I'm currently setting up a number of new Xserve boxes running Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard. One of these machines will be replacing our current (ageing) Linux mail server.

The Linux box is running an (older) version of Dovecot, and of course under the hood OS X Server is also running Dovecot. However the Linux version has been poked and prodded to use mbox format and OS X of course wants to use maildir format. That isn't really a problem, I hopeful that mb2md.pl will handle this for me...

...however I'm running this box with the users authenticated via Open Directory and have moved the MailStore onto a RAID'ed partition from it's default location. Users won't have a home directory on this machine, and I'm hesitant about providing access to a networked home directory, as I'd rather this box stayed up if the file server goes down and people can still get their mail.

However from reading the Dovecot documentation it's looking like I have to provide some sort of "home directory" for my mail servers (if nothing else for somewhere to put .forward files).

Is there an accepted way of going about this? I've found very little documentation about how OS X manages Dovecot via the Server Admin tool, and I'd really prefer to keep things configured via the GUIs. Dealing with Macs on the command line is entirely doable, but not really optimal.

Comments? Anyone?


I realize this is a really old post but it's also been viewed quite a number of times.

This really just works. There's absolutely no need for users to have a home folder on the server, never has been.

I recommend you do the initial configuration via Server Admin, and then go the way of command line, and think of it as a one-way trip. Just be sure to back up your configuration files frequently, and realize that if you DO go back and make any changes in Server Admin afterward, it will probably clobber your manual changes. The server GUI tools have gotten better about this, as long as you leave/preserve the resulting formatting. Certainly for the Postfix config files.

As for forwarding, that's a bit tricky. You'd need to work with dscl and modify two keys for the user in question: kMailAccountState (from value Enabled to Forward), and kAutoForwardValue with the email address for mail to be forwarded to.

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