Maildir account not showing messages

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Maildir account not showing messages

Braden McDaniel
[I posted this to discourse.gnome.org several days ago; but it doesn’t seem to be getting much traction there.]

I have a Maildir in my home directory that was created and maintained by Dovecot.  I am attempting to use Evolution’s Maildir account type to show these messages.

When I point this account at “~/Maildir”, I see a top-level folder called “INBOX” with the many subfolders I would expect.  However, selecting INBOX or any of its subfolders shows no messages.  Instead, there is a top-level folder called “Inbox”.  This has the messages I would expect to see in “INBOX”; but it has none of the subfolders. On the filesystem, subfolders beneath “~/Maildir” look like “.INBOX.*”.

Is there a way to configure the Maildir account type to make it useful in this scenario?  I get the impression that perhaps Evolution needs to be told somehow that the “INBOX” subfolder prefix corresponds to the top-level Maildir.

--
Braden McDaniel
<[hidden email]>



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Re: Maildir account not showing messages

Pete Biggs

>
> I have a Maildir in my home directory that was created and maintained
> by Dovecot.  I am attempting to use Evolution’s Maildir account type
> to show these messages.

I suspect that that is an unwise arrangement.  Dovecot does lots of
things that assume it has full control over the mail store.  It may
cause problems in the future if you start altering the contents outside
of Dovecot.  Can you not just use Dovecot as an IMAP server?

>
> When I point this account at “~/Maildir”, I see a top-level folder
> called “INBOX” with the many subfolders I would expect.  However,
> selecting INBOX or any of its subfolders shows no messages.  Instead,
> there is a top-level folder called “Inbox”.  This has the messages I
> would expect to see in “INBOX”; but it has none of the subfolders. On
> the filesystem, subfolders beneath “~/Maildir” look like “.INBOX.*”.

The "Inbox" in Maildir *is* the ~/Maildir folder - that's why it
contains the cur, new, tmp directories.  Each mail folder that you see
at the top level translates to a .xxx folder in ~/Maildir, sub folders
are .xxx.yyy directories. Each directory must contain cur, new and tmp
subdirectories.

The .INBOX directory you see should translate to the mail folder INBOX,
that is just any other folder and holds no particular significance in
the Maildir standard.

If your mail folder INBOX (& sub folders) don't contain any messages,
then check that they conform to the Maildir standard - the 'cur'
directory should contain all the messages with each message in it's own
file.  The filename of each message encodes the message status and
flags.

It could be that Dovecot is configured with extensions to the standard
that Evolution doesn't understand - extensions are sometimes
implemented as modifications to the message filename.  Dovecot also
maintains non-standard indexes which mean that it can find messages,
but their location may not be to the Maildir standard.

>
> Is there a way to configure the Maildir account type to make it
> useful in this scenario?  I get the impression that perhaps Evolution
> needs to be told somehow that the “INBOX” subfolder prefix
> corresponds to the top-level Maildir.
>

No. Because the Maildir standard says that the Inbox is the top level
folder, not a .xxx folder.

P.



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Re: Maildir account not showing messages

Braden McDaniel
On Sat, 2020-07-11 at 11:07 +0100, Pete Biggs wrote:

> > I have a Maildir in my home directory that was created and
> > maintained
> > by Dovecot.  I am attempting to use Evolution’s Maildir account
> > type
> > to show these messages.
>
> I suspect that that is an unwise arrangement.  Dovecot does lots of
> things that assume it has full control over the mail store.  It may
> cause problems in the future if you start altering the contents
> outside
> of Dovecot.  Can you not just use Dovecot as an IMAP server?

I can.  (I have in the past.)  I thought having Evolution use the
Maildir folder directly would be more efficient; but I was unaware that
Dovecot would not work well with this.

> > When I point this account at “~/Maildir”, I see a top-level folder
> > called “INBOX” with the many subfolders I would expect.  However,
> > selecting INBOX or any of its subfolders shows no
> > messages.  Instead,
> > there is a top-level folder called “Inbox”.  This has the messages
> > I
> > would expect to see in “INBOX”; but it has none of the subfolders.
> > On
> > the filesystem, subfolders beneath “~/Maildir” look like
> > “.INBOX.*”.
>
> The "Inbox" in Maildir *is* the ~/Maildir folder - that's why it
> contains the cur, new, tmp directories.  Each mail folder that you
> see
> at the top level translates to a .xxx folder in ~/Maildir, sub
> folders
> are .xxx.yyy directories. Each directory must contain cur, new and
> tmp
> subdirectories.

Yes, I understand that.  (And they do.)

> The .INBOX directory you see should translate to the mail folder
> INBOX,
> that is just any other folder and holds no particular significance in
> the Maildir standard.

To be clear, there is no ".INBOX" subdirectory.  All subdirectories
under the Maildir (aside from "new", "cur", and "tmp") are of the form
".INBOX.*" (and these correspond to subfolders under the root Inbox
from the IMAP perspective).

> Is there a way to configure the Maildir account type to make it
> > useful in this scenario?  I get the impression that perhaps
> > Evolution
> > needs to be told somehow that the “INBOX” subfolder prefix
> > corresponds to the top-level Maildir.
>
> No. Because the Maildir standard says that the Inbox is the top level
> folder, not a .xxx folder.

Well, it is.  It's just that Dovecot's decided that its subfolders
should be prefixed with ".INBOX"

It seems like Dovecot and Evolution don't quite agree about how to
interpret the structure of a Maildir folder.  Perhaps that's because,
as you suggest, Dovecot is doing something proprietary.  But it really
doesn't matter if Evolution and Dovecot should never share a Maildir
folder as I was attempting to do.

Thank you for the insight.


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Braden McDaniel <[hidden email]>

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