[Dovecot] Question regarding Postfix and Dovecot

Larry Stone lstone19 at stonejongleux.com
Sun Mar 17 22:12:31 EET 2013

All of this said (and much of it not worth repeating), one problem that seems to affect all software as it grows is that as documentation is "patched" to describe new features, it becomes too complex for the new user who just wants to do something simple to figure how to do that simple stuff. For the user who has been along for the long ride since the software started, it makes sense but the new user is overwhelmed. Rewriting documentation is no easy task but it can help for someone to take a look at it the way a new user might who knows nothing about the software.

I don't know the history of Dovecot but my guess would be the Dovecot LDA was added after the Dovecot POP/IMAP server component. Why? Because the www.dovecot.org Overview says "Dovecot is an open source IMAP and POP3 email server for Linux/UNIX-like systems" without any mention of the Dovecot LDA anywhere on that front page. Longtime users know about the Dovecot LDA but they rarely read that first page and it's harder to notice something is missing than it is to notice something is wrong.

I recently replaced UW-IMAP with Dovecot. Once I set down to do it, it was fairly easy. But getting there was tough thanks to misinformation including a failed attempt a few years back using a package that tried to do too much (including forcing a conversion to Maildir - it may be the preferred way and it might be a good goal to get there but why force it when Dovecot was perfectly content to work with the existing mbox mailboxes).

Coupled with that is the problem of people who like to give complex answers to simple questions. A poster wants to know how to do A and gets an answer that instead of doing A (which would require a simple configuration change), they're better off doing B which requires new software and/or a complicated conversion (I was just reading something in an archive where someone asked about locking of mbox files and instead of answering the question about how to configure that was told they're better off using Maildir. Perhaps true in the long run but a config change takes a few seconds; converting to Maildir can be a multi-hour or day project). Giving complex answers to simple questions creates the impression that the Dovecot is far more complex than it needs to be.

Larry Stone
lstone19 at stonejongleux.com

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