[Dovecot] Confusion when trying to set up a first postfix+dovecot mailserver

Charles Marcus CMarcus at Media-Brokers.com
Sun Jul 22 13:41:26 EEST 2012

On 2012-07-22 5:53 AM, Hans J. Albertsson > As an example, to wit, in the
> http://wiki2.dovecot.org/SharedMailboxes/Public doc, there's a line
> "In the above example, you would then create Maildir mailboxes under the
> /var/mail/public/ directory."
> and a colour plate plate showing a directory listing.
> # ls -la /var/mail/public/
> drwxr-s--- 1 root mail 0 2007-03-19 03:12 .
> drwxrws--- 1 root mail 0 2007-03-19 03:12 .lkml
> drwxrws--- 1 root mail 0 2007-03-19 03:12 .bugtraq
> -rw-rw---- 1 root mail 0 2007-03-19 03:12 dovecot-shared
> I am guessing that this means I'm supposed to do mkdir dovecot-shared
> inside /var/mail/public.

Since it isn't listed as a directory, I'm confused as to why would you 
guess that?

dovecot-shared is a FILE, not a directory.

The 3rd line below that example on that page specifically says:

"The dovecot-shared FILE..."

It seems to me that you aren't even bothering to read these docs, andit 
is more like all you want to do is complain that there is nothing 
already written holding your hand through every possible config that you 
want to accomplish.

Dovecot is primarily written by one guy (Timo), and he does a remarkable 
job of both coding and documenting dovecot on the wiki, as well as 
answering support questions here on the list, and while sometimes there 
are a few days before he answers many questions, serious bug reports 
generally get prompt attention, and I don't think I've ever seen him not 
respond to a question in time.

There is no doubt that dovecot could really use some good, experienced 
technical writers that could help Timo with documenting dovecot to make 
it easier to learn by someone new to it, and I'm sure he would welcome 
that help - are you volunteering?

> Sorry if I'm being horridly difficult, but I think (from experiencing it
> as a user) dovecot is too good not to have proper tutorials and howtos.

Well, dovecot's intended audience isn't a 'user', it is experienced 
system/mail admins, but if you are volunteering to help Timo (and the 
dovecot community) out by improving the wiki documentation and/or 
creating some of these HowTos from the perspective of someone totally 
new to dovecot (and maybe even IMAP servers in general), then I am quite 
certain that Timo will welcome such help.

And as for documentation in the form of books, you cannot compare 
dovecot to postfix in this regard.

Postfix is one of the most mature, stable projects out there - it's core 
functionality basically never changes (only the rare bug fixes), and 
major new features are pretty rare too, so even books written 8 years 
ago are still fairly relevant (and generally are only missing the new 

With dovecot, things are very different. It is still very young and 
changing rapidly, and probably will continue to do so as Timo adds new 
features on his ToDo list. A book written even a year ago would not have 
much use to someone using the current version today. As it matures and 
features stabilize, this will change, and I'm hopeful that in a year or 
two, dovecot will stabilize to the point that some of the talented book 
writers out there will take on such a huge project - but none of them 
want to do that right now because dovecot is such a fast moving target.


Best regards,


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