[Dovecot] Services not starting in 2.1 (or 2.2)

Tommy Wareing tommyw at ntlworld.com
Wed Jul 10 12:28:19 EEST 2013

I'm trying to install Dovecot onto my QNAP NAS. I apologise for this! It 
means I'm not working in a normal environment, and don't (necessarily) 
have the normal range of tools available (or the most up to date version 
of those tools).

It seems that 2.0.21 works (at least, as far as I've tested), but 2.1.17 
and 2.2.4 won't start up their child services.

I've got the source code for all three from 
http://www.dovecot.org/download.html, and, for experimental purposes, 
I'm configuring with:
./configure --prefix=/opt

The configure script ends by reporting:
Install prefix . : /opt
File offsets ... : 64bit
I/O polling .... : epoll
I/O notifys .... : inotify
SSL ............ : yes (OpenSSL)
GSSAPI ......... : no
passdbs ........ : static passwd passwd-file shadow checkpassword
                 : -pam -bsdauth -sia -ldap -sql -vpopmail
userdbs ........ : static prefetch passwd passwd-file checkpassword nss
                 : -ldap -sql -vpopmail
SQL drivers .... :
                 : -pgsql -mysql -sqlite

The dovecot.conf I'm using, at the moment, is the absolute minimal to 
fire things up:
protocols = imap
listen = *
ssl_cert = </opt/etc/ssl/certs/dovecot.pem
ssl_key = </opt/etc/ssl/private/dovecot.pem

dovecot -n is happy, and reports those four lines back to me.

When I start this up, I get, in /var/log/messages file:
Jul 10 10:09:28 QNAP mail.info dovecot: master: Dovecot v2.0.21 starting up (core dumps disabled)

and ps shows:
[admin at qnap dovecot]# ps -ef | grep dovecot
admin    11478     1  0 10:09 ?        00:00:00 /opt/sbin/dovecot
dovecot  11479 11478  0 10:09 ?        00:00:00 dovecot/anvil
admin    11480 11478  0 10:09 ?        00:00:00 dovecot/log
admin    11482 11478  0 10:09 ?        00:00:00 dovecot/config
admin    11525   455  0 10:10 pts/5    00:00:00 grep dovecot

All is right with the world! Well, until I try to use dovecot 
properly, at which point I'll need a full configuration. But it's 
alright so far! :)

However, if I go through the same routine with Dovecot 2.1.17, I get the 
appropriate message in messages:
Jul 10 10:12:45 QNAP mail.info dovecot: master: Dovecot v2.1.17 starting up (core dumps disabled)

But this time, ps shows:
[admin at qnap dovecot-2.1.17]# ps -ef | grep dovecot
admin    15259     1  0 10:12 ?        00:00:00 /opt/sbin/dovecot
admin    15294   455  0 10:12 pts/5    00:00:00 grep dovecot

and the child services don't seem to have started. This is born out by 
the fact that no network connections work: they stall, and then 
eventually time out (telnet localhost 143 produces no output at all, 
until I disconnect it). Even dovecot stop has trouble, taking several 
seconds before it returns me to the prompt, and *not* killing the 
existing process. dovecot -n is still happy however (and in a full 
configuration, components which don't require the services seem to work 
properly, such as dovecot-lda, if it doesn't require auth).

I'm not sure that I need those newer versions of dovecot, so I'll get 
back to version 2.0 for now. But I'd certainly like the option, and 
imagine that somebody else might care as to what the problem is!

Tommy Wareing

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