[CentOS] Archive mail format?

Wed Nov 2 21:40:41 UTC 2011
Phoenix, Merka <merka.phoenix at hp.com>

> On Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 2:23 PM, Ljubomir Ljubojevic <office at plnet.rs> wrote:
>> Vreme: 11/02/2011 07:53 PM, Phoenix, Merka piše:
>>>>> I have a bunch of old mail spread variously across dovecot maildirs
>>>>> and mbox format files on several machines that are headed for the
>>>>> trash.  Is there anything considered to be a portable archive
>>>>> format for mail messages, and if so are there tools to copy into it
>>>>> - or do I have to pick a client and copy to its local storage?<<
>>>>> --
>>> The mbox format and mail messages in the dovecot maildirs can be copied as is to another server (or directory).
>>> The only thing that you don't need (or probably don't want) to copy would be the index files that live in the directory above the maildirs.
>>> The index files are in the form: dovecot-* and dovecot.index* and usually live above the actual directory where the messages are stored. Also, most of the sub-folders have a leading '.' so would be "hidden" unless you use 'ls -la' to view the directory contents.
>> There is simple script to convert maildir to mailbox format:
>> http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-general-1/a-script-to-co
>> nvert-maildir-to-mailbox-format-381568/
>> and scripts to convert mailbox to maildir:
>> http://batleth.sapienti-sat.org/projects/mb2md/
>> http://perfectmaildir.home-dn.net/
>> There are many more, but this ones come at the top of the google search.
> Thanks - I think most of what I'd want to keep is still accessible via
> imap.   What I'm wondering is if there is a general consensus about
> the file format for long term storage that would be most likely to permit direct
> search and access from some future mail reader, possibly on some other OS.
>  I suppose I could make a VM image that I could fire up as an imap server again,
> but that seems kind of cumbersome.
> --
>  Les Mikesell
>    lesmikesell at gmail.com

You don't need an IMAP server to access these files. The MBOX format (one large file with all the messages inside) and MAILDIR format (collection of one text file per message within a directory) are simple text files. Most e-mail clients (such as Mozilla Thunderbird, MS Outlook, etc) offer the ability to import these into the e-mail client's message store.

In the old school UNIX/Linux world, these would be local files accessed by mail, pine, elm, or whatever your mail reader app was on the comand line.

ASCII files are the most portable format across almost every current system (MS Windows, MAC, Linux, etc.)

Use rsync to pull down the entire directory structure, and just burn it to a CD or DVD. As long as the media is still readable 5,10,15,.. years from now, the files should also be still readable/parse-able :-)

Merka Phoenix

  "verum ipsum factum (understanding arises through making)"
 --Giambattista Vico, an Italian philosopher (1668-1744)