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HLFSD: Delivering Email to Your $HOME

Erez Zadok
Computer Science Department
Columbia University

Alexander Dupuy
System Management ARTS


We consider the problem of enabling users to access their mailbox files from any host on our local network, and not only on one designated "home machine". We require a solution which will not introduce any new single points of failure, force us to modify mail transfer agents and user agents, or require changes to the operating system kernels. In other words, minimize the amount of work needed by system administrators and users. Our solution is to deliver mail into the users' home directories, which are exported via NFS[20, 25] to all of the machines on our network. We wrote a small user-level NFS server implementing a single symbolic link that references the home directory of a user, either the one who accessed it, or by name, with a fallback reference in case of failures. This enables electronic mail to be delivered directly into the user's home directory, which is already accessible from any machine on the network. Although we have used our server primarily for mail delivery redirection, it can be used to redirect spooled faxes, access to /tmp, etc.

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