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Old 11-02-2011, 07:42 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Archive mail format?

On Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 2:23 PM, Ljubomir Ljubojevic <office@plnet.rs> wrote:
> Vreme: 11/02/2011 07:53 PM, Phoenix, Merka piše:
>>>> I have a bunch of old mail spread variously across dovecot maildirs and mbox format files on several machines that are headed for the trash. *Is there anything considered to be a portable archive format for mail messages, and if so are there tools to copy into it - or do I have to pick a client and copy to its local storage?<<
>>>>
>>>> --
>> The mbox format and mail messages in the dovecot maildirs can be copied as is to another server (or directory).
>> The only thing that you don't need (or probably don't want) to copy would be the index files that live in the directory above the maildirs.
>>
>> The index files are in the form: dovecot-* and dovecot.index* and usually live above the actual directory where the messages are stored. Also, most of the sub-folders have a leading '.' so would be "hidden" unless you use 'ls -la' to view the directory contents.
>>
>
> There is simple script to convert maildir to mailbox format:
> http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-general-1/a-script-to-convert-maildir-to-mailbox-format-381568/
>
> and scripts to convert mailbox to maildir:
> http://batleth.sapienti-sat.org/projects/mb2md/
> http://perfectmaildir.home-dn.net/
>
> There are many more, but this ones come at the top of the google search.

Thanks - I think most of what I'd want to keep is still accessible via
imap. What I'm wondering is if there is a general consensus about
the file format for long term storage that would be most likely to
permit direct search and access from some future mail reader, possibly
on some other OS. I suppose I could make a VM image that I could fire
up as an imap server again, but that seems kind of cumbersome.

--
Les Mikesell
lesmikesell@gmail.com
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:54 PM
Ljubomir Ljubojevic
 
Default Archive mail format?

Vreme: 11/02/2011 09:42 PM, Les Mikesell piše:
> Thanks - I think most of what I'd want to keep is still accessible via
> imap. What I'm wondering is if there is a general consensus about
> the file format for long term storage that would be most likely to
> permit direct search and access from some future mail reader, possibly
> on some other OS. I suppose I could make a VM image that I could fire
> up as an imap server again, but that seems kind of cumbersome.
>

Here is excellent comparison:
http://www.linuxmail.info/mbox-maildir-mail-storage-formats/

If you disregard larger size issue (directory/file-system compression?),
maildir is better since you have one mail = one file, so direct search
will work.

--

Ljubomir Ljubojevic
(Love is in the Air)
PL Computers
Serbia, Europe

Google is the Mother, Google is the Father, and traceroute is your
trusty Spiderman...
StarOS, Mikrotik and CentOS/RHEL/Linux consultant
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:40 PM
"Phoenix, Merka"
 
Default Archive mail format?

> On Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 2:23 PM, Ljubomir Ljubojevic <office@plnet.rs> wrote:
>> Vreme: 11/02/2011 07:53 PM, Phoenix, Merka piše:
>>>>> I have a bunch of old mail spread variously across dovecot maildirs
>>>>> and mbox format files on several machines that are headed for the
>>>>> trash. Is there anything considered to be a portable archive
>>>>> format for mail messages, and if so are there tools to copy into it
>>>>> - or do I have to pick a client and copy to its local storage?<<
>>>>>
>>>>> --
>>> The mbox format and mail messages in the dovecot maildirs can be copied as is to another server (or directory).
>>> The only thing that you don't need (or probably don't want) to copy would be the index files that live in the directory above the maildirs.
>>>
>>> The index files are in the form: dovecot-* and dovecot.index* and usually live above the actual directory where the messages are stored. Also, most of the sub-folders have a leading '.' so would be "hidden" unless you use 'ls -la' to view the directory contents.
>>>
>>
>> There is simple script to convert maildir to mailbox format:
>> http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-general-1/a-script-to-co
>> nvert-maildir-to-mailbox-format-381568/
>>
>> and scripts to convert mailbox to maildir:
>> http://batleth.sapienti-sat.org/projects/mb2md/
>> http://perfectmaildir.home-dn.net/
>>
>> There are many more, but this ones come at the top of the google search.
>
> Thanks - I think most of what I'd want to keep is still accessible via
> imap. What I'm wondering is if there is a general consensus about
> the file format for long term storage that would be most likely to permit direct
> search and access from some future mail reader, possibly on some other OS.
> I suppose I could make a VM image that I could fire up as an imap server again,
> but that seems kind of cumbersome.
>
> --
> Les Mikesell
> lesmikesell@gmail.com

