After the Circus

Random Sample
Sky Cotton

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jean at geemoo dot ca

Dec 15, 2008
I've been meaning to try out postfix lately, and I had to reinstall a server after having an old harddrive fail on me, so I figured now is as good a time to try it as any. So, I installed postfix and setup the various values in the file in /etc/postfix/. I sent a couple emails to myself from another account, they arrived in my email box and I go "Hurray! It works!".

I test the same thing with my wife's email, and I see the emails arrive in the postfix logs, but when I check her email over IMAP, there's nothing there. For a long time, I suspected it was a problem with dovecot, my IMAP server, but it turns out that it's actually postfix's fault.

I'm on a bunch of mailing lists, so I have a .procmailrc file in my $HOME that checks what the email is from and puts it in the appropriate inbox. My wife however does not have a .procmailrc file. It seems that even though you told postfix to use Maildir with the mail location option, once it passes it off to procmail for delivery, it's up to procmail to put it where it thinks it should go. Procmail was defaulting to an mbox file format, and so wasn't putting the new email in ~wife/Maildir/.

I created a .procmailrc file that tells procmail what to do and her email was working smoothly again.

EDIT: I'm not sure what setting I thought I meant in the postfix config, since I can't seem to find it now. It seems that postfix delivers through procmail normally, which sorta explains where things went wrong. Instead of creating a .procmailrc file in each user's directory, it's better to place the file above in /etc/procmailrc. I tested this out on my system and it works just fine for delivering to Maildir.

Really, I think the source of all my problems was that I came from exim, where things are done a bit differently. Exim is incredibly flexible, and my config was checking for the existance of a ~/.procmailrc file, and delivering through procmail if found, or delivering straight to Maildir if it wasn't. Now all I need to do is convert my Maildir mailboxes back to mbox. I hear mutt can handle that.
Tags: linux, debian