Litepost Email App

Litepost is a new open source web application that’s taking a new approach to the long-ignored realm of webmail. The state of online email has been advanced enormously by Gmail and Yahoo in the past two years, but the webmail apps, particularly the open source ones, haven’t responded in kind. Litepost is worth keeping an eye on.

36 thoughts on “Litepost Email App

  1. Just about anything has got to be better than Horde or SquirrelMail. Those apps have been at a standstill, both in terms of features and appearance, for nearly three years. I’m definitely taking a look at this one.

  2. I thought i had seen this last year, but I couldn’t find any dates. Looking at the set up it is a bit more complicated then a normal shared hosting person would be able to use. That said, they seem to be using some standard stuff, so perhaps as it grows into a beta they’ll have the scripted install down. (or at least simplified).

  3. That looks pretty interesting. I’ve been using RoundCube which is pretty nice, but has some bugs, and isn’t very flexible (no ability to filter by header for stuff like spamassassin).

    I’ll definitely need to check out Litepost.

  4. What a complex install. There’s no way you’re going to get this running in shared, and it looks like a bit of a hassle to run on your own too.

    I’m always crossing my fingers waiting for that killer php/mysql webmail client to come along.

  5. Interesting, they’re walking the same path Roundcube and others have trod.

    The problem, is that they’re going up against Gmail and Google apps, which allows self hosted mail using gmail as the interface.

    I’ve tried using Roundcube, but in the end Gmail wins out.

    Litepost might break the drought and come out as a viable alternative..

  6. yes right google is leading the pack.. i hope litestep gets big enough and gains traction.. the first thing that they need to do is make the installation process fairly simple..

    and if possible as simple as the famous 5 minute install of wordpress. if they can do that, i see no reason why they can’t be the next wordpress for email..

  7. I love the look of Litepost and think their goals are great but I’m sick of the hype. I’ve been hearing about it since at least April this year. Just launch it already.

  8. I was interested until I read the site and found it’s really not open source at all, as the site asks that users “not deploy in commercial environments” or some such — which is clearly a violation of the Open Source Definition. The project shouldn’t tout itself as open source if it really isn’t. A shame, too — the world could use a few more good open source webmail clients.

  9. Check out the source package. There’s no license, or headers with copyright information. Also check out the last paragraph in the “Developers” page: “The Litepost Webmail Server is built on tried and true open web standards, such as PHP, allowing for endless ways to extend the product. And since it is open source, you are free to download, use, and modify the software in any way you see fit. We only ask that you do not commercially offer Litepost software to others, modified or otherwise.”

    I’ve already emailed OSI about it… however, this kind of proves that the Free / Open Source split wasn’t too useful. While it’s true that “Open Source” is more palatable to business as a term, that’s a mixed blessing as more and more companies seem to be abusing it, removing the necessary freedom element from Open Source.

  10. I believe that Litepost is just requesting that you don’t tell people that you made the application yourself and pass it off commercially as such. It says nothing about not deploying in commercial environments.

    “And since it is open source, you are free to download, use, and modify the software in any way you see fit. We only ask that you do not commercially offer Litepost software to others, modified or otherwise.”

  11. E-mail clients are great and all, but what has annoyed me with Google (I haven’t checked out Litepost yet) is the address book. Outlook has a superior address book in terms of organizational ability (I need to print out labels for addresses, and it’s nice to have each country formatted the right way when I print it out). Are there any such open-source address books that I could peruse?

  12. “And since it is open source, you are free to download, use, and modify the software in any way you see fit. We only ask that you do not commercially offer Litepost software to others, modified or otherwise.”

    I can’t really find out which license they use.

  13. When they launch their WordPress-powered blog, let me know… Until then, there’s no RSS goodness to be had, so I’ll never remember to give it another look.

  14. Nick: If you can’t sell it in modified or unmodified form, it’s not Open Source. I don’t think proprietary software is evil, but they shouldn’t lie.

  15. Rudy, the thing Outlook does not have is the ability to group together people by household. So that you can put the main address data on the household “uncle tim and aunt bettie” and then link tim and bettie to the household with their own profile data. I REALLY want that but haven’t found any open source application so far that does it that way Except for civiCRM and Siebel… but that’s a little bit big for my personal addressbook. SugarCRM also does not support households like Siebel does, a bit of a shame.

  16. It’s great that Litepost has made their app open source. The non-commercial requirement is just so that you do not directly compete with their hosted service.

    Installing it on your Intranet or for your small co/team is more what it’s built for re: open source.

