SME Server:About

From SME Server
Revision as of 22:34, 10 May 2010 by Cactus (talk | contribs) (Please refrain from adding extra (redundant) titles.)


Why spend a fortune on Windows server software when you can get more for so much less?!

SME Server is an Open Source Linux Server distribution and provides a flexible, worry-free, secure, network and communications server solution you won't outgrow. It is designed to be:

  • Simple to setup and use: Installation and basic configuration takes less than 20 minutes, and every configuration option can be set via a web-based interface.
  • Secure and stable to operate: SME Server only includes what is necessary, which translates into the entire ISO being around 500MB. Stability comes from using proven, supported rpm packages and from an update system that notifies you with available updates.
  • Cross-platform and extendible to meet future needs: SME Server already has everything necessary to provide the core services most people need to network Linux, Macintosh, and Windows systems.
  • And it's completely free!
  • Download the ISO from

Exceptionally reliable and easy to use, SME Server can be installed and configured in less than 20 minutes - yet it's powered by a secure and open Linux platform that's fully upgradeable and customizable. Simply install it on any standard PC and in minutes you'll have a robust Linux-based LAMP server capable of fully replacing those expensive Windows server licenses and providing a full range of services - including e-mail, firewall, file and print-sharing, web hosting, remote access and more.

SME Server integrates easily with Windows, Macintosh, and Unix/Linux clients, and within a Windows network environment. It's as simple to use as a server appliance, but unlike a "sealed-box" appliance the entire system is modular and extensible, so it can be tailored to the needs of individual businesses.

Features and Benefits

Ease of Administration

SME Server software uses a web-based interface to enable easy administration from any web browser on the internal network, password protected and accessible remotely via SSH or PPTP.

File and Print Sharing

The core of any network environment is easy and simple access to shared files and printers. SME Server software allows for the easy sharing of files and printers to Windows and Macintosh clients. The "Information Bay" (i-bay) feature provides easy and convenient information storage and retrieval by multiple groups via web, ftp, or file sharing.

Internet Connection

Small business customers are looking for a simple solution that works with different types of connections to the Internet. SME Server automates the process of connecting to the Internet. Just connect the server and supply your ISP account information. The server solution acts as a gateway for your entire network and requires no additional client software and minimal configuration. Users can immediately start browsing the Web, using email, and access other Internet services.


With the pervasiveness of email, small businesses increasingly need to support email for all their employees. SME Server provides a secure reliable email server and allows easy creation of individual and group addresses. For greater versatility, it works with any mail client that uses the industry-standard IMAP, POP3, and SMTP protocols. Secure webmail allows users to access the server from a web browser anywhere on the Internet, to send and receive e-mail via an encrypted (128-bit SSL) link. On top of that it is equipped with ClamAV Antivirus and SpamAssassin to reduce the amount of unsolicited mail.


Security is always a priority when a company starts using the Internet. SME Server offers a multi-layer architecture, protecting the external interface through packet-filtering and service restriction. It offers selective address or port binding, application-level access control lists, and protects the internal network from any intrusion.

Remote Access

Businesses with remote or branch sites or telecommuting employees require remote access to their email and to other resources on the local network. SME Server provides multiple tools such as webmail access to email using any browser, 128-bit PPTP (for secure client-to-server VPNs) and open secure shell (SSH) to provide encrypted access to the internal network and server resources for administrators.

Directory Services

Companies typically require a central directory of email addresses that all users can access. SME Server features a robust directory service that can be used by most email clients (including Outlook, Outlook Express, and Netscape Communicator). This feature is implemented using the industry-standard LDAP protocol.

Web Hosting

Small businesses also need a secure and reliable web presence and an intranet to communicate with employees. SME Server includes the Apache web server used by over 60% of the Internet. The content can be easily edited and updated from desktop clients (including dynamic content). It also supports the use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connections for e-commerce.

Raid and Backup

SME Server software supports both hardware and software disk mirroring (RAID 1), USB Disk backup & tape backup for additional data protection.

Automatic Updates

Almost all of the packages that SME Server includes from upstream vendors are included unmodified. The purpose of doing so is to take advantage of the stability that comes from the huge user base that uses these packages, for security, and to allow automatic updates as soon as an update is available from the upstream vendor. Security updates from Redhat/Centos should be available until 2012 for Centos 4


The SME Server architecture explicitly supports developers by making it easy to drop software into place and remove it without needing to modify existing files. Extensions can easily add new features, a few popular examples are Asterisk VOIP PBX, HylaFax server, DansGuardian web content filter, Joomla CMS, Jinzorra jukebox, Mediawiki, Thin client server, OsCommerce online shop.

