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96 <div id="searchable"><h1 id="OfflineIMAPFAQ">OfflineIMAP FAQ</h1>
97 <p>
98 Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about OfflineIMAP.
99 </p>
100 <hr />
101 <p>
102 <ol><li><a href="#BasicQuestions">Basic Questions</a><ol><li><a href="#WheredoIgetOfflineIMAP">Where do I get OfflineIMAP?</a></li><li>
103 <a href="#Howfastisit">How fast is it?</a></li><li>
104 <a href="#WhatplatformsdoesOfflineIMAPsupport">What platforms does OfflineIMAP support?</a><ol><li><a href="#UseonWindows">Use on Windows</a></li></ol><li><a href="#DoesOfflineIMAPsupportmboxmhoranythingelseotherthanMaildir">Does OfflineIMAP support mbox, mh, or anything else other than Maildir?</a></li><li>
105 <a href="#HowdoIaddordeleteafolder">How do I add or delete a folder?</a></li><li>
106 <a href="#DoesOfflineIMAPsupportPOP">Does OfflineIMAP support POP?</a></li></ol><li><a href="#ConfigurationQuestions">Configuration Questions</a><ol><li><a href="#CanIsynchronizemultipleaccountswithOfflineIMAP">Can I synchronize multiple accounts with OfflineIMAP?</a></li><li>
107 <a href="#HowdoIspecifythenamesoffolders">How do I specify the names of folders?</a></li><li>
108 <a href="#HowdoIpreventcertainfoldersfrombeingsynced">How do I prevent certain folders from being synced?</a></li><li>
109 <a href="#Whatisthemailboxnamerecordermbnamesfor">What is the mailbox name recorder (mbnames) for?</a></li></ol><li><a href="#IMAPServerNotes">IMAP Server Notes</a><ol><li><a href="#MicrosoftExchange">Microsoft Exchange</a></li></ol><li><a href="#ClientNotes">Client Notes</a><ol><li><a href="#WhatclientsdoesOfflineIMAPworkwith">What clients does OfflineIMAP work with?</a></li><li>
110 <a href="#Evolution">Evolution</a></li><li>
111 <a href="#KMail">KMail</a></li><li>
112 <a href="#Mutt">Mutt</a><ol><li><a href="#DoIneedtousesetmaildir_trash">Do I need to use set maildir_trash?</a></li><li>
113 <a href="#HowdoIsetupmbnameswithmutt">How do I set up mbnames with mutt?</a></li></ol><li></li></ol><li><a href="#MiscellaneousQuestions">Miscellaneous Questions</a><ol><li><a href="#WhyareyourMaildirmessagefilenamessolong">Why are your Maildir message filenames so long?</a></li></ol></li></ol></li></ol>
114 </p>
115 <hr />
116 <h2 id="BasicQuestions">Basic Questions</h2>
117 <h3 id="WheredoIgetOfflineIMAP">Where do I get OfflineIMAP?</h3>
118 <p>
119 From its <a href="/offlineimap/downloads">downloads page</a>.
120 </p>
121 <h3 id="Howfastisit">How fast is it?</h3>
122 <p>
123 OfflineIMAP has a multithreaded sync, so it should have very nice performance.
124 </p>
125 <p>
126 OfflineIMAP versions 2.0 and above contain a multithreaded system. A good way to experiment is by setting maxsyncaccounts to 3 and maxconnections to 3 in each account clause.
127 </p>
128 <p>
129 This lets OfflineIMAP open up multiple connections simultaneously. That will let it process multiple folders and messages at once. In most cases, this will increase performance of the sync.
130 </p>
131 <p>
132 Don't set the number too high. If you do that, things might actually slow down as your link gets saturated. Also, too many connections can cause mail servers to have excessive load. Administrators might take unkindly to this, and the server might bog down. There are many variables in the optimal setting; experimentation may help.
133 </p>
134 <p>
135 An informal benchmark yields these results for my setup:
136 </p>
137 <ul><li>10 minutes with MacOS X "manual cache"
138 </li><li>5 minutes with GNUS agent sync
139 </li><li>20 seconds with OfflineIMAP 1.x
140 </li><li>9 seconds with OfflineIMAP 2.x
141 </li><li>3 seconds with OfflineIMAP 3.x "cold start"
142 </li><li>2 seconds with OfflineIMAP 3.x "held connection"
143 </li></ul><h3 id="WhatplatformsdoesOfflineIMAPsupport">What platforms does OfflineIMAP support?</h3>
144 <p>
145 It should run on most platforms supported by Python, which are quite a few. I do not support Windows myself, but some have made it work there.
