From: Richard Butler (
Date: Wed Apr 15 1998 - 05:30:16 CDT

  I didn't get as many answers as I had hoped to my questions,
particularly question 1: (full original message below signature).

Thanks to:
  Karl Vogel <>
  James Ford <>
  Chris Phillips <chris@scooter.Canada.Sun.COM>
  Chris Marble <>

 1.Why store read mail in /var/mail instead of moving it to the user's
   home directory? SIMS does this and there appears to be no way to change
  In general those who answered were against this, for security reasons or
for setting quotas. The var/mail solution appears to be the best way if
you have multiple mail servers mounting this directory (not my case). Many
people use procmail or qmail to store even new mail directly in $HOME.

 2.Can I force users to move their read mail to another folder?

  No. Not in any practical way except through quotas and/or threats.

 3.What will break if I compile imapd/pop3d and replace the SIMS versions?

  Don't know.

Since the answers above confirmed my personal feeling that IMAP with the
mbox option is what I want (and have used happily for 7 years on another
machine). For those who don't know about it - imapd and pop3d compiled
with this option will read new mail from /var/mail or /var/spool/mail and
transfer it automatically as it is read to $HOME/mbox (if this file
exists). (With POP3 mbox will either be empty or will fill up depending on
whether the user has selected the "Leave mail on server" option).

So I tried it: downloaded latest version of IMAP.4.1-BETA from Compiled it with gcc (mbox option is automatically
included). Moved imapd and ipop3d to /opt/SUNWimap/lib and
/opt/SUNWipop/lib. The license is no longer necessary (no loss). Created
an mbox in my home directory (as user not root) and tested what had

  pine (from another Sun) OK
  pcpine OK
  Netscape Communicator (PC) Hung ... Looking for mailboxes
  MacMS (old Mac IMAP client) OK
  Netscape Communicator (Mac) Hung ... Looking for mailboxes
  dtmail (on the server) OK. Had to be set to use IMAP with the
                                hostname or localhost as IMAP server.
                                It now asks for the user password again
                                when you open mail. A nuisance only.

Netscape also failed if set to use POP3 instead of IMAP.

 Strangely Netscape Communicator worked with IMAP on my older machine.
>From the syslog the difference between pine and netscape seems to be that
pine does a "login" while netscape does an "authenticate". I compiled the
older version of IMAP.4.1-BETA on the new machine. Put them in and:

  Netscape Communicator (PC) OK (IMAP and POP3)
  Netscape Communicator (Mac) OK (IMAP and POP3)

I am currently trying to find out at what point the Netscape - IMAP
connection breaks and will inform Netscape and Mark Crispin (U.Washington)
if this is a bug they are not aware of.

Sorry if this summary is a bit long, but I felt my trials and errors may
be of use to someone else.

Richard Butler Cell Biology Institute, C.N.R.
tel +39-6-9003122 via Ramarini, 32
fax +39-6-90091260 I-00016 Monterotondo Scalo ROME, Italy

Original question(s)

  Until now email here has been served by a Sun 4/330 OS 4.1.1 on which
the imapd and pop3d daemons from Washington Univ. were compiled. Users on
PC's, Mac's or Unix could choose their own clients and, until they went
over quota, they could download or not according to their preferences.
IMAP was compiled with the mbox option so that only unread mail was kept
in /var/spool/mail - read mail was in ~user/mbox and other mailboxes in
~user/mail/*. Quotas were on /home and set probably too generously.

  In this new section of the institute, we have a new server Ultra 450
Solaris 2.6 and I installed the SIMS 2.0 package (basically imap + pop3)
since it seemed a good idea to save myself work. Now I find that all read
and unread mail, unless the user voluntarily moves it to another mailbox,
is kept in /var/mail/user which means that my /var partition is too small,
or I will have to set small quotas, and/or re-educate all users (not any
easy task).

  My questions are:

    1) Can the experts give me reasons why the mbox option is not a good
       idea. ie. why is the /var/mail/user preferable? This directory
       is not exported and this is the only mail host - other machines
       including Unix ones will be using imap or pop clients such as Pine
       or Netscape.

    2) Is there some way I can force the tranfer of read mail to another
       mailbox? I don't just want to set a low quota and, when they
       complain, say that they should set their clients to transfer to a
       readmail folder. This would maybe bounce legitimate large messages
       in arrival.

    3) If I decide to stay with the mbox option and compile imapd (and
       pop3d), do I need to pkgrm SUNWimap SUNWipop or can I just
       substitute the compiled versions in place. What will I break? I
       will, I assume, lose the indexing, but what other "valuable"
       additions are in SIMS 2.0? Will dtmail still work?

I have spent considerable time looking at (IMHO rather scarse) Release
Notes, Configuration Guides, the Answerbook and without
being able to come to a useful decision. Thanks in advance for your help
and I will, of course, summarize.

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