doveadm/doveconf as user tries and fails to read host key

jimc jimc at
Mon Aug 24 02:38:18 EEST 2020

Distro: OpenSuSE Tumbleweed for x86_64
Failing version: dovecot23-  Install Date: 2020-08-18
Reverting to previous version works: dovecot23-
(Packages downgraded coordinately: dovecot23 dovecot23-backend-sqlite)

How to make it fail: As the user, execute
     doveadm expunge mailbox Spam37 savedbefore 3day #User's actual cmd
     doveadm who #The simplest possible command, for testing
It says:
     doveconf: Fatal: Error in configuration file
     /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-ssl.conf line 12: ssl_cert:
     Can't open file /etc/ssl/hostcerts/hostw.cia: Permission denied

The actual EPERM occurs trying to traverse a directory in 
but the next configuration item to be read (in the SSL section) is the
host's private key, and the user is surely not ever going to get
permission to read that.  (I did test giving the user permission to the
750 directory and it did attempt to read the private key, failing.)
If you run it as root, of course it works because root has read 
The initial failure was seen running as the user from cron.

Behavior seen in strace: doveadm execs doveconf; doveconf reads the
configuration and saves it somewhere (shared memory?); doveconf execs
the next program which in this case is doveadm with its original command
line; and doveadm now knows its configuration.  I can re-do and post
the strace if needed.

I don't know why doveconf is reading the SSL keys in when it
didn't in, but if the idea is to read the complete
configuration in case it might be needed in obscure situations, a
possible workaround is to not die on unreadable secrets and to report
those either as unset or as a new "error" symbol, letting the consumer
(doveadm) deal with the fallout, or in this case ignore it.

Attached: sysreport.gz ; doveconf-n.out
Dovecot's working files and user mailboxes are on ext4 filesystems; NFS
is not involved.
The mail reader is Roundcube webmail.

James F. Carter   Email: jimc at
Web: (q.v. for PGP key)
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