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Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

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IMAP caching proxy
Back in the bad old days, before Gmail had IMAP, simulated such a thing using Courier IMAP and fetchmail. It was hacky and it frequently aggravated me when it broke. After I'd had enough, I swore I'd never do such a thing again, and for a while I used the Gmail web interface, and was quite pleased when IMAP support was announced.

A few months later, I am considering setting up my own IMAP server again.

I don't know exactly how Google's setup works, but it can be slow for me at times (I suspect I am being throttled as not to use too much CPU or whatever), and when I'm trying to pull up a message, that's annoying. Add that to the fact that only my mail after a certain date shows up in IMAP, despite it all being there in the web interface, and I am looking to improve my mail situation here. I have seen scattered references to similar problems to the latter, but nothing concrete and certainly not a peep out of Google on the issue.

I would think that this time around, such a setup would be greatly simplified due to support for IMAP on the Google side. No need for fetchmail cron jobs and other such things (which had an annoying tendency to not work or get stuck). I would like to set up an IMAP server which, when it comes down to it, is essentially a caching proxy. Ideally, it would replicate my Gmail account in my homedir's Maildir, and then maintain a connection to gmail, downloading new mail as it comes in (using IDLE). That way, I could fetch the messages that are old (and refuse to show up in IMAP) and have them available. And since 99 percent of the time I'm the only one using my home server, I figure it will probably be a bit faster than Gmail IMAP.

So tell me, is this worth my time, and if so, how might I go about setting this up? I took an initial look into things like imapsync and offlineimap, both of which appear designed for one-time use and not persistent synchronization use. I looked at fetchmail again, because I had never investigated it's IMAP support, but near as I can tell it will not replicate my folder structure (aka labels), and it appears to still poll the server instead of using IDLE. It would be great if there was an IMAP server that natively supported this kind of behavior, or had a plugin that made this possible, but I am all for a separate program if it will get the job done.

Thanks in advance!

Current Mood: curious

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