Mercury Mail Transport System, Windows version
The Win32 version of Mercury (or Mercury/32 as it
is known) runs on Windows 95, 98, NT4, 2000, XP or Vista* workstations.
Mercury has currently only had limited testing under Windows
7, but to date no obvious problems have been found other
than those already present on Windows Vista*. It can provide mail services
to a single computer or a local area network. It has special support for the Novell
NetWare environment - it integrates with a NetWare LAN in exactly the same manner as the
NLM version of Mercury (in actual fact, Mercury/32 is more NetWare-aware
than its NLM-based counterpart!).
We think Mercury/32 is one of the richest, most powerful
mail processing environments you can get at any price, and
we believe that you will think so too after you've tried
it. Below is a partial list of the features Mercury offers.
- SMTP (server, relay-based
client and full end-to-end delivery client)
- POP3 (server and distributing
- IMAP4rev1 (with
multiple simultaneous access to the same mailbox)
- PH (server, for directory
- Finger (server, for
- PopPass (server, for
remote password changing)
- HTTP (server, for web-based
mailing list management)
- SSL (Secure sockets
layer) on SMTP, POP3 and IMAP servers
Core module features
- Service mode Mercury
can be run as a Windows Service, or as a simple application.
When running as a service, it can interact with the
Windows desktop if you are using Windows XP and
- Multiple domains Support
for multiple domains on one system. A single Mercury/32
server can service a practically unlimited number of
different e-mail domains.
- Aliases and addresses
Support for unlimited aliasing and alternative
address forms (so, a user can have any address, not
just his or her firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Autoresponders fully-programmable
automatic replies, including options allowing different
replies to be sent automatically depending on the day
of the week, the month, the time of day or during an
arbitrary range of dates. Mercury's autoreply logic
has extensive checks and balances to prevent mail loops
and mail storms, which are common in other systems
- Forwarding Full
support for automatic forwarding of mail, including
forwarding to multiple addresses.
- Filtering Comprehensive
mail filtering allowing an almost unlimited number of
tests and actions to be performed on a message. Filters
can be applied globally, only to outgoing mail, or
tied to specific addresses. We invented mail filtering
back in 1990, and ours is still amongst the most comprehensive
filtering engine you will find anywhere.
- Comprehensive content control
set up exacting rule-based tests to reduce or
eliminate unwanted "spam", or to monitor the
content of messages passing through the server.
- Bayesian spam filtering
A powerful Bayesian spam filter plugin is provided
as a standard feature of the program. Bayesian spam
filtering perfectly complements the program's general-purpose
and content control filtering mechanisms, and combined
with transaction filtering in the SMTP server can practically
eliminate spam on your system.
- Policies Apply
your own external tests to mail passing through the
system. For example, using a policy you can add comprehensive
virus scanning to your mail server at no cost by simply
linking it to a personal virus scanning tool.
- Mailing lists Mercury's
support for subscription-based mailing lists is so strong
it deserves its own section (see below for more details).
- Statistics Mercury
keeps detailed statistics of many aspects of system
operation, and can mail these to any address at an interval
- Templates All
notifications (such as delivery failure messages) can
be customized using a simple text editor.
- Multiple queues Mercury
can service queues on many servers: this is particularly
useful if you are using Pegasus Mail, since it allows
a single Mercury/32 system to service an almost unlimited
number of Novell NetWare or Windows NT servers.
- Autonomous mail server
Mercury has a built-in command-driven mail server
that can be used to perform list management, alter user
settings and more simply by sending it an e-mail message.
- Easy user interface
Mercury has an attractive, easy-to-use interface
that will be familiar to any Windows user - no need
to fiddle around with obscure text files to do configuration
(although you can also do that too, if you really want
- Domain mailboxes Mercury
makes it easy to create a single mailbox that receives
all mail addressed to a particular domain.
