[Dovecot] Stale imap processes

Pete Slagle list-dovecot at voidcaptain.com
Wed Aug 2 03:38:00 EEST 2006

Fran Fabrizio wrote:

> Anyone have any theories or experiences as to why for a certain user, 
> some of his imap processes hang, and stay around for days and days?  He 
> just reported that his Thunderbird was timing out when trying to open 
> folders, I looked on the server, and he had 3 old imap processes from 1 
> week+ ago.  I killed those and his performance immediately improved.
> He checks mail with Thunderbird > 1.5 from both Win and Linux, 
> Squirrelmail webmail, and pine.  Of those, pine is the only one that is 
> somewhat rare around here - any specific problems with pine's imap 
> client code that anyone knows about?
> We have been using the dovecot-1.0-0.beta2.7 rpm for Fedora Core 5, I'm 
> updating to 1.0-0.beta8.2.fc5 to see if that helps, as well.  Just 
> curious if anyone else has seen this lately.
> Thanks,
> Fran

I have just seen this problem, big time. I was poking around on a
FreeBSD 6.1 server because of Thunderbird hangs (see thread
"dovecot-1.0rc2 problems with Thunderbird" if you are interested), and I
found over 900 (!) imap process. Only two users were using the dovecot
server at the time.

I restarted dovecot, but this did NOT kill the multitudinous imap
processes. After another restart, with a 'killall imap' in the middle,
things were temporarily fine, but the number of imap processes
immediately started to grow again. Apparently they never exit. or use
any CPU, but just sit around in KQREAD state, eventually getting swapped
out. No error messages are generated.

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