[Dovecot] Moving new email from the mail spool to the inbox

Timo Sirainen tss at iki.fi
Wed May 9 10:25:37 EEST 2007

On Sat, 2007-05-05 at 14:48 +0100, Adrian Barker wrote:
> That's right: we cannot change the way that we deliver email, at least
> in the short to medium term, so need to maintain compatibility with the
> UW IMAP server. If we do decide to write a plugin that copies new email
> from the mail spool to the IMAP inbox, is there any documentation on how
> to write plugins ? I could not find any on the wiki.

There's currently no documentation for them. You could look at mail-log
plugin or quota plugin for an example. In any case what you'd want to do
is hook into sync_init() and do the moving there before calling the
parent sync_init().

There are two ways to do this:

a) Dummy copying to ~/mbox. This is slower because then Dovecot needs to
reread the new messages from ~/mbox and write X-UID etc. headers.

b) Open /var/mail/user as read-only mailbox with in-memory indexes.
You'll need to temporarily add MAIL_STORAGE_FLAG_FULL_FS_ACCESS to
storage->flags so that you can open the mailbox. Then use mailbox_copy()
to copy them to ~/mbox.

In both cases after copying is successful, truncate the /var/mail/user.
If something went wrong... well, you should probably at least try to not
leave duplicate mails lying there. With b) option it's easy with

See lib-storage/mail-storage.h and lib-storage/mail-storage-private.h

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