This documentation is for Dovecot v1.x, see wiki2 for v2.x documentation.
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Dovecot supports fully configurable namespaces. Their original and primary purpose is to provide Namespace IMAP extension ([http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2342.html RFC 2342]) support, which allows giving IMAP clients hints about where to locate mailboxes and whether they're private, shared or public. Unfortunately most IMAP clients don't support this extension. Dovecot supports fully configurable namespaces. Their original and primary purpose is to provide Namespace IMAP extension ([[http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2342.html|RFC 2342]]) support, which allows giving IMAP clients hints about where to locate mailboxes and whether they're private, shared or public. Unfortunately most IMAP clients don't support this extension.
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 * Provides support for [:SharedMailboxes/Public:public] and [:SharedMailboxes:shared] mailboxes  * Provides support for [[SharedMailboxes/Public|public]] and [[SharedMailboxes/Shared|shared]] mailboxes
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 * shared: Contains other users' [:SharedMailboxes:shared mailboxes] (v1.2+).
 * public: Contains [:SharedMailboxes/Public:public mailboxes].
 * shared: Contains other users' [[SharedMailboxes/Shared|shared mailboxes]] (v1.2+).
 * public: Contains [[SharedMailboxes/Public|public mailboxes]].
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By default the separator is the same as the mailbox list layout separator. This setting affects only how the separator is visible to clients, it doesn't change the mailbox list layout separator. For example with Maildir++ layout the default separator is '.' and if the separator was changed, the mailbox name in filesystem would still be called ".foo.bar". Currently it's not possible to change the layout separator without modifying the source code. See also [:Plugins/Listescape:listescape] plugin. By default the separator is the same as the mailbox list layout separator. This setting affects only how the separator is visible to clients, it doesn't change the mailbox list layout separator. For example with Maildir++ layout the default separator is '.' and if the separator was changed, the mailbox name in filesystem would still be called ".foo.bar". Currently it's not possible to change the layout separator without modifying the source code. See also [[Plugins/Listescape|listescape]] plugin.
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 * location: [:MailLocation:Mailbox location]. The default is to use {{{mail_location}}} setting.  * location: [[MailLocation|Mailbox location]]. The default is to use {{{mail_location}}} setting.

Namespaces

Dovecot supports fully configurable namespaces. Their original and primary purpose is to provide Namespace IMAP extension (RFC 2342) support, which allows giving IMAP clients hints about where to locate mailboxes and whether they're private, shared or public. Unfortunately most IMAP clients don't support this extension.

Dovecot namespaces can be used for several other purposes too:

  • Changing the hierarchy separator
  • Providing backwards compatibility when switching from another IMAP server
  • Provides support for public and shared mailboxes

  • Allows having mails in multiple different locations with possibly different formats

Configuration

By default no namespaces are explicitly defined in dovecot.conf. In this situation Dovecot creates a private namespace automatically. This automatic namespace creation isn't done when namespaces are defined, so if you intend to simply add a new namespace, be sure to also add the default private namespace.

There are 3 types of namespaces:

Hierarchy separators

Hierarchy separator specifies the character that is used to separate a parent mailbox from its child mailbox. For example if you have a mailbox "foo" with a child mailbox "bar", the full path to the child mailbox would be "foo/bar" if the separator was '/'. With a separator '.' it would be "foo.bar".

By default the separator is the same as the mailbox list layout separator. This setting affects only how the separator is visible to clients, it doesn't change the mailbox list layout separator. For example with Maildir++ layout the default separator is '.' and if the separator was changed, the mailbox name in filesystem would still be called ".foo.bar". Currently it's not possible to change the layout separator without modifying the source code. See also listescape plugin.

A commonly used separator is '/'. It probably causes the least amount of trouble with different IMAP clients.

You should use the same hierarchy separator for all namespaces. All list=yes namespaces must use the same separator, but if you find it necessary (e.g. for backwards compatibility namespaces) you may use different separators for list=no namespaces.

Namespace settings

  • prefix: The namespace prefix how it's visible in the NAMESPACE reply (if hidden=no) and mailbox list (if list=yes).
  • location: Mailbox location. The default is to use mail_location setting.

  • inbox: "yes", if this namespace contains the user's INBOX. There is only one INBOX, so only one namespace can have inbox=yes.
  • hidden: "yes", if this namespace shouldn't be listed in NAMESPACE reply.
  • list (v1.1+): "yes" (default), if this namespace and its mailboxes should be listed by LIST command when the namespace prefix isn't explicitly specified as a parameter. "children" (v1.2+) means the namespace prefix list listed only if it has child mailboxes.
  • subscriptions (v1.1+): "yes" (default) if this namespace should handle its own subscriptions. If "no", then the first parent namespace with subscriptions=yes will handle it. For example if it's "no" for a namespace with prefix=foo/bar/, Dovecot first sees if there's a prefix=foo/ namespace with subscriptions=yes and then a namespace with an empty prefix. If neither is found, an error is given.

Shared Mailboxes

See SharedMailboxes.

Examples

Mixed mbox and Maildir

If you have your INBOX as mbox in /var/mail/username and the rest of the mailboxes in Maildir format under ~/Maildir, you can do this by creating two namespaces:

namespace private {
  separator = /
  prefix = "#mbox/"
  location = mbox:~/mail:INBOX=/var/mail/%u
  inbox = yes
  hidden = yes
  list = no   # for v1.1+
}
namespace private {
  separator = /
  prefix =
  location = maildir:~/Maildir
}

Without the list = no setting (or hidden=yes in v1.0) in the first namespace, clients see the "#mbox" namespace as a non-selectable mailbox named "#mbox" and having child mailboxes (ie. like a directory). The child mailboxes are all the mbox files in ~/mail directory.

Backwards Compatibility: UW-IMAP

When switching from UW-IMAP and you don't want to give users full access to filesystem, you can create hidden namespaces which allow users to access their mails using their existing namespace settings in clients.

# default namespace
namespace private {
  separator = /
  prefix =
  inbox = yes
}
# for backwards compatibility:
namespace private {
  separator = /
  prefix = mail/
  hidden = yes
  list = no   # for v1.1+
}
namespace private {
  separator = /
  prefix = ~/mail/
  hidden = yes
  list = no   # for v1.1+
}
namespace private {
  separator = /
  prefix = ~%u/mail/
  hidden = yes
  list = no   # for v1.1+
}

Backwards Compatibility: Courier IMAP

You can continue using the same INBOX. namespace as Courier:

namespace private {
  separator = .
  prefix = INBOX.
  inbox = yes
}

Alternatively you can create the INBOX. as a compatibility name, so old clients can continue using it while new clients will use the empty prefix namespace:

namespace private {
  separator = .
  prefix = 
  inbox = yes
}

namespace private {
  separator = .
  prefix = INBOX.
  inbox = yes
  hidden = yes
  list = no   # for v1.1+
}

None: Namespaces (last edited 2012-03-29 13:01:16 by TimoSirainen)