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why maildir?

Discussion in 'E-mail Discussion' started by hostultra, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. hostultra

    hostultra Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2002
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    Can someone please explain why cpanel is pushing to change mail format from mbox to maildir??

    Having each email in its own file is an awful idea.
    A large user could have thousands of mail in his mailbox this presents some problems

    1. Hard drive block size.
    Its usually 64KB, means that even if the email is only 1kb, it takes up 64kb of space which cannot be used by other files, this wastes space. (10,000 1kb emails will take up 640MB of space, instead of 10MB if it was mbox!!!) i dont know about others but some of my customers mailbox files are 100mb+ which would be a big problem with maildir.

    2. inodes.
    Each file requires one inode, there are only so many inodes on a file system, wasting them in this way and you wont be able to save any new files to the drive.

    3. speed.
    In just about every situation imaginable, its preferable to have one big file then thousands of small ones, especially for backups and when copying/moving files from one device to another, especially over network, if you have ever FTP'd thousands of small files you will know what i mean.

    4. disk seeking.
    when reading files the hdd takes time to seek to the location of the file on the physical drive.
    using maildir will make the drive slower and reduce its lifespan

    now.. whos crazy idea was this? and what are the benefits?
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    #1 hostultra, Jan 3, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2008
  2. troxalias

    troxalias Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2001
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    Athens - Greece
    Have a look on these metrics on to compare maildir with mbox format. Furthermore maildir almost eliminates locking issues with your mailbox being accessed concurrently either by different location or either with different services.
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  3. MichaelShanks

    MichaelShanks Well-Known Member PartnerNOC

    Aug 20, 2001
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    the problem really falls down to using an antiquated way of storing and accessing mail, I would love to see someone utilise sqlite for the purpose of storing and accessing individuals mboxes, it would solve the problems of mbox and mdir i
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