We've got a web server running RedHat Enterprise Linux 5.6, and it has all the usual local UNIX mailboxes. As is typical, the root mailbox gets all the cron output, logwatch results, etc. I'd like an easier way to keep an eye on this mailbox besides running mail via ssh.

What should I install/enable to allow access to these system mailboxes via IMAP or POP3 with minimal fuss? Either protocol would be fine for what I'm doing, as I could then add it as an account in Outlook. A bit of searching led me to cyrus-imapd and dovecot, but it seems like they are meant for more serious mail hosting operations. Either they use their own mailbox system exclusively, or don't have a simple way of making the UNIX mailboxes available. If I'm wrong about that, then I'm fine with using either of them as long as I can get to the mailboxes of the existing accounts on the box.

3 Answers 3


If you just want to get the email that is sent to those accounts, you don't necessarily have to resort to IMAP and POP. I'd investigate giving each of those accounts a .forward file, changing the MAILTO variables in your cron scripts, or even creating sendmail aliases before trying to read things like root's mail through POP or IMAP.

  • Yeah, I may have to resort to something like that. I'm trying to avoid having them sent to my primary work email address - I get enough clutter in there without wading through cron output! But if I can just open up POP3/IMAP, then that would be pretty sweet.
    – db2
    Feb 7, 2011 at 16:09
  • Well, that's a bit of a different problem and believe me, I can sympathize. You might want to look at the various cron scripts you're concerned about and only have them email you when there's an actual issue and then just leave the cron logging stuff on your server.
    – D.F.
    Feb 9, 2011 at 13:55

If all that's needed is to monitor mail for root, what I did was add an entry in /etc/aliases to forward all emails to another email address.

Don't forget to run newaliases to rebuild the database for mail alises.


This might be a silly alternative, so dismiss if it is not what you are looking for, but how about logwatch? That is what we use, and it works OK.

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