Recommendation for $HOME

Brian J. Tarricone bjt23 at
Wed Dec 6 20:11:57 EET 2006

Thomas Güttler wrote:
> Am Dienstag, 5. Dezember 2006 17:17 schrieb Brian J. Tarricone:
>> Thomas Güttler wrote:
>>> If email is stored under $HOME the path to the
>>> inbox directory should be $HOME/Maildir/Inbox/.
>> This breaks the Maildir standard.  
> I don't see why this breaks the Maildir standard. 
> The directory Maildir/Inbox/ contains cur, new and tmp. 
> Maildir/cur should not exist.

The mail server at my web host begs to differ.
$HOME/Maildir/{cur,new,tmp} *is* my inbox.  Though I was a bit
hasty in saying 'breaks': you are correct that the mail server
admin could specify that "$HOME/Maildir/Inbox" is the user's
inbox, and that would make all other folders appear underneath
this folder.

However, can you explain what benefit this would provide?

>> We also can't know if the user is
>> using mbox or Maildir or MH-Maildir for their mail files, so it'll have
>> a different on-disk format and a different folder/naming structure.
> Yes, you are right. We could use ~/Mail/Inbox as the default location.
> Now Inbox could be maildir, mbox or something else. But the case
> sensitive pathname should be like this.

Why?  Because you say so?  Some mail programs use the actual name
to try to autodetect what style mailbox is present ($HOME/mail or
$HOME/Mail is mbox, $HOME/Maildir is maildir, etc.).  Does your
proposed standard provide a benefit (real, not perceived) that
outweighs asking all mail server and client authors to change the
defaults in their software, as well as asking admins of all
current mail hosts to change their configuration and migrate the
data of all their users?

>>> Background: I tried some MUAs, and now the maildir base directory
>>> contains a lot of index files. That's annoying if you use e.g. mutt,
>>> which displays all the index files, too.
>> Then mutt is broken, or misconfigured.
> Mutt just displays all nondot files inside the directory. The index
> files where created by (I think it was) evolution. This app of course
> does not display its own index files.

Again: mutt is broken.  A sane mail reader should be able to
interpret the mail store format you are using, and only display
the information relevant to the user.  It should know "hey, this
is a maildir store", and then only show the names of the folders
present.  The whole *point* of using  software to access your
mail store (rather than accessing the files directly yourself via
cat or less or whatever) is to hide the details of how the mail
is actually stored.


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