This documentation is for Dovecot v1.x, see wiki2 for v2.x documentation.

Virtual mailboxes

(This plugin is available with dovecot version 1.2.x only)

Loading the plugin

First, you'll have to load the plugin:

 protocol imap {
   mail_plugins = virtual
 }

If you use the deliver LDA, you need to enable it inside a protocol lda section as well.

Namespace configuration

Then, you'll have to create a namespace for the virtual mailboxes, for example:

# the default namespace
namespace private {
  prefix =
  separator = /
  inbox = yes
}

# namespaces for virtual plugin:
namespace private {
  prefix = virtual/
  separator = /
  location = virtual:~/Maildir/virtual
}

After this you can create virtual mailboxes under ~/Maildir/virtual. By default it uses the "fs" layout, so you can create directories such as:

If you prefer to use Maildir++ layout instead, you can simply append :LAYOUT=maildir++ to the location.

The location specified in the namespace must exist (but v2.0 creates it automatically)

IMAP will fail with Fatal: Namespace initialization failed if the location in the new namespace doesn't exist. This is very easy to overlook if you use per-user locations for the virtual namespace and create your own right away. All of your other users will be unable to access their mail until the root mail directory for the namespace is created. There is no builtin facility for creating them on login, but you can use a PostLoginScripting hook to do it. An example is below.

Virtual mailbox configuration

For each virtual directory you need to create a dovecot-virtual file. Its syntax is like:

<1+ mailbox patterns>
  <search program>
[<more mailbox patterns>
  <search program for these mailboxes>
[etc..]]

Mailbox patterns can contain IMAP LIST-compatible "*" and "%" wildcards. They are currently evaluated only when the virtual mailbox is being selected, so if more mailboxes are created during that they aren't noticed.

"*" wildcard matches only one namespace at a time based on the namespace prefix. For example if you have namespaces with an empty prefix and a prefix "mail/":

It's possible to give negative matches for mailbox names by prefixing the mailbox name with '-' character.

Search program is compatible with IMAP SEARCH command. Besides the standard SEARCH key you may want to use X-MAILBOX key which matches the message's original mailbox. Note the leading whitespace in front of search specifications.

Saving mails to virtual mailboxes

It's possible to configure virtual mailbox so that it's possible to save/copy messages there. This is done by specifying a single physical mailbox where the message is really saved by prefixing it with '!', e.g.:

!INBOX
work/*
 unseen

Note however that nothing guarantees that the saved mail will actually show up in the virtual mailbox. If a message was saved with \Seen flag to the above virtual mailbox, it wouldn't show up there. This also means it's problematic to support IMAP UIDPLUS extension for virtual mailboxes, and currently Dovecot doesn't even try (no [APPENDUID] or [COPYUID] is sent to client).

Examples

List all messages with \Deleted flag in all mailboxes:

# ~/Maildir/virtual/Trash/dovecot-virtual
*
  deleted

List all unseen INBOX and work/* messages:

# ~/Maildir/virtual/unseen/dovecot-virtual
INBOX
work/*
  unseen

Create a GMail-style "conversation view" for INBOX which shows all threads that have messages in INBOX, but shows all messages in the thread regardless of in what mailbox they physically exist in:

# ~/Maildir/virtual/all/dovecot-virtual
*
  all

# ~/Maildir/virtual/INBOX/dovecot-virtual
virtual/all
  inthread refs x-mailbox INBOX

Create a mailbox containing messages from all mailboxes except Trash and its children:

# ~/Maildir/virtual/all/dovecot-virtual
*
-Trash
-Trash/*
  all

Create a virtual Sentmail folder that includes Sent*:

# ~/Maildir/virtual/Sentmail/dovecot-virtual
Sent*
  all

Virtual POP3 INBOX

If you want POP3 INBOX to contain some or all mailboxes, you can do this in the following way:

Namespace configuration:

# The default namespace that is visible to IMAP clients
namespace private {
  prefix =
  separator = /
  list = yes
}

# Virtual namespace for the virtual INBOX. Use a global directory for dovecot-virtual files.
namespace private {
  prefix = virtual/
  separator = /
  location = virtual:/etc/dovecot/virtual:INDEX=~/Maildir/virtual
  list = no
  hidden = yes
}

# Copy of the default namespace. We'll use this in dovecot-virtual file.
namespace private {
  prefix = RealMails/
  separator = /
  list = no
  hidden = yes
}

Note that none of the namespaces have inbox=yes. This is because for IMAP users you want the first namespace to have inbox=yes, but for POP3 users you want the virtual namespace to have inbox=yes. This requires setting the inbox=yes in userdb extra fields. For example with MySQL you can can do this like:

user_query = SELECT ..., \
  CASE '%s' WHEN 'pop3' THEN NULL ELSE 'yes' END AS namespace_1_inbox, \
  CASE '%s' WHEN 'pop3' THEN 'yes' ELSE NULL END AS namespace_2_inbox \
  WHERE ...

Note the 1 and 2 in the middle of namespace_n_inbox. Those specify the namespace's position, so 1 is the empty prefix namespace and 2 is the virtual namespace.

Finally specify what the virtual INBOX looks like for POP3 users:

/etc/dovecot/virtual/INBOX/dovecot-virtual :

RealMails/*
-RealMails/Trash
-RealMails/Trash/*
-RealMails/Spam
  all

You'll have to use the RealMails/ prefix if you want to use "*" wildcard, otherwise it would match INBOX, which in turn would again lead to the virtual INBOX and that would create a loop.

Also to avoid accidental POP3 UIDL changes, you shouldn't base UIDLs on IMAP UIDs. Instead use for example filenames with Maildir:

pop3_uidl_format = %f

Example PostLoginScript

Here are a couple of useful things you might do in a post login script:

#!/bin/sh
# AUTOMATICALLY CREATE virtual DIRECTORY
#
# assumes NAMESPACE_1 is your normal mail, NAMESPACE_2
# is virtual.  ${NAMESPACE_2} contains the directory
# we need to create but in an inconvenient format, so
# here we assume it's $HOME/Maildir/virtual

export VIRTUAL=$HOME/Maildir/virtual

if [ ! -d "$VIRTUAL" ]; then
        # su to get right ownership
        su $USER -c 'mkdir -m 700 -p "$VIRTUAL"'
fi

# AUTOMATICALLY VIRTUALIZE INBOX
#
# If the user creates a virtual/INBOX/dovecot-virtual,
# switch the inbox to the virtual namespace.

if [ -s "${VIRTUAL}/INBOX/dovecot-virtual" ]; then
        unset NAMESPACE_1_INBOX
        export NAMESPACE_2_INBOX=1
fi

#set > /tmp/dovecot-environment

exec /usr/local/libexec/dovecot/imap "$@"

Plugins/Virtual (last edited 2012-03-27 21:52:06 by 199)