[Dovecot] dovecot virtual user 'unknown'...

Dr Michael Daly gp at holisticgp.com.au
Tue Mar 12 03:45:19 EET 2013

I have a problem whereby Dovecot 1.0.7 is reporting that a recently setup
virtual user in /etc/dovecot_passdb is 'unknown'. I have been trying to
setup the user 'info' in a plaintext passwd-file /etc/dovecot_passdb as a
virtual user, ie non system user. I suspect I have not properly setup
'info' as a virtual imap user... if so, how should I do this?

Existing system users are in '/etc/passdb' and authenticate without
problems. System users have their home directory in 
/home/system_user1/mail/.imap eg
/home/system_user1/mail/.imap/INBOX ...file is /var/spool/mail/systemuser1
/home/system_user1/mail/.imap/Sent ... file is in
/home/system_user1/mail/.imap/Drafts... file is in

whereas the postfix virtual user's (username is 'info') mailbox is
configured as... call it /var/spool/mail/virtualusersdomain1/info

Postfix's virtual_mailbox_base = /var/spool/mail. The
virtual_mailbox_domains, including that of user 'info', are a subdirectory
of /var/spool/mail

This is the log entry produced when user 'info' attempts to login via
PLAIN   service=IMAP    secured lip=::ffff:   
rip=::ffff:    resp=<hidden>
dovecot: Mar 12 00:32:40 Info: auth(default):
passwd-file(info,::ffff: lookup: user=info
dovecot: Mar 12 00:32:40 Info: auth(default):
passwd-file(info,::ffff: unknown user
dovecot: Mar 12 00:32:40 Info: auth(default): pam(info,::ffff:
lookup service=dovecot
dovecot: Mar 12 00:32:40 Info: auth(default): new auth connection: pid=569
dovecot: Mar 12 00:32:42 Info: auth(default): pam(info,::ffff:
pam_authenticate() failed: Authentication failure
dovecot: Mar 12 00:32:42 Info: imap-login: Aborted login: user=<info>,
method=PLAIN, rip=::ffff:, lip=::ffff:, secured
dovecot: Mar 12 00:32:42 Info: auth(default): client out: FAIL  1      

So, /etc/dovecot_passdb has ownership root:root, permissions 644 and only
the contents:

I have tried logging in both as info and also as info at virtualusersdomain1

dovecot -n shows:
# 1.0.7: /etc/dovecot.conf
log_path: /var/log/dovecot.log
login_dir: /var/run/dovecot/login
login_executable(default): /usr/libexec/dovecot/imap-login
login_executable(imap): /usr/libexec/dovecot/imap-login
login_executable(pop3): /usr/libexec/dovecot/pop3-login
login_processes_count: 2
mail_executable(default): /usr/libexec/dovecot/imap
mail_executable(imap): /usr/libexec/dovecot/imap
mail_executable(pop3): /usr/libexec/dovecot/pop3
mail_plugin_dir(default): /usr/lib/dovecot/imap
mail_plugin_dir(imap): /usr/lib/dovecot/imap
mail_plugin_dir(pop3): /usr/lib/dovecot/pop3
auth default:
  verbose: yes
  debug: yes
    driver: passwd-file
    args: /etc/dovecot_passdb
    driver: pam
    driver: passwd-file
    args: home=/var/spool/mail/%d/%n mail=mbox:~/mail /etc/dovecot_passdb
    driver: passwd
    args: /etc/passwd

This is all that was in orginally in /etc/dovecot.conf:
protocols = imap imaps pop3 pop3s
disable_plaintext_auth = no
protocol imap {
protocol pop3 {
protocol lda {
auth default {
 mechanisms = plain
passdb pam {
userdb passwd {
user = root
dict {

Dovecot runs as root.

Anyway, any advice would be great!

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