146 </p>
147 <h4 id="UseonWindows">Use on Windows</h4>
148 <p>
149 These answers have been reported by OfflineIMAP users. I do not run OfflineIMAP on Windows myself, so I can't directly address their accuracy.
150 </p>
151 <p>
152 The basic answer is that it's possible and doesn't require hacking OfflineIMAP source code. However, it's not necessarily trivial. The information below is based in instructions submitted by Chris Walker.
153 </p>
154 <p>
155 First, you must run OfflineIMAP in the <a class="ext-link" href=""><span class="icon">Cygwin</span></a> environment. The Windows filesystem is not powerful enough to accomodate Maildir by itself.
156 </p>
157 <p>
158 Next, you'll need to mount your Maildir directory in a special way. There is information for doing that at <a class="ext-link" href=""><span class="icon"></span></a>. That site gives this example:
159 </p>
160 <pre class="wiki">mount -f -s -b -o managed "d:/tmp/mail" "/home/of/mail"
161 </pre><p>
163 That URL also has more details on making OfflineIMAP work with Windows.
164 </p>
165 <h3 id="DoesOfflineIMAPsupportmboxmhoranythingelseotherthanMaildir">Does OfflineIMAP support mbox, mh, or anything else other than Maildir?</h3>
166 <p>
167 Not directly. Maildir was the easiest to implement. I'm not planning to write mbox code for OfflineIMAP, though if someone sent me well-written mbox support and pledged to support it, I'd commit it to the tree.
168 </p>
169 <p>
170 However, OfflineIMAP can directly sync accounts on two different IMAP servers together. So you could install an IMAP server on your local machine that supports mbox, sync to it, and then instruct your mail readers to use the mboxes.
171 </p>
172 <p>
173 Or you could install whatever IMAP server you like on the local machine, and point your mail readers to that IMAP server on localhost.
174 </p>
175 <h3 id="HowdoIaddordeleteafolder">How do I add or delete a folder?</h3>
176 <p>
177 OfflineIMAP does not currently provide this feature. However, if you create a new folder on the remote server, OfflineIMAP will detect this and create the corresponding folder locally automatically.
178 </p>
179 <h3 id="DoesOfflineIMAPsupportPOP">Does OfflineIMAP support POP?</h3>
180 <p>
181 No. POP is not robust enough to do a completely reliable multi-machine sync like OfflineIMAP can do.
182 </p>
183 <p>
184 OfflineIMAP will never support POP.
185 </p>
186 <h2 id="ConfigurationQuestions">Configuration Questions</h2>
187 <h3 id="CanIsynchronizemultipleaccountswithOfflineIMAP">Can I synchronize multiple accounts with OfflineIMAP?</h3>
188 <p>
189 Of course!
190 </p>
191 <p>
192 Just name them all in the accounts line in the general section of the configuration file, and add a per-account section for each one.
193 </p>
194 <p>
195 You can also optionally use the -a option when you run OfflineIMAP to request that it only operate upon a subset of the accounts for a particular run.
196 </p>
197 <h3 id="HowdoIspecifythenamesoffolders">How do I specify the names of folders?</h3>
198 <p>
199 You do not need to. OfflineIMAP is smart enough to automatically figure out what folders are present on the IMAP server and synchronize them. You can use the folderfilter and nametrans configuration file options to request only certain folders and rename them as they come in if you like.
200 </p>
201 <h3 id="HowdoIpreventcertainfoldersfrombeingsynced">How do I prevent certain folders from being synced?</h3>
202 <p>
203 Use the folderfilter option.
204 </p>
205 <h3 id="Whatisthemailboxnamerecordermbnamesfor">What is the mailbox name recorder (mbnames) for?</h3>
206 <p>
207 Some mail readers, such as mutt, are not capable of automatically determining the names of your mailboxes. OfflineIMAP can help these programs by writing the names of the folders in a format you specify. See the example offlineimap.conf for details.
208 </p>
209 <h2 id="IMAPServerNotes">IMAP Server Notes</h2>
210 <p>
211 In general, OfflineIMAP works with any IMAP server that provides compatibility with the IMAP RFCs. Some servers provide imperfect compatibility that may be good enough for general clients. OfflineIMAP needs more features, specifically support for UIDs, in order to do its job accurately and completely.
