Patrick Goetz pgoetz at
Tue Sep 21 22:12:30 EDT 2010

On 9/20/2010 8:59 AM, Marc Patermann wrote:
> And still, if someone asks a mailing list (not here certainly) how to 
> start with IMAPd, many people shout, to go with dovecot and not using Cyrus.

Hi -

A little late to this thread, but here are a couple of modest observations:

I have cyrus and dovecot installations (with postfix smtp).  dovecot
doesn't support an lmtp transport, which I finally decided was a deal
killer.  In our (~1000 user) dovecot system, we're using procmail to
ferry messages from the smtp server to dovecot deliver.  One very
disturbing recent finding is that with some regularity messages are not
being delivered with no notification to the sender -- they just get
dropped. We think it's an ldap authentication problem, but it doesn't
really matter what the cause is:  mail should either be delivered or
someone should find out that it wasn't withough having to snoop around
in log files.   Procmail is *supposed* to send this stuff back up the
pipe when something goes wrong, but it's not happening.  Using lmtp is
clean and simple and affords the administrator a huge amount of
flexibility when using postfix:

  mailbox_transport = lmtp:unix:/var/run/cyrus/socket/lmtp

This doesn't work with dovecot; you have to use the mailbox_command.

I hate Maildir, and Maildir+ is a kludge.  I have some users whose mail
folders are nested multiple levels deep, and when push comes to shove
it's nice to be able to use the file system to examine mail messages
easily.  dovecot will eventually support some new format called dbox,
but when I asked him about it, the dovecot developer told me that it's
not production quality yet.  The simple filesystem mail message
interface is another thing I like about cyrus.

So, why the sudden popularity of dovecot?  It could come down to
documentation.  The cyrus documentation currently is beyond terrible.
Dovecot has an excellent wiki which covers an awful lot of use cases.
Further, the dovecot developer (I think there's only one) is a nice guy
whom you can frequently find on IRC.  I've learned a lot about debugging
imap problems directly from him.

That said, after spending the summer on the cyrus-devel list, I have a
lot of confidence in the work that particularly Bron Gondwana has been
doing and think that with -- with an infusion of some clear
documentation, a project I'm more than happy to contribute to -- cyrus
can probably become the default open source imap server.

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