IMAP server and client recommendations?
kevin_stevens at pursued-with.net
Wed Apr 21 21:41:53 PDT 2004
On Apr 21, 2004, at 21:22, Danny MacMillan wrote:
> I have six or seven hundred megabytes of email imprisoned in a few
> .pst (Microsoft Outlook "Personal Folders") files. I've been looking
> for an alternative email client lately. Of course, the issue is
> converting these old messages so that they are usable by the new
> software -- ideally so that multiple clients could access the mail.
> The thought that immediately occurred to me was that one of the
> standard Unix formats -- mbox or maildir -- would be appropriate for
> this task.
> After scouring the internet for possibilities for converting between
> the hated .pst format and mbox or Maildir, I found a few people who'd
> seemingly hit upon an ideal solution: add an IMAP folder to Outlook
> and copy their mail to that folder, then do the reverse inside a
> client that stores its mail in mbox or maildir format.
Almost right, but not quite. You set up an IMAP server that stores
mail in the desired format, add the IMAP support to Outlook, and then
drag/drop the mail into the IMAP mailbox. There is no equivalent
client-side export needed.
And yes, in my experience this is BY FAR the easiest/fastest/best
approach to get mail from a .pst file to something else. Caveat is
that you have to have an Outlook installation available to do it, not
just the .pst file.
> Then it struck me -- =leaving= the mail in the IMAP server would give
> me even more flexibility.
Blinding flash of the obvious? ;)
> Is it feasible to use the IMAP server as a mail storage solution like
Sure, that's what they're designed for.
> Can anyone recommend a good IMAP server (for FreeBSD of course) and
> give me some tips on considerations for choosing one? I blush to say
> it, but I've never even had an IMAP account.
The main contenders are Cyrus, Courier, and UW-IMAP. Biggest
consideration is probably what format you want to store the mail in. I
prefer mbox format, so use UW-IMAP. It is configured to pull mail from
the standard spool directory, and store it in a /mail directory of my
The big advantage of using IMAP (for me) is that I can access my mail
from a web based server (Squirrelmail) while at work, pine when on the
road, and OS X's Mail.app when at home on my PowerBook. Even when I'm
reading mail on the server box itself the access is actually through
the IMAP server. It's an OS X G5 now, but I did the exact same thing
when it was a FreeBSD Intel box.
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