Why are user inboxes called "user.some-user" ?

Nic Bernstein nic at onlight.com
Thu Jul 16 16:46:53 EDT 2015

It's important to keep clear the difference between what the server 
knows about, such as "user", "news", "some-shared-folder" and what the 
client presents to you, such as "Other Users", "Shared Folders", etc.  
The former map to actual hierarchy elements, whereas the latter are 
purely abstractions.

Similarly, there is abstraction between a user's mailboxes and what they 
see in their client.  The user "fred" will, by default, have the mailbox 
named user.fred (or user/fred if unixhierarchysep is enabled) but it 
will appear to them as INBOX in their client. Depending upon the setting 
of altnamespace, a user's mailbox named "user.fred.Stuff" may appear as 
"INBOX.Stuff" or as "Stuff".

If you're exporting NNTP via IMAP, then the 'newsprefix' option is used 
to determine the root of the net news hierarchy.  For example, if 
imapd.conf has "newsprefix: netnews" then the comp.mail.imap newsgroup 
would be found in the netnews.comp.mail.imap folder, which might appear 
in, for example, Thunderbird as "Shared Filders/netnews/comp/mail/imap"

Check out the docs here:


PS - I've listed the 2.4.17 link on the old site as some of the stuff on 
the new site, docs.cyrus.foundation, aren't working yet.

On 07/16/2015 03:02 PM, Conrad Kleinespel wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> I hope you are all having a nice week :-)
> I am wondering why user inboxes have to be created as "user.some-user"
> instead of just "some-user" within the Cyrus IMAP server. I have a few
> ideas, but am unsure:
> - is it because all "user.*" inboxes have, by default, the same
> permissions as "user" ?
> - is it just so that emails are stuffed inside the
> "/var/spool/imap/user/some-user" folder on disk ?
> - something else ?
> Also, what are some cases where using something other than "user.*"
> might be useful ? I noticed shared mailboxes are sometimes created as
> "shared.some-shared-user", which creates a
> "/var/spool/imap/shared/some-shared-user" directory for incoming email.
> But that's all I have noticed about it.
> Thanks a lot for your help.
> Best regards,
> Conrad Kleinespel
> conradk at conradk.com
> +33 6 23 82 42 79
> ----
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Nic Bernstein                             nic at onlight.com
Onlight, Inc.                             www.onlight.com
1442 N Farwell Ave., Suite 600            v. 414.272.4477
Milwaukee, Wisconsin  53202

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