January 27, 2006

Postfix and Mail recovery

Posted in Commentary at 6:38 am by Michael Sweeney Media

I love email, or at least I do when it works. For the past few weeks, I have been playing around setting up a Postfix server on my Mac Mini. Surprisingly, it works very well but with a few quirks. I was using the GUI frontend called “Postfix Enabler” but I have since moved to it’s bigger brother called “Mailserve“. Mailserve has the advantage of having a nice way to manage “fetchmail” instead of having to script it myself. But I did all my testing using fetchmail manually which helped to teach me alot of what goes behind the scenes of mail delivery. The man pages are good but something of a pain to follow along.

So now I have my mail being pulled using fetchmail from my ISP’s POP server and the mail is delivered using MX records directly instead of relaying through my ISP. This gets around some of the hokey blacklists that my ISP ends up on at times. Mailserve will deliver mail to any local user account or relay to another server. In my case, I am having some issues with the 2nd user account. Mailserve delivers the mail but I can not get to the that mailbox. It appears to have something to do with the short name vs. the login name but I will figure it out.

All of this came about quicker that I had thought because my Microsoft SBS decided to self destruct on a saturday morning and never boot again. POS application, Exchange in it’s own right is a decent enough application but Small Biz Server is the touchiest POS that I have had the misfortune to have to work with. Anyways.. when it died, I got to roll over straightaway to the half done Postfix server.

Adding to the fun was that AppleMail decided to “eat” all my messages saved at my dot mac account. Gone, poof, all gone. I found out that Apple is using IMAP for their dot mail and so none of the mail was local except for the cache which was wiped as soon as I started Mail up. Damn.. The good news is on the Mini I had created an email account as part of my testing it and so I thought I had a good cache. Sure enough, at :

I found the cache of email in the stupid Apple specific format of XX.elmx which nobody else uses. OK.. So have I have email that I can read but as soon as I start Mail it will go away and I need to flip back into something that Mail can import..hmmm..

Enter stage left an application that I found called “emlx to mbox converter” at Cosmicsoft. This freebie converts from the Apple format to mbox which can be imported into Apple Mail or other mailers like Thunderbird etc. My mail is saved!! All you need to do is highlight the files in the Messages directory (in my case) and drop them onto the converter. Presto.. chango and then save the result.


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