You don't need an IMAP server to access these files. The MBOX format (one large file with all the messages inside) and MAILDIR format (collection of one text file per message within a directory) are simple text files. Most e-mail clients (such as Mozilla Thunderbird, MS Outlook, etc) offer the ability to import these into the e-mail client's message store.

In the old school UNIX/Linux world, these would be local files accessed by mail, pine, elm, or whatever your mail reader app was on the comand line.

ASCII files are the most portable format across almost every current system (MS Windows, MAC, Linux, etc.)

Use rsync to pull down the entire directory structure, and just burn it to a CD or DVD. As long as the media is still readable 5,10,15,.. years from now, the files should also be still readable/parse-able :-)

Cheers!
Merka Phoenix
TekSystems

"verum ipsum factum (understanding arises through making)"
--Giambattista Vico, an Italian philosopher (1668-1744)
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:26 PM
Bill Campbell
 
Default Archive mail format?

On Wed, Nov 02, 2011, Les Mikesell wrote:
...
>Thanks - I think most of what I'd want to keep is still accessible via
>imap. What I'm wondering is if there is a general consensus about
>the file format for long term storage that would be most likely to
>permit direct search and access from some future mail reader, possibly
>on some other OS. I suppose I could make a VM image that I could fire
>up as an imap server again, but that seems kind of cumbersome.

I would store in Maildir format as it's simple, supported by
several IMAP servers (e.g. courier-imap and dovecot), and it's
very easy to use standard *nix tools to search and/or manipulate
messages.

Bill
--
INTERNET: bill@celestial.com Bill Campbell; Celestial Software LLC
URL: http://www.celestial.com/ PO Box 820; 6641 E. Mercer Way
Voice: (206) 236-1676 Mercer Island, WA 98040-0820
Fax: (206) 232-9186 Skype: jwccsllc (206) 855-5792

We believe...that a mugger will kill you in the half-second it takes to
draw from the holster, but won't harm you while you dial the police on your
cell phone, talk to the dispatcher and wait half an hour for officers to
arrive. -- Gun-Control Net-work Credo
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:33 PM
Ljubomir Ljubojevic
 
Default Archive mail format?

Vreme: 11/02/2011 11:26 PM, Bill Campbell piše:
> On Wed, Nov 02, 2011, Les Mikesell wrote:
> ...
>> Thanks - I think most of what I'd want to keep is still accessible via
>> imap. What I'm wondering is if there is a general consensus about
>> the file format for long term storage that would be most likely to
>> permit direct search and access from some future mail reader, possibly
>> on some other OS. I suppose I could make a VM image that I could fire
>> up as an imap server again, but that seems kind of cumbersome.
>
> I would store in Maildir format as it's simple, supported by
> several IMAP servers (e.g. courier-imap and dovecot), and it's
> very easy to use standard *nix tools to search and/or manipulate
> messages.
>
> Bill

Only mayor difference between two formats is that one keeps all mail in
a single file,, keeping smaller storage footprint, while other keeps all
e-mails in separate files, so it is easier to delete or
categorize/separate or selectively delete them.

--

Ljubomir Ljubojevic
(Love is in the Air)
PL Computers
Serbia, Europe

Google is the Mother, Google is the Father, and traceroute is your
trusty Spiderman...
StarOS, Mikrotik and CentOS/RHEL/Linux consultant
_______________________________________________
CentOS mailing list
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http://lists.centos.org/mailman/listinfo/centos
 
Old 11-02-2011, 09:43 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Archive mail format?

2011/11/2 Phoenix, Merka <merka.phoenix@hp.com>:
>
> You don't need an IMAP server to access these files. The MBOX format (one large file with all the messages inside) and MAILDIR format (collection of one text file per message within a directory) are simple text files. Most e-mail clients (such as Mozilla Thunderbird, MS Outlook, etc) offer the ability to import these into the e-mail client's message store.

