[Imap-protocol] what if / were my server's "home directory"?

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Thu Sep 14 00:58:06 PDT 2006

On Thu Sep 14 07:04:31 2006, Abhijit Menon-Sen wrote:

> Our IMAP server uses a conventional mailbox hierarchy, where each

> user's

> "home directory" is /users/name (that is, an empty reference

> argument to

> LIST is intepreted as /users/name), and a user's personal mailboxes

> may

> be accessed either as foo or /users/name/foo.


> What would happen if we started interpreting an empty reference as

> "/"?


> That is, every mailbox would have just one name. /users/foo/bar, or

> /archives/imap-protocol, or whatever. Would clients be able to cope

> with not being able to "CREATE Drafts" or whatever? (I'm told that

> isn't possible with Cyrus anyway, so it should be OK, but I haven't

> tested.)


> Does anyone see a problem with such a layout?

In terms of the protocol, no (although if you don't support
NAMESPACE, there shall be much gnashing of teeth).

However, in practical terms, there are some clients (The variant of
Outlook for Pocket PC springs to mind, although that could be an
older version) that expect to be able to create a slew of unqualified
mailbox names "CREATE Drafts" included. These then exhibit Strange
And Fearsome behaviour when they can't.

Although it's true that with Cyrus IMAP, the default is that the
user's own heirarchy begins at "INBOX.", I used to switch (with
altnamespace) so that user's mailboxes were at the top level as a
routine when installing servers, in order to ensure it worked with
these broken clients.

The clients *are* against specification, of course, but the fix for
them is also within specification, so I'd generally lean toward at
least having an option such that they work.

Dave Cridland - mailto:dave at cridland.net - xmpp:dwd at jabber.org
- acap://acap.dave.cridland.net/byowner/user/dwd/bookmarks/
- http://dave.cridland.net/
Infotrope Polymer - ACAP, IMAP, ESMTP, and Lemonade

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