Ubuntu, Dovecot and Sieve

Finally upgraded my main on site Ubuntu server to the latest LTS release (10.04). It was a small jump since I was running on the release immediately prior (9.10) and not the previous LTS release (8.04). I was doing this because the previous LTS release lacked a particular package version that I needed to use (which I can’t remember details of as I type this), and the LTS release wasn’t far off – although too far to wait given my need to install onto my new hardware (an Atom 330 based board which is handling the load very nicely with low power consumption).

Anyway, the upgrade was largely uneventful, which is always nice, I do like a boring life for some things 😉 The only two items of note were:

  • For some reason Upstart didn’t automatically start nmbd on boot – I’m not sure whether this was a one off, but I’m now following a bug on Launchpad and will have to find a suitable time to do another reboot and see what happens.
  • There was a minor problem with the Dovecot configuration (and this is what started me towards this blog post!) – the sieve plugin has changed.

I’ll elaborate on that one a bit.

Recently I migrated my mail system from a combination of Exim, Procmail and Dovecot to Exim and Dovecot with Sieve. I’ll get round to blogging about that process at some point, but for now suffice it to say that instead of receiving may with Exim and passing it to Procmail to filter into the various mailboxes and then using Dovecot to access it via IMAP, Exim now passes the mail direct to Dovecot which then uses built in Sieve support to filter the mail into the various mailboxes. This has two advantages, firstly Dovecot can index the mail as it comes in, which has a minor performance boost when first accessing new mail from the client, and secondly the Sieve syntax is much easier to follow than Procmail (well I find it is anyway!).

Getting right down to the issue at hand, on this upgrade I found things stopped working, and after a very brief look around the config file and Dovecot plugins directory identified that in the dovecot.conf file the line:

mail_plugins = cmusieve

needed to be changed to:

mail_plugins = sieve

This did get me thinking that it may be nice to manage a do-release-upgrade process in stages rather than hitting all services at once, but having said that the number of dependencies being upgraded at the same time in this process would likely make that impractical to manage – and to be honest I’ve not found a major problem yet 🙂

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