Bill Moran writes:

One advantage of Maildir over mbox and the Cyrus db (that, for some reason,
I seldom see touted) is that you can make a safe backup of a Maildir without
shutting down the SMTP, POP, or IMAP server.

For a small/simple setup I think Maildir is most definitely the way to go.
From what I have seen so far working with Cyrus.. and from what I read...
Cyrus scales far beyond what can be easily done with most Maildir format.

With both mbox and the Cyrus
mail system, you have to shut the mail system down to back up the mail

Although that is true, using a database such as in Cyrus can in theory be a big speed booster.

it!  With both mbox and Cyrus, if you back up without stopping the server,
and entire mailbox will be corrupted if the file holding it's mail is in
use during backup and restoring will be difficult or impossible.

Maildir can also get corrupted. :-(
At least with Courier.. I have seen several folders go bad and Courier did not have enough functionality to easily find which folders had problems.

Once you've chosen to use Maildir, you can choose which softwares you want
to use to get mail into and out of your Maildirs.

Agree 100% that this is one great appeal of using Maildir. The ability to easily switch different alternatives.
I recommend PostgreSQL for the DB.

Until I started to work for an email provider I had never used Mysql, having used PostgreSQL for many, many years.. I must say that after using Mysql... I became to appreciate even more PostgreSQL. Coming from database administrator background I felt completely at home with PostgreSQL.

For the SMTP system I recommend Postfix.

I find postfix to be easy to use, easy to learn.. and highly stable and scalable. Great mailing list too.

For the POP/IMAP system, I recommend Dovecot.  I've been using it since it
was beta and it just works.

Does it scale better than Courier?
In particular I find Courier's footprint is about 3 to 5 MB per connection. A bit on the high side when one has hundreds of connections per machine.

over NFS, you can even run multiple computers all off the same backend.

I can attest to that. :-)

PostgreSQL is a little more of a commitment, but it seems as if support
for PostgreSQL is growing

It's a good choice. :-)

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