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Old 04-22-2008, 01:56 AM   #1
Fernandoch
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Dovecot setup


Hello all,

Dovecot can be used to receive email? Like any other client? Or is it more like a server?

Can you please give some setup guidelines?

Here is the manual:

http://wiki.dovecot.org/#head-76bc6c...dac867ea58cfce

But I cannot get anything clear. I don't see a place for the incoming and outgoing server. I where to write the username and password.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 02:07 AM   #2
blacky_5251
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Here's email in a nutshell...
  1. The sender uses a "Mail User Agent" (MUA) to compose a message. The MUA then connects to a "Mail Transport Agent" (MTA) via the "Simple Mail Transport Protocol" (SMTP) in order to relay the message to its recipient.
  2. The MTA queries the DNS for the MX records corresponding to the domain part of the recipients email address.
  3. The MTA originates an outbound connection via SMTP to the target MTA listed in the MX record. If the target MTA accepts the message, the originating MTA is done and the target now has responsibility for the message. If not, then the originating MTA requeues the message for re-transmission.
  4. The target MTA hands of the message to a "Mail Delivery Agent" (MDA).
  5. The MDA writes the message to the mail spool in either mbox or maildir format. mbox is the default in RHEL. The MDA could use a database in advanced installations.
  6. On the receiving end, the recipient uses a MUA to query a "Mail Retrieval Agent" (MRA) for new mail. The two prevailing protocols for checking mail are POP and IMAP. Dovecot and CYRUS are MRA packages.
  7. The MRA accesses the user's mail spool and returns the messages.

So, what does all that mean?
  • Thunderbird and Evolution are a MUAs
  • Sendmail and Postfix are MTAs
  • Cyrus and Dovecot are MRAs
  • Procmail and maildrop are MDAs
 
Old 04-22-2008, 02:29 AM   #3
Fernandoch
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Thanks for your reply, but you didn't mention Dovecot's configuration files... How to set the incoming mail server?

Last edited by Fernandoch; 04-22-2008 at 02:34 AM.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 02:36 AM   #4
blacky_5251
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The configuration files depend on all of the other choices you have to make.
  1. Will you use Sendmail or Postfix? (Postfix!!!)
  2. Are you going to use mbox or maildir?
  3. What delivery agent will you use? Procmail or maildrop.
Even these choices aren't the only options you have for each one.

The whole email thing is a conglomeration of server applications that you need to decide on before asking us about configuration files.

My suggestions would be Postfix (because it is so much easier to configure than sendmail), procmail (because it is there), maildir instead of mbox, and you've already chosen Dovecot. I'm using all of these myself, but I think you need to do some more research before committing to these applications yourself. My choices aren't necessarily the right ones for you.

What server distro are you using?
 
Old 04-22-2008, 02:48 AM   #5
Fernandoch
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I am using Cent OS 5.1 and I am studying for the RHCE. There is a section about Dovecot which is not clear for me. This is why I started my post in here... Here are the steps to do in an exercise:

1- Make sure the dovecot RPM is installed. Open /etc/dovecot.conf, and activate the following directive:

protocols = imap imaps pop3 pop3s

As this is the default, activating this directive isn't absolutely necessary. However, it's a good practice, as you never know when defaults change.

2- Move or rename the default Dovecot security certificates, both named dovecot.pem, from the /etc/pki/dovecot/certs and /etc/pki/dovecot/private directories.

3- Configure the Dovecot SSL configuration file, dovecot-openssl.cnf, in the /etc/pki/dovecot directory.

4- Back up the default dovecot.pem files from the /etc/pki/dovecot/certs and /etc/pki/dovecot/ private directories.

5- Make sure the associated script, mkcert.sh in the /usr/share/doc/dovecot-versionnum/examples/directory, is executable, and then run it:

# /usr/share/doc/dovecot-versionnum/examples/mkcert.sh

6- Make sure your new certificates are available in the previously noted directories, /etc/pki/ dovecot/certs and /etc/pki/dovecot/private.

7- Activate the Dovecot service, and make sure it runs the next time you reboot:

# service dovecot start
# chkconfig dovecot on

Do I need to do step 3? Only if I am using POP3S or IMAPS, right?
Not too clear for me at all...
When you setup thunderbird for example, do you need Dovecot also?

Last edited by Fernandoch; 04-22-2008 at 02:51 AM.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 02:53 AM   #6
blacky_5251
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You only need certificates if you're using secure connections. A word of advice - use them! So IMHO, you should follow all steps. On my server I have disabled imap and pop, only allowing imaps and pops.

You don't have to use Dovecot, but in your situation it is easier to use than the alternative (Cyrus). Thunderbird needs a Mail Retrieval Agent on your server to talk to, and Dovecot is a MRA. So, yes you need Dovecot if you want to use Thunderbird.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 02:58 AM   #7
Fernandoch
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So in a Windows box, when you configure Thunderbird, what is the replacement for Dovecot?

Or when you configure Thunderbird in an Ubuntu box, what is also the replacement for Dovecot?
 
Old 04-22-2008, 03:03 AM   #8
blacky_5251
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No, Dovecot runs on your Linux box listening to your email client ports - imap, pop, imaps and pops. Thunderbird talks to one of those ports - depending how you configure Thunderbird. For example my Thunderbird on my Vista laptop talks to Dovecot on port 993 (IMAPS) on my CentOS server.

Tbird can run on Windows and Linux. In the RHCE scenario Dovecot is always running on the RHEL server. You won't be using Windows in your RHCE course, so forget that.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 03:08 AM   #9
Fernandoch
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I know I won't have a Windows box in the RHCE exam, but it is just to understand the concept of Dovecot.

So in my Windows box (client) how does Thunderbird work without Dovecot? And in my Ubuntu box too?
 
Old 04-22-2008, 03:21 AM   #10
blacky_5251
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Go back to my first post, and substitute Dovecot for MRA and Thunderbird for MUA. Now read point 6 again. Dovecot services POP and IMAP requests from Thunderbird and other MUA programs like Outlook. Postfix has already received the emails and passed them to the user's Maildir or mbox using procmail. Dovecot sits there waiting for the user's email client (MUA e.g. Thunderbird) to connect to it and ask for (new) messages.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 03:30 AM   #11
Fernandoch
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I am really sorry, but still not getting it...

In a Windows box, what is the replacement for Dovecot (MRA)? I just need that answered and I think that would clarify my thoughts.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 03:33 AM   #12
blacky_5251
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Nothing replaces Dovecot on a Windows box because it is a server application, not a client app. The TBird client on the Windows PC needs to access email on the server - it talks to Dovecot on the server for this.

If your Windows PC is talking to a Windows Email server, then it is probably talking to Exchange instead of Dovecot. There is no need for a MRA application (e.g. Exchange, Dovecot or Cyrus) on the client device, because the MRA is a server-side process.

Is that clearer?
 
Old 04-22-2008, 03:47 AM   #13
Fernandoch
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Now it is clear!

Thank you.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 03:50 AM   #14
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Good luck with your RHCE. When do you take the exam?
 
Old 04-22-2008, 04:04 AM   #15
Fernandoch
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Most probably in June, if I get ready by then... Although my work is more related to databases.
 
  


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