[Dovecot] why is there email in my mbox file?

Jochen Schulz ml at well-adjusted.de
Fri Feb 9 08:35:16 UTC 2007

Kendall Shaw:
> Jochen Schulz <ml at well-adjusted.de> writes:
>> Kendall Shaw:
>>> But, I see there's a big mbox file (/var/mail/me) that
>>> keeps growing. Is dovecot using that as the store of messages?
>> Probably. Why don't you take a look?
> I've taken a look at the file and no thoughts appeared while I was doing that.


> I see there is both the file in /var/mail/me and in /home/me/.dovecot
> there are a number of files that seem to correspond to the IMAP
> folders.
> In dovecot.conf I have:
> default_mail_env = mbox:~/.dovecot/:INBOX=/var/mail/me

Ah, ok. That means that Dovecot expects mail to be delivered to
/var/mail/me which is an mbox file and all other folders are created in
~/.dovecot/, which is a maildir.

You mentioned you are using fetchmail. Does that deliver to
/var/mail/me? As far as I can tell, fetchmail reinjects POP'ped mail to
your local MTA (exim).

> It was unclear to me if the directory other than the one labeled INBOX
> was required.

No, it's not. I only have
mail_location = maildir:/srv/mail/%Ld/%Ln

(It's a virtual domain setup, that's why I have a different folder per

> I was guessing that dovecot might take the messages out
> of the inbox and put them into the other path.

Not until you tell it do to so (with your IMAP client).

> mb2md -m

If I understand the documentation of mb2md correctly, that converted
your /var/mail/me to maildir. How does it look like now? (I mean the
contents of that file/directory.)

> mb2md -s /var/mail/me -R

And I think this one copied whatever was in /home/me/.dovecot to
/home/me/Maildir. Do you have such a folder?

> I also changed dovecot.conf to use:
> default_mail_env = maildir:~/Maildir

Looks fine if you want to have all your mail below that directory (which
is very common).

> And changed exim to use Maildir instead of my mbox file, using the
> lines in the example for debian on the dovecot main page.

If exim is really delivering mail to your mailboxes, then I guess this
should be fine as well. I don't know exim good enough, though.

> The result is that I get no mail. The log file looks essentially the same with some variations.
> Using mbox, logging in looks like:

It would probably be more interesting to see what exim looks, as it
appears not to be able to deliver. But I am quite stuck in the dark.

> Feb  8 14:42:52 pokey dovecot: IMAP(me): mbox: root=/home/me/.dovecot, index=/home/me/.dovecot, inbox=/var/mail/me
-- snip
> Feb  8 14:34:11 pokey dovecot: IMAP(me): maildir: root=/home/me/Maildir, index=/home/me/Maildir, control=, inbox=
> Do I need to indicate where the inbox is somehow in default_mail_env?

I don't think so. If I were you, I would try to inspect where exim
actually delivers mails.

Ultimately, the Millenium Dome is a spectacular monument of the
doublethink of our times.
[Agree]   [Disagree]
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