Sofware working with Maildir and Notmuch
Mail storage formats
Notmuch can index any mail that is stored as singular files in directory structure. Here are some popular formats used.
This is the native mail storage format for notmuch. In addition to indexing mail content notmuch can synchronize standard maildir flags with notmuch tags. See special-tags.
Original specification, for extensions see below.
There are slight differences on how to handle the
While the definition specifies it's for freshly-delivered mail before adding flags only, some software (notably mutt) use it for all unread mail even after the flags were added to filenames.
As NNTP uses incrementing number for each message in a newsgroup those are often used for filenames in NNTP software. Notmuch can index mail stored like this, but flag synchronization is unavailable and mail-reading software that expects maildir might not work with it.
This is structured very much like NNTP Spool with numbered messages in a directory. Above statements apply.
Have a separate wiki page.
Mail fetchers and synchronizers
|fetchmail||no||IMAP4/POP3||no||no maildir support, can deliver to SMTP or local MDA|
|imapfw||yes||IMAP4||?||work in progress|
Other links of interest:
- mswatch Triggers sync on mailbox changes.
- mailsync Based on UW library that doesn't support Maildir out of the box. MH folders are supported.
- imapsync (unidirectional)
- slrnpull Fetches NNTP newsgroups (such as USENET or Gmane) into numbered spool format which notmuch can index.
Filters and mail delivery agents
Mail delivery agent (or MDA for short) is a piece of software that performs the final step of mail transfer: saving it into user's mailbox. This is invoked either by SMTP server (MTA), mail fetcher, or chained from other delivery agent to perform such tasks as mail filtering, saving to different folders, or forwarding to different addresses.
Following software can deliver to Maildir mailboxes:
- Courier (or standalone): maildrop
- Dovecot: dovecot-lda
- Postfix: local
- Exim: appendfile
- Qmail: qmail-local
- OpenSMTPD: supports tuning via .forward files
Many MDAs also support filtering via Sieve language.
Internet Mail Access Protocol servers that can interoperate with notmuch. It is of note that IMAP protocol supports storing so-called keywords (user-defined flags) which are mostly equivalent to notmuch tags. Unfortunately Maildir does not have standard way to encode keywords, so there are extensions neccessary to store that information.
The fully standard-compliant IMAP server. Has efficient syncing and multimaster replication capability.
Up to 26 different keywords can be stored per-maildir using Maildir flags a-z.
Their meaning is defined via
dovecot-keywords file which is simple, well-defined text file which maps each letter to specifig tag/keyword.
If more than 26 keywords appear in one Maildir then some of them are stored in dovecot-specific index files.
Dovecot's dsync will sync keywords into this format.
The origin of Maildir++ format which was also adopted by dovecot, among others. Ships many useful commandline tools.
It stores keywords in courierimapkeywords inside the maildir. It supports arbitrary amount of keywords, but unfortunately actually reading them is rather convoluted process.