Platform Specifics

SME Server v7.4 is the latest stable version of the award-winning Mitel/e-smith based Server and Gateway, the world's leading open-source server software for small and medium-sized enterprises. The heart of SME Server 7 is based on the GPL'd sources of the unsupported developer release of SME 7.0 alpha from Mitel, who is the copyright holder for much of what makes SME Server what it is. Mitel's commercial offering is known as the "Mitel Managed Application Server", and in the past was known as e-Smith. Mitel has been very generous to fund development of the alpha and beta versions and to keep to the spirit of the GPL by sharing their source code freely.

SME Server 7 uses many packages from CentOS and RPMForge. CentOS 4 is built from publicly available open source Red Hat Enterprise Linux SRPMS and aims to be binary compatible. RPMForge is a collaborative effort of several RPM packagers that build RPMs not included with CentOS. Almost all of the packages that SME Server includes from these upstream vendors are included unmodified. The purpose of doing so is to take advantage of the stability that comes from the huge user base that uses these packages, for security, and to allow automatic updates as soon as an update is available from the upstream vendor. Security updates from Redhat/Centos should be available until 2012 for Centos 4.

SME Server v7.4 is based upon Centos v4.7 with the following major package versions (these are subject to minor revision updates and bug fixes from upstream):

  • Apache web server - 2.0.52
  • MySQL database - 4.1.22
  • PHP - 4.3.9
  • Perl - 5.8.5
  • Python - 2.3.4
  • Qmail mail server - 1.03
  • Samba file and printer sharing - 3.0.33

Product Reviews

The community’s forums and wiki are very active and there are lots of HowTos available. Additional repositories are also available for many extra packages that could not be included in the download because of the limitations of a single CD ISO file.


Perhaps you’re thinking: “So what, I can do that with [your favourite distro here].” What makes SME server special is that its features are well integrated and that after the installation there is no need for end users to see the command line again. You can install it and forget about it.

Tectronix: SME Server: The Linux solution for growing businesses, April 14, 2009

"SME server makes it really easy for the user to place an adequate Intranet environment in the net without profound Linux knowledge. The distribution is primarily meant for smaller and medium-size enterprises, in addition, private people profit from the outstanding characteristics of the operating system as Mail and file servers.


The developers of SME Server did their documentation homework to the best. Appropriate assistance text described really each point of the Web-based configuration, smaller text left refers to the appropriate site for on-line assistance."

LinuxUser (in German), October, 2006

"E-Smith SME Server is a Linux distribution designed to serve as a dedicated firewall/gateway server, allowing you to share an Internet connection over a LAN. The distribution is a heavily-modified version of Red Hat Linux, with most of the latter, including the GUI, removed, leaving only what is required to run a firewall/gateway in a small 380MB package."

Australian PC World, December 10, 2003

"Installing and configuring SME Server couldn't be easier. For our tests, we installed the software on a Dell PowerEdge 2300 with a fresh 18GB hard drive. The installation process is almost completely automated; at the "boot" prompt, we had to type "proceed" to accept the license agreement and begin the installation, and then sat back while the software installed and configured itself based on our installed hardware without our intervention.


SME Server is built on a standard Linux operating system which includes common applications and utilities freely available to the Linux community. Although the functionality provided by SME Server is certainly readily available to any knowledgeable Linux administrator, the product's custom management tools and automated installation process let virtually anyone with a modicum of Linux experience install and maintain a network file server with minimal effort. The software is free to download


SME Server is ideally suited for enterprise environments in which remote servers must be installed to support a user base, and also in cases where on-site technical support to maintain the server is not readily available. Its remote administration and management features--absent from Windows 2000 environments--provide additional flexibility. Also, SME Server requires no client access licenses, so a corporation can serve a dozen or a thousand users from an SME-based server without breaking the bank to pay license fees. Enterprises looking for a flexible, cost-effective alternative to Microsoft's network services should take a close look at SME Server 5."

ZDNet TechReview, January 17, 2002

"If you're looking to roll your own Net appliance for either yourself or customers on a shoestring budget, but don't want to sacrifice ease-of-use or performance, definitely give the March Networks SME Server 5 a spin."

Linux Magazine (from Google cache), December 15, 2001

"The e-smith package is a fine piece of software, and when you take into consideration the company's high regard for your network's security, it definitely merits a look-see. We have no problem recommending the e-smith server and gateway to small to midsize businesses looking to test the Linux waters."

Network Computing, April 2, 2001

"It can be networked with Windows- and Mac OS-based computers, which means you can buy a no-name PC, load e-Smith Server and Gateway on it, then network your IBM ThinkPad and your graphics designer's Macintosh. . . . The server, [e-smith customer James Hertz] said, has been `rock-solid'."

Business Week, October 9, 2000