On 7/11/2006 11:18 AM, Greg Groth wrote:
On 7/11/2006 9:29 AM, albi wrote:
Erik Norgaard wrote:


I would like to ask a couple more in depth questions pertaining to this conversation. We recently switched from POP3 & Outlook Express to IMAP using IMAP-UW & Thunderbird. Personally I have had no issues with IMAP-UW, but the users in our office have had issues with the mbox format itself. Specifically they cannot store messages & subfolders within a folder (referring to the Thunderbird definition of a folder). In mbox, since a given folder is not a directory, but a file, you cannot place a subfolder within that file. Outlook Express' POP3 implementation did not have this behavior. Right or wrong, my users have requested that I attempt to restore this functionality in IMAP. Am I correct in assuming that if I switch to a mdir format server, it will operate in the manner they are requesting?

I do this with Thunderbird and Dovecot using maildir for IMAP users.


My next question is in regards to scalability, not so much in the way of users, but in the amount of mail they store. Currently we have about 20 email accounts, and for the most part the users keep their email to a reasonable amount. However I do have 5 users that insist they save everything, and do not clean out their InBoxes. Currently they retain email going back 5 years, and have mail folders in excess of a couple of gigs apiece. Since one of these people is the owner, I have little chance of changing this policy. However they are asking that I attempt to increase the response time of the IMAP server, which can be somewhat slow for them - especially through SquirrelMail. Would the mdir format help in this situation as well?

I saw a dramatic improvement in speed with both Thunderbird and Squirrelmail after switching from mbox to maildir.


Last question, how difficult is it to back up the mdir format? Currently I cron a tar job, nightly, to backup the mboxes to another server to allow for tape backups (the tape unit on the server in question doesn't want to play nice with FreeBSD), and have had no difficulty in accomplishing this. Can I accomplish the same style of backups when moving to mdir?

I rsync both mbox and maildir message stores with no problem. Tar should copy your maildir folders with no problem. You might be slightly surprised when you realize each message is a separate file with maildir.


I'm in the middle of setting up a server to try out various IMAP servers to test which would provide the best response for our specific needs (low number of users - high volume of saved email), and would appreciate any opinions on the matter as it would probably save considerable time picking the right software to begin with.


Dovecot was simple to install (from ports), has sensible defaults, lets me seamlessly support POP and IMAP users (about 100), with inboxes (/var/mail/username) still in mbox format, but all other folders in maildir format for IMAP users.

Dovecot's developer, Timo Sirainen, is active and extremely helpful on the mailing list.

Ron Wilhoite

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