MUA not noticing new mail

Ian Eiloart iane at
Mon Sep 1 06:34:51 EDT 2008

--On 29 August 2008 12:48:48 -0500 Kenneth Marshall <ktm at> wrote:

> On Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 01:34:24PM -0400, Wesley Craig wrote:
>> On 29 Aug 2008, at 10:13, Kenneth Marshall wrote:
>>> We tried many IDLE options here, but so many clients had poor IDLE
>>> support that we ended up turning it off. The number of help desk
>>> calls such as the one above dropped essentially to zero after the
>>> change.
>> I wonder if you have some practical experience to share, e.g., which
>> clients & versions have poor IDLE support?
>> :wes
> Outlook/Outlook Express drove the change for us. They would open
> multiple IMAP connections (sent folder, deleted folder, INBOX, ...)
> but the only folder for which they would issue the IDLE command for
> properly was the INBOX. From the behavior of other clients, many
> had the same issue. Apparently Outlook counted on the IDLE for the
> INBOX counting for all additional IMAP connections to the same
> server.

I guess the other issue would be user understanding. I guess the ideal 
behaviour is that a client will open a connection to all mailboxes that it 
would otherwise be polling. Probably, some will rely on the user opening 
those mailboxes - which just isn't going to happen without substantial 

Having all those connections open presumably has a negative impact on 
scalability, too. For example, we use a cluster of OSX servers, each of 
which is limited in the kernel to 2500 open processes (and there is no way 
to change this!). I'd hate to think of all my users having several 
processes open just on the off chance that email will be delivered to them.

Ian Eiloart
IT Services, University of Sussex

More information about the Info-cyrus mailing list