Unix MBX Mailbox format

Unix MBX Mailbox format

Post by Sam » Fri, 17 Dec 1999 04:00:00



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Quote:> Is there an RFC or some other document detailing the format for MBX mailbox
> files?

I hope not.  That format is too stupid to be made into any kind of a
recognized standard.

It's just one file, and individual messages are delimited by a line
starting with 5 characters 'From ', followed by the envelope sender and the
UNIX datestamp.  Any lines in the message itself that start with 'From '
are prefixed by the > character.

Actually, to be completely correct.  Any lines that start with the regexp
">*From " have one > added on, which should be transparently removed by the
MUA, but, few installations implement this properly.

Additionally, the whole mess must be locked during any kind of access, and
each particular system uses its own favorite locking mechanism.

What a mess.

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Unix MBX Mailbox format

Post by Jeff Grossma » Fri, 17 Dec 1999 04:00:00



>> Is there an RFC or some other document detailing the format for MBX mailbox
>> files?

>I hope not.  That format is too stupid to be made into any kind of a
>recognized standard.

>It's just one file, and individual messages are delimited by a line
>starting with 5 characters 'From ', followed by the envelope sender and the
>UNIX datestamp.  Any lines in the message itself that start with 'From '
>are prefixed by the > character.

>Actually, to be completely correct.  Any lines that start with the regexp
>">*From " have one > added on, which should be transparently removed by the
>MUA, but, few installations implement this properly.

>Additionally, the whole mess must be locked during any kind of access, and
>each particular system uses its own favorite locking mechanism.

>What a mess.

Are you sure you are not talking about mbox format?  The original
message was about mbx format.  Those are two different formats.  Mbx
format allows multiple read and write access to the file.  Where mbox
format does not.

Jeff
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1. convert from unix mbox to mbx format?

~500 mail users
UW imapd  (also UW pop3d used)
sendmail MTA
some local shell pine users

solaris 2.6 - migrating to new machine, on solaris 9

Currently all mailboxes, folders in unix mbox format.  inboxes in
/var/mail , imap folders in ~user/mail

would like to convert to mbx format as I have read this will help for
performance reasons.

(we have users who like to pop and save mail on server, as well as
some imap users who keep inboxes of size up to 100+mb)

questions:

any downsides to using mbx format.. i.e. is it also text, and
therefore manageable with text utilites..?

is it possible to convert mailboxes one-by-one in a kind of "rolling"
conversion, i.e. not all at once.?

Do I have to change any compile time or other options to make mbx the
default format for new inboxes?

Could someone explain the intricacies of using /var/mail/xxx for
inboxes versus locating the inbox in ~xxx

config changes in sendmail for delivery into a different format inbox.
evidently I have to use dmail  instead of mail.local as I do now. or
do I have to use tmail?  i was thinking of using procmail? how will
that work?

what about the "new" UW mailbox format.  should I bother doing this
now, or wait for the new improved version?

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