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Re: [K12OSN] /spool/mail question

Julius Szelagiewicz wrote:

This isn't LTSP specific -- but is there a proper way (or a reason NOT
to) to use NFS to export the /var/spool/mail directory from my email
server to all my LTSP servers?  It would make email programs a lot
easier to set up, since "local mail" would literally be the actual email
system mail.

I'm not sure what happens with someone on machine1 sends local mail to
username1 at the same time that username1 gets a *real* email on the
email server.  Does NFS locking work in this case?

I obviously don't want to break email -- but if all the computers shared
a common /var/spool/mail, it would add some convienience.

Anyone doing this?  Is this a common thing in *nix systems?  Is this an
insane idea?

Thanks a bunch,

theoretically it sounds like a good idea, practically it is not. first,
nfs locking is advisory, that is several processes writing to the same
file are apt to destroy it, and mail resides in *one* file. if you want a
central repository, select a machine that will carry all the mail (not
necessary the same as mail server), run imapd on it and use a webmail
setup. this allows you access to mail from just about anywhere and all
the mail sits on one machine (this machine needs to have all the user
accounts). this setup is pretty straightforward and it works well. julius

Here's how the theory can work for email. Share out /home and run something like courier-imap, which uses the maildir format instead of the single-file mbox format. I like the maildir format because each email is stored in a separate file on the hard disk, so I'm far less likely to lose all of my email if something happens to the filesystem. Make sure you're running 100Mb or better with this NFS share; 100Mb is cheap these days.

That said, it sounds like Julius's idea is certainly a good one. I wish I had time to try it out myself.


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