a more polished interface, and they require too many mouse-clicks, though the Web forms do offer the benefit of hypertext links to topics in the online documentation. Administrators who really appreciate the bare-bones approach can perform much of the mail administration via e-mail, bypassing the Web interface entirely.

NetTen performed solidly during testing, providing reliable SMTP, POP, IMAP version 4, and DNS services to Mac and Windows clients. The server supports multiple mail domains, and you can configure each account to receive mail for multiple addresses. Users can manage their own mail accounts via the Web, and administrators can limit mailbox size to avoid overflowing in-boxes. To thwart spammers, NetTen offers relay restrictions, source-address filtering, content filtering, and dynamic checks against the Mail Abuse Prevention System's list of known spammers.

For all its Unix power, NetTen is still missing a few relatively minor features. It doesn't provide any LDAP access to its mail directory or autoconfiguration of mail clients -- features Qualcomm Inc.'s US$249 Eudora Internet Mail Server offers. NetTen's DNS doesn't support Dynamic DNS registration or service locator records, and it has no way to view or force an update of a secondary zone. It also lacks the DNS analysis tools and WebStar plug-ins found in Men and Mice's QuickDNS Pro.

Macworld's Buying AdviceAdministrators looking for sophisticated spam blocking, account aliasing, and DNS services will find NetTen 1.4 a reasonable value.

Those looking for just a mail server -- and a 100 percent Mac experience -- might consider the less-expensive Eudora Internet Mail Server.

RATING: 4.0 mice

PROS: Strong spam filtering; multiple addresses per account; users can manage their own accounts.

CONS: Bare-bones Web interface; limited DNS management tools.

COMPANY: Tenon Intersystems (800/662-2410, http://www.tenon.com). LIST: $495.

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