212 </p>
213 <h3 id="MicrosoftExchange">Microsoft Exchange</h3>
214 <p>
215 Several users have reported problems with Microsoft Exchange servers in conjunction with OfflineIMAP. This generally seems to be related to the Exchange servers not properly following the IMAP standards.
216 </p>
217 <p>
218 Mark Biggers has posted some <a class="ext-link" href=""><span class="icon">information</span></a> to the OfflineIMAP mailing list about how he made it work.
219 </p>
220 <p>
221 Other users have indicated that older (5.5) releases of Exchange are so bad that they will likely not work at all.
222 </p>
223 <p>
224 I do not have access to Exchange servers for testing, so any problems with it, if they can even be solved at all, will require help from OfflineIMAP users to find and fix.
225 </p>
226 <h2 id="ClientNotes">Client Notes</h2>
227 <h3 id="WhatclientsdoesOfflineIMAPworkwith">What clients does OfflineIMAP work with?</h3>
228 <p>
229 Any client that supports Maildir. Popular ones include mutt, Evolution, Thunderbird, and KMail.
230 </p>
231 <p>
232 With OfflineIMAP's IMAP-to-IMAP syncing, this can be even wider; see the next question.
233 </p>
234 <h3 id="Evolution">Evolution</h3>
235 <p>
236 OfflineIMAP can work with Evolution. To do so, first configure your OfflineIMAP account to have <tt>sep = /</tt> in its configuration. Then, configure Evolution with the "Maildir-format mail directories" server type. For the path, you will need to specify the name of the top-level folder <i>inside</i> your OfflineIMAP storage location. You're now set!
237 </p>
238 <h3 id="KMail">KMail</h3>
239 <p>
240 At this time, I believe that OfflineIMAP with Maildirs is not compatible with KMail. KMail cannot work in any mode other than to move all messages out of all folders immediately, which (besides being annoying and fundamentally broken) is incompatible with OfflineIMAP.
241 </p>
242 <p>
243 However, I have made KMail version 3 work well with OfflineIMAP by installing an IMAP server on my local machine, having OfflineIMAP sync to that, and pointing KMail at the same server.
244 </p>
245 <h3 id="Mutt">Mutt</h3>
246 <h4 id="DoIneedtousesetmaildir_trash">Do I need to use set maildir_trash?</h4>
247 <p>
248 Other IMAP sync programs require you to do this. OfflineIMAP does not. You'll get the best results without it, in fact, though turning it on won't hurt anything.
249 </p>
250 <h4 id="HowdoIsetupmbnameswithmutt">How do I set up mbnames with mutt?</h4>
251 <p>
252 The example offlineimap.conf file has this example. In your offlineimap.conf, you'll list this:
253 </p>
254 <pre class="wiki">[mbnames]
255 enabled = yes
256 filename = ~/Mutt/muttrc.mailboxes
257 header = "mailboxes "
258 peritem = "+%(accountname)s/%(foldername)s"
259 sep = " "
260 footer = "\n"
261 </pre><p>
262 Then in your .muttrc:
263 </p>
264 <pre class="wiki">source ~/Mutt/muttrc.mailboxes
265 </pre><p>
266 You might also want to set:
267 </p>
268 <pre class="wiki">set mbox_type=Maildir
269 set folder=$HOME/Maildirpath
270 </pre><p>
271 The OfflineIMAP manual has a more detailed example for doing this for multiple accounts.
272 </p>
273 <h2 id="MiscellaneousQuestions">Miscellaneous Questions</h2>
274 <h3 id="WhyareyourMaildirmessagefilenamessolong">Why are your Maildir message filenames so long?</h3>
275 <p>
276 OfflineIMAP has two relevant principles: 1) never modifying your messages in any way and 2) ensuring 100% reliable synchronizations. In order to do a reliable sync, OfflineIMAP must have a way to uniquely identify each e-mail. Three pieces of information are required to do this: your account name, the folder name, and the message UID. The account name can be calculated from the path in which your messages are. The folder name can usually be as well, BUT some mail clients move messages between folders by simply moving the file, leaving the name intact.
277 </p>
278 <p>
279 So, OfflineIMAP must store both a UID folder ID. The folder ID is necessary so OfflineIMAP can detect a message moved to a different folder. OfflineIMAP stores the UID (U= number) and an md5sum of the foldername (FMD5= number) to facilitate this.
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