[svlug] mbox vs. maildir?

Donald K. Wilson dkw at red4est.com
Wed Nov 18 23:31:38 PST 2015

On 11/17/2015 03:21 PM, Akkana Peck wrote:
> All this (interesting and useful -- thanks, everyone!) discussion
> of procmail and dovecot and fetchmail is making me think about
> reorganizing how I deal with mail.
> I see that dovecot prefers to use maildir format, while I've
> always used mbox, except for one brief and unsuccessful attempt
> about a decade ago. It's probably time to rethink that.
> I'm curious: how many of you who use tools like dovecot and mutt
> use maildir, and how many use mbox? Did everybody but me switch to
> maildir long ago? Is forcing dovecot to use mbox asking for trouble?
> Anybody use mailsync, offlineimap, isync/mbsync or a similar tool?
> Having local folders I can read offline is a must (Rick's ssh-to-the-
> server doesn't work for me, alas), but it would be great to have
> folders on the server with remote IMAP access when I want it. I
> experimented with mailsync (mbox) and offlineimap (maildir) in the
> distant past, with mixed results, but I don't know if any of them
> are still maintained or what works best now.
>          ...Akkana

The domain of my primary email address has gone from a server on a 
friend's desk, to a virtual server in another state, and back to a 
virtual server on a machine in my attic. The configuration has gone from 
mbox format with procmail delivery to Dovecot with maildir and procmail 
filtering. It's currently Dovecot with procmail as LDA and mbox format. 
I don't remember any problems configuring it to use mbox. I can see the 
pros and cons of both, but everyone who logs in locally prefers mbox. 
The one thing I obsessed about was checking to make sure that anything 
writing to mail files was using the same file locking protocol (and 
adding the locks back to .procmailrc). It seems to have functioned to 
spec for five years without problems or non-routine admin intervention. 
If this was asking for trouble it seems not to have been answered. YMMV. 
Mutt seems to work more easily with mbox, but that could just be me.

After seeing the emails about mail logged but not delivered, I'm 
thinking of having yesterday's log file delivered to me every morning. I 
suspect that my configuration is simple enough that it would take a 
fairly serious bug to drop anything, buy who knows?


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