Why Cyrus?

Niels Dettenbach nd at syndicat.com
Fri Jan 19 09:55:10 EST 2018

Am Freitag, 19. Januar 2018, 12:29:03 CET schrieb Patrick Goetz:
> That makes the choice kind of clear, in my mind.  AFAIK Dovecot is
> developed by just one person (or at the very least a small team) of
> volunteer developers.  If he/they get bored and move on to something
> else ...   Meanwhile, Cyrus now has commercial backing, which makes it a
> much more securely stable platform choice if you're just starting out
> and trying to decide which one to go with.
after different experiences before and - from time to time - during nearly 
two decades of cyrus usage now i feel very similiar.

There was a time where voices rumored abut "cyrus is cdead" from the Dovecot 
scene. The "marketing" was much stronger then for cyrus (or other top class / 
tier "internet standard software"). Since that time i've stumbled over 
Dovecot setups in companies etc. which had different kind of problems during 
required scaling - mostly resulted in any kind of reliability (crashes, 
hangs, any "unwanted" behaviour), while not all of them are directly related 
to the Dovecote code, but "bugs" in the environment (i.e. Linux Distro, 
Network Setup, Hardware). After migrating to cyrus i got the very most of the 
problems away. But this may - at least partly - related to my better cyrus 
knowledge then with Dovecot. And cyrus seems really reliable under any POSIX/
Unix i saw / administered it (different Linux distros, FreeBSD, NetBSD, LXC/

Some of the setups are not restarted over years while under daily load / 
usage. The security profile of cyrus is top - urgent security updates was - at 
least at that time - significantly less often required.

Thousand thanks to the cyrus devels for your work!

Means: I would recommend cyrus for your scenario. The time you possibly 
"save" during initial setup with a Dovecot "out of the box" will typically 
cost much more time later (at least if you need the IMAP server longer then 
for a few days project or so).

> The biggest ongoing problem with Cyrus is the documentation, not that
> it's harder to install.  Cyrus is, if anything, easier to install than
> Dovecot (modulo distro packaging, which is the main difference here).
> The Dovecot guy writes very good documentation, and until recently
> trying to get information about how to set up Cyrus was like pulling
> teeth. I'm always having to appeal to this list whenever an issue comes
> up.  Recently I set up a vacation notification system.  Super easy AFTER
> A MONTH SPENT researching how to do it. I'm still not completely clear
> on how to set up multiple virtual mailhosts, either; my next onerous
> email research project.
+1 too,
at least at our beginning many many years ago we had a lot of "trail and 
error" fiddeling to get up a (from our view at that time) "typical Hosting ISP 
Mail-POP") Virtual Hosting IMAP server up and running. 

There was no real HOWTO's for (more or less) "typical" setup cases. The 
developers may tought cyrus is a "ISP level" software and users have to read 
and understand the complete software before even starting installing it.

Since FastMail has it under his fingers, the situation seems got better - but 
i can understand if "newbies" go to Dovecot instead which "seems to set up 

Possibly a community driven howto WIKI or similiar could be nice? I would try 
to help a bit / spend some time regularly too if required.

> Op 17-01-18 om 12:33 schreef Sebastian Hagedorn:
> > I'd say it's the better choice for large-scale deployments with tens and
> > hundreds of thousands of users.
> I understand, but in my case it's less big. I guess 5000-7000 mailboxes.

We use cyrus with very small (2-5 with a few mails per day) up to "relatively 
large" installations with ~300k mails per day. After that long experience i 
[could feel | got] a cool mind about imap machines administered from me/us. 
cyrus scales smoothly and - after "understanding" the "cyrus way" of handling 
mailboxes - propably "limitless" while it perfectly integrates into different 
OS environments and network infrastructures. 

so far my two cents,
best regards,


 Niels Dettenbach
 Syndicat IT & Internet
 PGP: https://syndicat.com/pub_key.asc

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