This is from a document that I wrote years ago, but couldn’t figure out where to find someone interested in developing it. (My skillz end before virtualization, automation, and coding begin.) Note this was also before I discovered the MiaB project.
Consumer-grade email server and network gateway appliance
An email server appliance configured to support non-technical-user administration. The network gateway is included to simplify establishing firewall configurations required for supporting an email server.
Since there has not been a consumer-grade email server appliance offered prior to this project, market prospects are speculative, but may include:
Tech and gadget enthusiasts who do not want to put in the time to manage or learn how to configure and manage their own email server.
Lawyers and other professionals that deal with sensitive information, but cannot afford professional IT support. An example may include a lawyer who regularly goes up against a government, which has free access to all emails centrally hosted with remote providers. Whistle-blowers have revealed official policies for sharing NSA warrantless surveillance with various law enforcement entities for the specific purpose of parallel construction, though this information is likely available for any purpose desired, such as tracking the efforts of a criminal defense attorney or plaintiff in a civil suit.
Journalists who do not have the resources to otherwise keep their email communications private.
Non-technical consumers desiring to remove themselves from centralized email databases.
The primary selling point is providing an incremental improvement in privacy. For non-technical consumers, there currently exists only the option of using remote, centralized databases for email or hiring a professional to configure and maintain their equipment.
As an added benefit, customers also gain an enterprise-grade network gateway. Many consumer gateways are becoming popular vectors for attack due to poor security practices.
Conceptual design for demonstrative purposes:
Configure existing, well-established FOSS tools in a manner to meet a suitable feature set that is also very stable. For example, XenServer could be installed running pfSense as the network gateway and a Debian LEMP stack with Postfix and Dovecot with MariaDB support plus Roundcube for webmail access.
There would need to be an additional layer developed to provide a GUI for configuring some settings on all instances in a manner that is suitable for non-technical users.
Hardware upgrades may be sold so that consumers can have the option of getting project support for upgraded components. For example, even a simple NIC addition may cause issues if the consumer is not familiar with networking, so selling NICs that provide plug-n-play functionality (“just works”) will have a value proposition greater than standard discounted prices or even MSRP.
Software plugins that add additional functionality can require licensing or subscriptions for official support. For example, a VoIP server plugin may be highly desirable to many customers as it can add an additional layer of privacy by both decentralizing voice services and substantially improving encryption. A child content-control tool at the gateway level could provide very powerful content protection for parents.
The server may be viewed more generally as an opportunity to decentralize a substantial number of consumer products and services by providing relatively limited-capability, low-maintenance server stacks.