[plug] Overly mobile mail solution

Brad Campbell brad at wasp.net.au
Mon Mar 3 19:21:43 WST 2008

G'day all,

I'm starting to reach the limit of my current mail config scalability.
At the moment I'm running thunderbird on my laptop. This has accounts for 8 pop servers and has over 
50 mail filtering rules. I use a single SMTP server to send mail from all the accounts via an 
OpenVPN link from wherever I happen to be. I generally get about 1000 mails per day.

My issues are :

A) My connections are often laggy and unreliable enough that my pop3 sessions time out (I do a lot 
of work on various sites with lousy loaded connections). When I have 1000 mails to download this 
causes problems like duplicated messages and filter mistakes in thunderbird, notwithstanding the 
time required to just get the messages if I happen to be on a slow link.

B) Sending e-mail (particularly large ones) tends to be very slow on laggy links, and while I have a 
tcp connection open (smtp or pop) thunderbird beats the living daylights out of my cpu.

C) I have to use my laptop for my mail, even when I'm at home and have access to a nice fast machine 
with a big screen (laptop is 11.1"). I have resorted to using thunderbird on the laptop over a 
remote X connection to my desktop to give me more screen realestate.

I have thought about this a bit and figured it was time to centralise my mail collection at home 
where I have a nice quick link using fetchmail, filtering with procmail, spam filtering with 
spamassassin and accessability with IMAP. In addition to running a local SMTP caching server at home.

I've been doing some looking about and see that Cyrus IMAP supports replication, so I wondered if I 
had this all set up at home whether I could run a Cyrus IMAP server on my laptop to access locally 
and have the servers replicate as they get the chance at their own pace over whatever connectivity 
is available.

I know I can run a local smtp spool on my laptop to solve the sending CPU issues, but I wonder if a 
pair of IMAP servers syncing will solve my mail spool issues?

The idea of course is to have the home machine fetching/filtering/de-spamming and loading the mail 
into the IMAP server which I can access while I'm at home, but to also have it replicate to my 
laptop when it's connected so that I can read my mail wherever I may be. (Sometimes I catch up on a 
couple of thousand lkml mails at 38,000 feet so IMAP over the network would be no use to me).

I'm not fussed about the mail spool size on my laptop (at any time I generally have about 3G of mail 
on there anyway), but I'd like to be able to read/delete/archive mail while I'm offline and have it 
all sync up while downloading anything new when I plug in.

 From what I see with the brief look I've had at Cyrus replication, it uses a form of 
journalling/conflict resolution that should allow precisely what I want.

Has anyone looked into any of this?

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