- NetWare support Mercury
has special support for Novell NetWare local area networks,
and can integrate with either NetWare NDS/eDirectory-based
systems (such as NetWare 5 and 6), or older Bindery-based
SMTP Server features (incoming mail)
- Compliant Full
support for RFC821/2821 transmission format, including
- Support for Authenticated
SMTP using LOGIN, PLAIN and CRAM-MD5 authenticators
- Relaying Exceptional
range of methods for handling relay prevention
- Greylisting Powerful
greylisting module included as a standard feature
- Transaction filtering
allows you to filter mail on almost any criterion
as it is actually received, in realtime.
- Size controls You
can choose to restrict the size of messages the server
will accept, and can allow exceptions to those restrictions for
authenticated users or users at specific IP addresses.
blacklisting Use transaction filters to
blacklist non-compliant, nuisance or zombie sites in
- Compliance testing
Simple checkbox interface allows you to enforce
client compliance with a wide range of RFC2821 and message
content conditions (example: you can reject any message
with no subject line by checking a single control).
- Killfiles allow mail
to be refused from certain domains or addresses
- Connection restrictions
allow connections to be refused from certain addresses
or address ranges.
- RBLs Support
for "spam blacklist" services (RBLs). You
can set up any number of blacklist query definitions
and can tag (mark with a header), redirect or reject
messages that are blocked by a service. Both address-based
and domain-based blacklist services are supported.
- Full session logging capability
allows you to record every character that passes between
the server and the connected client.
- Listen on multiple ports
- Mercury can listen on any port you choose and can
be told to listen to two different ports simultaneously
if you wish (handy for working behind firewalls or with
- Supports ESMTP size restrictions
for controlling the size of incoming mail
SMTP Client features (outgoing mail)
- Choose between either relaying
SMTP (where Mercury connects to another computer
to send mail) or full end-to-end
delivery. Relayed SMTP is especially useful behind
firewalls, or when you have an intermittent Internet
- Full session logging,
allows you to see every character that passes between
the client and the server to which it connects.
- Transcripts (MercuryE
only) - simply by adding an X-Transcript-To header to
your message, you can have Mercury send you back a detailed
transcript of the delivery transaction that takes place
with the recipient's server, providing excellent proof
delivery - MercuryE can have up to 100 simultaneous
mail deliveries occurring simultaneously.
POP3 Server features (remote new mail access)
- Connection restrictions
allow connections to be selectively permitted or refused
based on addresses or address ranges.
- Special profile options
allow you to tailor the behaviour of the mailbox, including
options to present only unread mail, options to make
deletions final, preventing deletions from the mailbox
POP3 profiles allow customization of the server's
behaviour for each mailbox.
Distributing POP3 Client features
- Can be configured to download mail from an unlimited
number of remote POP3 mailboxes and to process that
mail into any number of local mailboxes (so, you can
have four remote mailboxes all downloaded into one local
user, or each remote mailbox being downloaded to separate
- Supports "domain mailboxes" - can distribute
mail properly to local users even if all mail for your
domain ends up in a single mailbox. The POP3 client
uses extensive heuristics to work out exactly to whom
each message in a domain mailbox is actually addressed.
- Extensive customization options allow you to tailor
the behaviour of the client to suit your circumstances:
for instance, you can specify non-standard headers in
messages that contain recipient addresses, and you can
specify a "default user" who should receive
all mail that cannot be explicitly identified as local.
IMAP4rev1 Server features (remote mailbox access)
- Practically maintenance-free - no specific per-user
configuration is necessary: just turn the server on
and your users can retrieve mail using any IMAP-compliant
- Tested with many webmail packages that use IMAP
as a back end, including IMP, Twig, SquirrelMail and
- Allows multiple separate users to connect to the
same mailbox simultaneously - especially handy for helpdesks,
support lines and other situations where shared write
access to folders is required.
