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[aclug-L] Re: MTAs & maildir vs mbox (was Re: Virtual POP3 and IMAP serv

[aclug-L] Re: MTAs & maildir vs mbox (was Re: Virtual POP3 and IMAP serv

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To: discussion@xxxxxxxxx
Subject: [aclug-L] Re: MTAs & maildir vs mbox (was Re: Virtual POP3 and IMAP server)
From: Steven Saner <ssaner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 11:58:00 -0500
Reply-to: discussion@xxxxxxxxx

On Fri, Oct 19, 2001 at 10:31:38AM -0500, Jonathan Hall wrote:
> Another question I have is maildir vs. mbox?  I'd discussed this with some
> others, and came to the conclusion that mbox would be more efficient for me
> since 99% of my users will dowload their mail w/ POP3, then delete it.  mbox
> uses far fewer inodes... and sequential messsage access should be much
> faster for mbox over maildir... right?

I will weigh in on this issue, since I haven't seen anyone else do
it. The word on the street is that Maildir rocks, period, end of
statement. There have been benchmarking tests done, and really there
isn't much difference in terms of speed unless you are dealing with
huge amounts of email. Yes Maildir does require more inodes, but in
today's cheap hardware world, that really isn't an issue (again,
unless you are are doing huge things). The major advantage of Maildir
is reliability. One message can not clobber the entire mail box. Also,
if a customer does have a bad message, you can delete the file, rather
than try to edit the mbox. If you want to think about moving your mail
spool to an NFS mounted box at some point, then this is about the only
way to do it to avoid bad file locking issues.

A cool trick that I learned about that you can do with Maildir is a
flexible pop bulletin like thing (I know that was one of your
requirements). You can create a file that has the message, and then
write a simple script to add a symbolic link to that file in each
customer's Maildir that you want to get it. When they check the mail,
they download it and then the POP server deletes the symbolic link, as
if it was a normal message.

I have had my time as a pro mbox person, but I see advantages in
changing that.

In my working with these things, I have looked at the following:

sendmail for MTA
procmail as a delivery agent that will deliver to Maildir
Courier IMAP for a Maildir IMAP server
Solid POP for a simple Maildir POP server

However, if you really want to do virtual email, I'm afraid that
looking at the QMail solution, may be the best (only?) way of doing it.

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