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February 16, 2002
Robert Basler is the president of Aurora Systems, Inc. and has been a dedicated OS/2 user since he tired of rebooting Windows 3.1 twenty times a day. He spends what free time he can manage travelling the world. Photo was taken at Franz Josef glacier, New Zealand.

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Webmail/2 Version 10

When I travel, I need to be up to date on my email, yet it is sometimes difficult to find somewhere to connect my laptop to the internet. Fortunately, many hotels now have free high-speed internet access terminals in the lobby, or you can find a friend who will let you use their computer. The problem then becomes that after you read the mail on their computer, it is usually removed from the server and lost forever when you delete it from their computer. This is less than ideal for business correspondence.

Webmail/2 provides a solution to this problem if you have an OS/2 web server. Webmail/2 is an email client that allows you to access POP3/SMTP servers from any web browser, just like Hotmail and other web-based email services, but you don't get the problems of having a hotmail.com email address, and when you get home, you can still download the email to your regular email client.


Assuming you have a working OS/2 web server such as Apache or Web/2, and a working email server (The list of supported servers is here.), installation is pretty straightforward. Webmail/2 comes as a set of ZIP files and an installation script. I chose to install the package by unzipping the various ZIP files into the right locations, I didn't try the script.

One thing I did need to do extra was to modify the WEBMAIL2.CMD file to let it know where it could find the .WM files that are used to build the Webmail/2 user interface. Instructions to do this are included in the online documentation. You have the option to set an environment variable instead, but I didn't feel like taking the server down to do the upgrade.

Once the files are in place, you need to run SETUP.EXE to configure WebManager. There are a number of pages of options with different features available depending on which mail server you're using, they're all described in the online documentation.

One little glitch I ran into is that when you start Setup, for some reason it doesn't appear until you select it from the task list.


The WebManager is the brains behind WebMail/2. When you run the WEBMAIL.CMD CGI program, it calls on WebManager to do much of the work.

Setup and WebManager used to be one program. Now WebManager is just a little window that appears onscreen showing the status of the Webmail/2 system, how many users are on, failed access attempts, CGI errors and the total number of connections.


One change I did make was to edit the reademail.wm file to change the default font size for the text of the email on the read mail page to 3 from 5 which I found far too large. It is neat that you can adjust the appearance of the various Webmail/2 screens just by modifying the included HTML .WM files.


Once your server is operating, accessing your email using a web browser is easy, just enter in the name of the WEBMAIL2.CMD file such as http://yourserver.com/cgi-bin/webmail2.cmd and you'll be presented with the login screen.

Webmail/2 has a nice option if all your mail comes from one server, you can just enter the name of the account you want to access, rather than the entire email address. If you like, you can use Setup to set Webmanager to allow reading mail from more than one domain, in which case you will have to enter the entire email address each time.

Once you log in, you are presented with a list of emails in your inbox.

To read an email, click on the subject line link, or on the little checkbox icon.

Once you have a note up, you can delete it permanently from the server by clicking on the little X icon, or move to the next or previous notes by hitting the arrows. When you're ready to compose a new note, click on Compose, or you can click on the little circled arrows to reply to the message you are currently reading.

One thing you might want to make sure you do is to add your own email address to the bcc: field so that you will get a copy of the notes you send. It would be nice if there was an option to have each composed email automatically bcc'ed to the sending account.

If you need to send an attachment with your note, there is a button at the bottom of the page that allows you to do this.

Contacts List

A handy feature in WebMail/2 is that you can enter people into your contacts list then use their contact name rather than their full name and email address in the to line.

Signature Block

You can have your own signature block put at the bottom of each note you send just by entering it into the signature screen.


If you like, you can enable humourous taglines at the bottom of each email you send by editing the WEBMAIL2.CMD file or by changing an environment setting. You might want to read through all the different taglines first, they are all listed in the WEBMAIL2.CMD file.


Webmail comes with several pages of online documentation which includes an introduction to the product, installation information, and configuration help.

While you are using Webmail/2 there is online help for the program's major features.


I'm a big fan of JunkSpy. Webmail/2's documentation outlines how to connect JunkSpy between your email server and Webmail/2. I haven't tried this myself, but as the spam piles up, it gets quite tempting.

A Minor Security Concern

One thing I didn't like about this release is that it places the file REXXEXE.EXE into your CGI-BIN directory. This tool seems to be for turning the WEBMAIL2.CMD file into an EXE file. I couldn't see any good reason to do this, but putting any extra EXE file into the CGI-BIN directory is a security concern. Since it doesn't appear that WEBMAIL2.CMD needs it, I put it into the directory with the WebManager program instead.

Feature Wish-List

There are a couple features that are pretty standard in email clients that would be very useful in Webmail/2: Folders and Filters. It would be nice to be able to put messages into folders so that as the mail stacks up on the server, you could organize it. Filters would also be a welcome addition and would improve the integration with JunkSpy.


I have been running Webmail/2 Version 5 for several months and overall I really like it so I was quite interested in trying the new version 10. Things have definitely improved since version 5, I noticed a number of rough edges that have been knocked off. In daily use, there isn't much to criticize about this program.

Webmail/2 is a great product for a small business (or even an individual) running their own mail and web servers. Having the flexibility to access your mail from any computer is a huge advantage for people who are on the move. Being able to have mail coming from your own server rather than a free email account like Hotmail makes you look much more professional.

Webmail/2 Version 10.0
Author: Dimitris Michelinakis
Website: http://www.michelinakis.gr/Dimitris/webmail/
Price: Free

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