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TCP/IP IMAP and Thunderbird / Evolution

TCP/IP IMAP and Thunderbird / Evolution

For a while now, I am trying to make the IMAP server from "TCP/IP Services for OpenVMS" (V5.6) play nice with Thunderbird (V3.1.10) and/or Evolution (V3.0.1) on Linux (Fedora 15).

Simple plain text mail messages are handled well, but the more complex a message gets (body encoded in HTML and/or Base64, MIME attachments etc.), the more trouble I tend to have handling the message: messages appear to be empty, sometimes even the connection to the server breaks down, so the message listing pane in either client suddenly turns empty.

After some poking around, I obtained a log of the client/server communication by starting Thunderbird from the Linux command line, setting an environment variable that turns on some debugging output:

NSPR_LOG_MODULES="IMAP:5,timestamp" thunderbird

gives output that contains the lines shown in the attached log.

If I read the output properly, the client seems to deliberately close the connection after complaining about a protocol violation.

I am not an IMAP expert, but an example in section 7.4.2 of RFC3501 seems to suggest that in the server response, the words ALTERNATIVE and RELATED should be quoted strings rather than unquoted keywords.

Can somebody who is more familiar with IMAP either confirm or correct me, please?

Even better (and desperate ;-) ): anybody have an idea of how to get rid of this problem?
Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: TCP/IP IMAP and Thunderbird / Evolution

"Even better (and desperate ;-) ): anybody have an idea of how to get rid of this problem?" - upgrade to PMDF :-)
Purely Personal Opinion

Re: TCP/IP IMAP and Thunderbird / Evolution


Sorry for the late reply: after returning from a business trip, I had to find my way through the new forum platform first.

Yeah, forgot to mention that: I have PMDF on another Alpha, but it is being phased out in favor of a popular mail exchange system, the name of which I don't want to mention here. (It is not based on OpenVMS, but on an inferior platform.)

With PMDF, the same clients work well, even on mailboxes that have multiple folders with thousands of messages in each folder, so yes, PMDF would be a good solution. Unfortunately, I need to replace it.

So, thanks for the suggestion, it would work well if PMDF were an option. Any other idea that works with the IMAP server included with TCP/IP services, anybody? Or, any remark on my suspicion about the quotes?



Re: TCP/IP IMAP and Thunderbird / Evolution

Nobody familiar with IMAP here? -- Is there a better place somewhere else to post this question?

Jeremy Begg
Trusted Contributor

Re: TCP/IP IMAP and Thunderbird / Evolution



If you already have PMDF why are you dropping it?  Clearly you have an ongoing need for IMAP (otherwise you wouldn't be trying to get the TCP/IP Services IMAP server working).


I have spent a lot of time in the past supporting the MultiNet IMAP server and it had sufficient problems that I persuaded my customer to try PMDF.  They were sceptical but very quickly changed their minds.  The TCP/IP Services and MultiNet IMAP servers simply don't have the development effort to make them useable in a modern environment.


Note that if you have a PMDF licence you can keep using the product for as long as you like.



Jeremy Begg

Re: TCP/IP IMAP and Thunderbird / Evolution


it was a corporate decision to drop PMDF and replace it with another mail Exchange. My mailbox is the only one that still remains on the OpenVMS server, for technical reasons that are beyond the scope of this thread. Suffice it to say I am rather happy for having reasons to stay on the platform that earned my trust and confidence during the past decades.

Keeping the existing PMDF license may be possible, but how can I migrate from Alpha to Itanium, or how can I upgrade to later versions of PMDF to match OpenVMS updates?

For a single mailbox like mine, PMDF is overkill. That became very clear when I inquired about the smallest available license in preparation for moving to Integrity. PMDF is an excellent choice for the complete range from the backbone of a corporate mail system, through integration of different communication channels, down to hundreds of user mailboxes per server, but it's way too strong to be abused as a simple mailbox server for only me.

Back to the original question; I have a feeling that the solution might simply be adding a pair of quotes to a server response. If no development effort can be spent for the IMAP part of the TCP/IP product, then maybe the source code might be made available, so I can try fixing it myself? (Yes, agreed, this is not how things used to work at |d|i|g|i|t|a|l|: "My car? - Sure! -- My wife? - Hm, maybe. -- My code? - No way!" -- But didn't you say "modern environment"?)

Right now, checking mail is painful: the workaround for reading an apparently empty MIME message is to download and "save as..." the entire message, then open the resulting .eml file and have Thunderbird parse the MIME headers, rather than obtain structural information from the IMAP server.

Andreas Freiherr

Jeremy Begg
Trusted Contributor

Re: TCP/IP IMAP and Thunderbird / Evolution

Hi Andreas,


If you really want to get the TCP/IP Services IMAP service working, log an HP support call.  In my experience the single biggest cause of IMAP failures is lack of virtual memory for the IMAP server process.  This is because the IMAP server attempts to buffer the entire message, and sometimes the entire mailbox, in memory.


Jeremy Begg