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well, I found how to turn on debugging for courier-authdaemon in the config file. Here's what it now says for no reason:
Jan 6 21:59:39 raskolnikov authdaemond: authpam: trying this module
Jan 6 21:59:39 raskolnikov authdaemond: authpam: username 'firstname.lastname@example.org' not found in password file
Jan 6 21:59:39 raskolnikov authdaemond: authpam: REJECT - try next module
Jan 6 21:59:39 raskolnikov authdaemond: FAIL, all modules rejected
My guess is that it's trying to authenticate email@example.com whereas before it was authenticating the user davek. Are you sure nothing else was changed that could have caused this? (or would you expect to find a user firstname.lastname@example.org?)
lost another million hairs over this one. The annoying thing is it was my fault to begin with.
There's a line in /etc/courier/imapd:
I had changed this to 6thstreetradio.org from the default, and uncommented it. I didn't really read the comments around it explaining what it was. I figured "default domain, that's my domain!" But no. Apparently, this part is appended to the username when users try to log in using imap.
Add to that the fact that I didn't restart the server when I made the change. Therefore, when I _did_ restart the server, that bug crept in and wasn't found for many many hours. Classic.
The moral of the story is don't touch DEFDOMAIN in /etc/courier/imapd unless you have a complex setup where you're serving mail for multiple domains.