    Slightly off-topic: the entitlement mentality around many open-source carpetbaggers is incredible. “you mean I get this source code created by hundreds of your man-hours worth tens of thousands of dollars, but you’re saying I can’t kill puppies with it? Gaaaaahhhh”

    Best of luck to Nathan on Litepost!

  17. Shanti, I’ve met Nathan and was hoping to support his product, but that requirement, while it may seem benign, makes it not open source. One of the most important freedoms in open source is the ability to use it for whatever you like. If you want to see the risk of arbitrary usage restrictions, replace “commercial use” with “Christian use” or “stem cell research use.”

    See this for more details:

  18. The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor.

    Puppy-killing is an endeavor. Not of mine… but I’d like to know I have the option.

  19. Shanti, you’re completely wrong… we’re not whining because “it’s open source but can’t use it to kill puppies”. We’re denouncing their lies, as Open Source can’t restrict your use of the software. No sane person can say OSI is a zealot organization, yet they stand firm in their definition of Open Source (with great successes, like the relicensing of SugarCRM under the GPL)

  20. Hey guys,

    Sorry — here was my interpretation of his “request” :

    That it was just that, a friendly request, not a requirement as in per a LICENSE file that one would be violating.

    If it is in fact a requirement, per an official license, then I 100% agree with you guys that it is not in fact open source.

    Nathan, any clarifications? =)

  21. Hi there everyone, I just posted this on Shanti’s blog.

    I’ve been offline for a few days so sorry I haven’t been able to participate more actively in the conversation.

    Sorry I hadn’t sufficiently understood this critical commitment of open source! Litepost IS open source; I don’t really care about commercial “competition” and WE WILL REMOVE THIS FROM THE WEBSITE/wording…

    LITEPOST IS COMMITTED TO BEING AND STAYING 100% OPEN SOURCE and I plan on making this more clear on subsequent versions of the website(s).
    Thanks to all for bringing this [important oversight] to my attention!

    PS. I’ve also been talking with Thomas Bruederli (at a very preliminary, introductory level) about merging Litepost with Roundcube (since they both have complimentary capabilities), etc.

    Hey Shanti [and everyone!]

    Thanks for buzzing me re this. Since the product isn’t remotely finished yet– we haven’t clarified the precise licensing provisions for the software.

    Suffice to say, we want to abide by all relevant FOSS rhymes and riddles, and while there may be a tacit request to limit direct competition, I agree with you that this may certainly violate the spirit of open source:

    So…I was actually planning on releasing the software under the NSL, Nate’s Software License, but I didn’t know if that would be too abominable or egotistical (to create yet another new license)…

    This isn’t finished yet…it’s a work in progress so please tell me what you think of it (!).

    NSL – Nate’s Software License v0.1 (aka GPLv4 LOL edition)


    Software is too easy, free and fun to a) charge exorbitant sums for and b) require complex legal documentation (or indeed ideally documentation of any kind!!). 🙂

    (Software is like sex and I don’t like getting my sex partners to sign contracts.)



    1. Litepost is totally free software. PLEASE FEEL FREE to do whatever the hell you want with it! 🙂
    2. Always use condiments.


    3. Interpretation of Section 1:

    *ie, as long as it’s legal, lawful, loving (abiding by all other relevant licenses) and in all other regards respectful and reasonable.

    Ideally, you will improve the software and contribute to the community.

    Naturally, there are no warranties for software released under the NSL. Please modify the NSL as you see fit and as it suits the situation. Please send any good ones you come up with to me at

    Thanks again for requesting the clarification; I am most happy to give it!

    Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, clarifications, advice.


  22. I think Nathan’s Reply is great (read above article at Shanti’s Dispatches) and makes it definitely worth keeping an eye on it.

  23. Nate, kudos on taking the high road here. As a (distant) supporter I’d mention that making a custom license for any app is a (very!) misguided idea for various reasons which I’m sure you’ll end up considering as you make the license decision–basically it creates major heartache in figuring out compatibility with other pieces in the open source ecosystem. There are enough open source licenses out there–resilient, vetted, proven, and even held up in court–that I’m certain you can find something that fits your requirements (BSD probably). Just something to consider. Best of luck with Litepost.

  24. Dear Matt,

    I emailed you about this a few days ago (as well as posting here), but I haven’t heard back from you, yet. I just wanted to note that FOR THE RECORD, Litepost IS open source and we have updated the website to that effect, in case that interests anybody.

    Please update your blog re this when you have a chance. (I don’t to continue spreading inaccurate info about Litepost, and am very sorry for the initial confusion!!)