I understand the file types and contents - but was hoping that by now
there would be a standard file type that didn't have to be 'imported'
to a mail reader's message store before being accessed.

--
Les Mikesell
lesmikesell@gmail.com
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:04 PM
John R Pierce
 
Default Archive mail format?

On 11/02/11 3:43 PM, Les Mikesell wrote:
> I understand the file types and contents - but was hoping that by now
> there would be a standard file type that didn't have to be 'imported'
> to a mail reader's message store before being accessed.

well that depends on your mail program. if they use maildir or mbox,
then you can just copy/move the appropriate format files into the apps
message store and move on. of course, if the app has any other metadata
like indexing and you want to merge your new stuff with some existing
old stuff, you have to deal with that too.


--
john r pierce N 37, W 122
santa cruz ca mid-left coast

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Old 11-03-2011, 08:59 AM
John Doe
 
Default Archive mail format?

From: Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com>

> I have a bunch of old mail spread variously across dovecot maildirs
> and mbox format files on several machines that are headed for the
> trash.* Is there anything considered to be a portable archive format
> for mail messages, and if so are there tools to copy into it - or do I
> have to pick a client and copy to its local storage?

Maybe as .eml files?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-mail#Filename_extensions

JD
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:51 AM
Timothy Murphy
 
Default Archive mail format?

Les Mikesell wrote:

> I have a bunch of old mail spread variously across dovecot maildirs
> and mbox format files on several machines that are headed for the
> trash. Is there anything considered to be a portable archive format
> for mail messages, and if so are there tools to copy into it - or do I
> have to pick a client and copy to its local storage?

I have a much more naive question along the same lines.
Apologies if it is too far from the original query.

I'm running an IMAP (dovecot) server,
with my mail stored in ~/maildir .
I'm using KMail on my laptop to access the server (on another machine).

I'd like to archive some of my older email,
ie transfer it to another disk on the server,
but I don't understand exactly what will happen
if I run Folder=>Archive Folder on my laptop,
and don't like to try it without more knowledge.

Will the folder disappear from the list I see in KMail?
Will the archive be saved on my laptop or on the server?
In what format?
Will I be able to "un-archive" it if I wish?
Will the various dovecot index files be updated appropriately?

I suppose my problem basically is that I don't know
how kmail on my laptop and dovecot on my server interact.


--
Timothy Murphy
e-mail: gayleard /at/ eircom.net
tel: +353-86-2336090, +353-1-2842366
s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

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Old 11-03-2011, 12:06 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Archive mail format?

On Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 6:51 AM, Timothy Murphy <gayleard@eircom.net> wrote:
> Les Mikesell wrote:
>
>> I have a bunch of old mail spread variously across dovecot maildirs
>> and mbox format files on several machines that are headed for the
>> trash. *Is there anything considered to be a portable archive format
>> for mail messages, and if so are there tools to copy into it - or do I
>> have to pick a client and copy to its local storage?
>
> I have a much more naive question along the same lines.
> Apologies if it is too far from the original query.
>
> I'm running an IMAP (dovecot) server,
> with my mail stored in ~/maildir .
> I'm using KMail on my laptop to access the server (on another machine).
>
> I'd like to archive some of my older email,
> ie transfer it to another disk on the server,
> but I don't understand exactly what will happen
> if I run Folder=>Archive Folder on my laptop,
> and don't like to try it without more knowledge.
>
> Will the folder disappear from the list I see in KMail?
> Will the archive be saved on my laptop or on the server?
> In what format?
> Will I be able to "un-archive" it if I wish?
> Will the various dovecot index files be updated appropriately?
>
> I suppose my problem basically is that I don't know
> how kmail on my laptop and dovecot on my server interact.

I'd expect it to ask some more questions and give you choices about
those things, but you could make a new folder on the server with a few
messages to experiment with. With imap, you should be able to
copy/move messages back from local storage to the server or between
folders on different servers if you have multiple accounts.

--
Les Mikesell
lesmikesell@gmail.com
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