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For my mailserver I have a dovecot, postfix and sieve setup.

I have several hundred mails in my maildir and have recently created some sieve rules for sorting them. Unfortunatelly the sieve rules are by design only applied to incoming messages. Therefore my question:

How can I run sieve against messages in an already existing maildir?


--- edit:

Thanks larsks

With the link you provided I ended up using:

mkdir todo
mkdir done
mv cur/* todo
for  i  in todo/*; do
    echo "Delivering message $i ..."
    /usr/lib/dovecot/deliver -d < $i && mv $i done/

which works like I charm. I can rerun this script for every new filter I create.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have searched a lot too - rarely documentated.

Meanwhile there is a command


for it, found on this blog for a howto

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thanks for sharing this! – ftiaronsem Jan 6 at 18:19

There's not an easy way to do this, but according to this message you can write a shell script to re-deliver messages using Dovecot's deliver something like this:

produce_message_list |
while read msg; do
  /usr/libexec/dovecot/deliver -d user < $msg && rm -f $msg

You'll have to replace produce_message_list with something that produces a list of messages for processing; possibly find will do what you need.

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Newer versions of dovecot and pidgeonhole now come with a sieve-filter command. So you can write a script to scan all mailboxes for a "INBOX.Refilter" folder, and then run sieve-filter against that folder.

This script assumes that you have structured your mail folder as /var/vmail/domain/user.



# BASE should point at /var/vmail/ and should have trailing slash



echo ""
echo "Search for messages to resort under ${BASE}"
echo "Started at: " `date`
echo "Looking for mailboxes with ${RESORTFOLDER}"
echo ""

# since RHEL5/CentOS5 don't have "sort -R" option to randomize, use the following example
# echo -e "2\n1\n3\n5\n4" | perl -MList::Util -e 'print List::Util::shuffle <>'

DIRS=`$FIND ${BASE} -maxdepth 3 -name ${SEARCHFILE} | \
    $SED -n "s:^${BASE}::p" | $SED "s:/${SEARCHFILE}$:/:" | \
    perl -MList::Util -e 'print List::Util::shuffle <>'`

# keep track of directories processed so far

for DIR in ${DIRS}
    D=`echo "$DIR" | tr '/' ' ' | awk '{print $1}'`
    U=`echo "$DIR" | tr '/' ' ' | awk '{print $2}'`

    if [ -d "$UD/cur" ] 
        echo "`date` - $DIR"
        echo " domain: $D"
        echo "   user: $U"
        FILES=`find $UD/cur/ $UD/new/ -type f -name '*' | wc -l`
        echo "  files: $FILES"

        if [[ $FILES -ge 1 ]]; then
            echo "Run $FILES messages back through the sieve filter."
            # -c2 means run at best-effort, -n7 is least priority possible
            ionice -c2 -n7 sieve-filter -e -W -C -u "${U}@${D}" "${BASE}${DIR}.dovecot.sieve" "${RESORTFOLDER}"

        echo ""

    # the following is debug code, to stop the script after N directories
    #echo "DCNT: $DCNT"
    #if [[ $DCNT -ge 5 ]]; then exit 0; fi

echo ""
echo "Finished at:" `date`
echo ""
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