Mailbox Formats

 The following mailbox formats are now supported:

unix slow

no subfolders

files in home directory

mdbox fastest

subfolders

files on server

maildir fast

subfolders

files on server

 

  • unix - standard mailbox format.  Files for mailbox or unix mailboxes are stored in your home directory in a subdirectory called $HOEM/Mail.  Your inbox is stored in /var/spool/mail/$USER
     
  • mdbox - Dovecot high-performance mailbox format multi-dbox.  This is the preferred format if you are using multiple clients and/or have large mailboxes.  Data for this mailbox format is stored on the server and is not accessible from your home directory.  mdbox uses a database to track messages and is extremely quick.  mdbox supports subfolders of folders.
     
  • maildir - qmail maildir format, each message is stored in a separate file within a .maildir directory.  The files for maildir are stored on the server and are not accessible from your home directory.

Note:

When using mdbox or maildir formats, .forward and procmail must not be used.  To forward email, use a sieve filter, likewise use sieve instead of procmail.  To use .forward or procmail with mdbox requires special rules, as outlined here.

 

To switch between the different mailbox formats requires changes to your account.  We provide a script to do so called "mailbox".  You can invoke mailbox from a terminal window to view or change the mailbox format of your account.

[mguest20@ssh0 ~]$ mailbox
Mail delivery for mguest20
  Mail currently set to mdbox delivery
  (mailmessagestore: mdbox:/var/imap/mguest20/mdbox:INDEX=/var/indexes/mguest20/mdbox)

[mguest20@ssh0 ~]$ mailbox -h
Usage: mailbox [options] [username username2 username3 ...]
when called without a mailbox format, print mail delivery information
about named accounts. Shows mail delivery for current user if no username given

Change mail delivery if format option given.

Options:
  --version      show program's version number and exit
  -h, --help     show this help message and exit
  -x, --mdbox    Set delivery to mdbox
  -m, --maildir  Set delivery to maildir
  -p, --mbox     Set delivery to mbox/plain
  -v, --verbose  Print verbose information
  -d, --debug    Print debugging information
[mguest20@ssh0 ~]$ mailbox -p
Please enter your password:
[mguest20@ssh0 ~]$ mailbox
Mail delivery for mguest20
  Mail currently set to mbox delivery
  (mailmessagestore: mbox:/home/guest/mguest20/Mail:INBOX=/var/spool/mail/mguest20)

[mguest20@ssh0 ~]$ mailbox -x
Please enter your password:
[mguest20@ssh0 ~]$ mailbox
Mail delivery for mguest20
  Mail currently set to mdbox delivery
  (mailmessagestore: mdbox:/var/imap/mguest20/mdbox:INDEX=/var/indexes/mguest20/mdbox)

[mguest20@ssh0 ~]$

When you change between formats, new email to you will be delivered to the new format's default Inbox.  If you wish to transfer your current email to the new format, you will need to contact the help desk (until documentation for the process is finalized).  The script imap_upload.py is useful when transfering from a unix format inbox to a mdbox or maildir format.  The script is installed in /usr/ias/bin.