- Connection restrictions allow connections to be
selectively permitted or refused based on addresses
or address ranges
Subscriber-based Mailing List features
- Simple e-mail based subscription and unsubscription
- Web-based subscription management facilities
- Allows both moderated (managed) and unmoderated
mailing lists. For moderated lists, you can choose to
allow only moderators to post to the list, or to make
posting public, but to have moderators the only ones
able to add or remove subscribers. A "primary moderator"
can also be designated to receive rejected list postings
- Extensive error-handling options, including full
support for VERP (automated error management).
- Member lists can be made available to subscribers
or not, as required. Simple mail-based commands allow
enumeration of list membership where it is permitted.
- "Rolling archives" of all mail posted
to lists can be created automatically.
- You can control where errors resulting from list
mail delivery should be sent
- You can create "welcome" and "farewell"
messages that are automatically sent to subscribers
on creation and termination of their subscription respectively.
- Confirmed subscription (double-opt-in): you can
force users to send a special confirmation message before
their subscription becomes activated.
- Full support for automatic generation of mail digests,
using the MIME digest format. Individual subscribers
may choose whether or not to receive list mail in digest
form. When digests are sent can be based on either digest
size or elapsed time.
- Subscription expiration - subscriptions can be configured
to expire after a certain number of days.
- Posting restrictions: lists can be configured to
accept mail from anyone, from subscribers and moderators
only, or from moderators only.
- Size restrictions: lists can be configured not to
distribute mail larger than a size you specify.
- Password-controlled submission: lists can be configured
to accept mail for distribution only if a specific password
header is present in the message (many mail clients,
such as Pegasus Mail, allow you to add custom headers
to your messages). Moderators and subscribers can have
separate and different sets of passwords..
- Full support for RFC2369 List URL header fields
for automating common subscription tasks for subscribers.
- Replies can be forced to go to the list instead
of the original sender or not, as required.
- Automatic subject line modification: you can force
certain text into the Subject line of messages distributed
to lists, usually to assist with mail filtering by subscribers.
- Encryption of mail distributed to lists is possible
if your subscribers use Pegasus Mail.
- Anonymous lists - you can create lists that automatically
"anonymize" the mail they send - this is especially
useful for "suggestion boxes" or for subjects
involving sensitive content.
- Rich subscriber settings: subscribers can be "active",
"on vacation" (i.e, their subscription automatically
turns on again after a set period) "inactive"
(i.e, still belong to the list and able to post to it,
but not receiving distributions) or "barred"
(i.e, prohibited from subscribing in future).
- Subscriber statistics - see at a glance when a subscriber
joined the list, when he or she last posted, and how
many postings he or she has made to date.
- Easy GUI list
management, including simple options for copying and
Scheduling module features
- Mercury includes an "overseer" module
that controls connection to the Internet. If loaded,
this module can control when and how often Internet
connections should occur, including separately-settable
peak and off-peak settings for each day of the week
(so, you can have it connect less frequently during
the weekend, for example). The scheduling module integrates
with other protocol modules to ensure that they are
active when they need to be, and is especially well-suited
to environments where the Internet connection is intermittent,
such as dialup, ADSL or ISDN systems.
... And much, much more. We haven't even touched on user
interface features like consoles, activity monitors, speed
search in lists, pause options for each module... There's
an enormous amount in there, and the only way to grasp how
comprehensive the system really is is to install it. We
hope this list has whetted your appetite, though.
* Windows Vista: In
Windows Vista, Microsoft no longer supports the WinHelp
help system used by Mercury, but they have failed to provide
a functional alternative (HTMLHelp is too badly broken to
use). We have developed a replacement help system of our
own, which will be fitted to an upcoming version of Mercury:
in the meantime, to use the Mercury help system under Vista,
you will need to download WinHelp from the Microsoft web
site (we are forbidden to make it available to you). Aside
from the usual annoyances associated with Microsoft's ridiculous
Vista UAC scheme, there are no other issues we know of when
running Mercury under Windows Vista or (we assume) Windows
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