Dovecot versus Postfix

Tommy Trussell tommy.trussell at
Tue Nov 13 20:14:07 UTC 2007

On Nov 13, 2007 10:48 AM, Jan Sneep <jan at> wrote:
> usually I try to find a document someplace before I bother the list with
> specific details so I'm not wasting folks time.

so you've probably already read /usr/share/doc/postfix and

man postfix

and read the notes in the config files in

and presumably you also read any relevant information on the screen when you ran

sudo dpkg-reconfigure postfix

(note that similar docs exist for dovecot in similar locations)

I hope you know that postfix delivers mail, and dovecot serves
messages to mail clients via IMAP. Their functions don't overlap --
dovecot provides an IMAP service to Mail User Agents and postfix is a
Mail Transfer Agent.

> Both the Postfix and Dovecot servers are up and running based on all the
> tests I have read about and done. Installed themselves when I loaded the
> LAMP server software.
> But how do you send mail to either one?

since postfix delivers mail, it either has to be the DESTINATION for
another MTA (mail transfer agent) OR you have to tell it what MTA it
should retrieve its mail from.

Could you be confusing postfix with something else? Maybe you were
looking for fetchmail by Eric Raymond?

> Up until I started to play around with the settings for Postfix and Dovecot
> there were no messages in anybodies mail box, however I now have 123
> messages in my "jan" mailbox. Webmin tells me they are in /var/mail/jan and
> when I look at them they are all from Cron Daemon. when I open one of them
> it is addressed from root at ubuntu.localdomain (Cron Daemon) addressed to
> root at ubuntu.localdomain. With a subject of "Cron <root at ubuntu> cd / &&
> run-parts -- report /etc/cron.hourly" and the following message "run-parts:
> run-parts: component /etc/cron.hourly/spamrunner is a broken symbolic link"

you can look to see if spamrunner was partly removed and remove it
completely, reinstall it, or you could just delete the link and the
messages will stop.

> Of course if I try to address any mail from my Win XP machine to either
> jan at ubuntu.localdomain or root at ubuntu.localdomain it fails because of course
> my default email account attempts to use my ISP's SMTP server to send the
> mail and it is looking for an Internet domain name called ubuntu.localdomain
> and DNS can't find that one on the public servers ... :O)

it doesn't have to be on a PUBLIC server, but you need a name server
on your network that knows where everything on your LAN is. On my
network, my router is running linux so I activated a name server on
it. Handy, because it also assigns addresses using DCHP.

HOWEVER, I don't mess with routing mail -- I let the experts do that
for me. When I have used dovecot, I point to it directly from a mail
client like Thunderbird, and copy the messages to and from its message
stores. Those stores COULD be the same ones that postfix is managing
on your LAN.

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