Coda File System

Re: delivering mail to coda in maildir format

From: Troy Benjegerdes <>
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2004 17:25:16 -0500
On Mon, Jul 12, 2004 at 01:01:08PM -0400, Jan Harkes wrote:
> On Sat, Jul 10, 2004 at 11:06:28PM -0500, Troy Benjegerdes wrote:
> > Has anyone tried running a 'production' mailserver that delivers mail
> > directly to coda volumes? Obviously you don't want to do this in mbox
> > format, but what about maildir?
> Hi Troy,
> I've been using maildir for a long time now, there is one change that I
> had to make to the protocol.
> In the original maildir spec, after the mail is written in the tmp
> directory, it is hardlinked to a name in new and then the name entry in
> tmp is removed. But Coda doesn't support cross-directory hardlinks so
> I had to replace the link/unlink sequence with an (atomic) rename().
> This is mostly identical, with one exception. If the target of the
> rename exists it is silently unlinked, while in the link/unlink case
> this would be detected. However, maildir already takes a lot of care
> to avoid name-collisions like this. In fact most implementations seem to
> use rename already. I haven't had to modify any mail-reading or delivery
> apps in a long time.

I've been running courier-{imap|mta|maildrop}, delivering to AFS for
awhile now.. I think all the rename vs link patches I had to make made it

> The only problem that occasionally hits is that resolution sometimes
> triggers a conflict. If one server was down then the remaining replica
> contains the following resolution logs,
>     tmp/ create foo
> 	store foo
> 	rename(-src) foo ../new/foo
>     new/ rename(-dst) ../tmp/foo foo
> After the server comes back, and we check the new/ directory first we
> see the rename operation and try to resolve. However the foo object
> does not yet exist on both servers, so the resolution fails and both tmp
> and new are marked inconsistent. The repair is trivial when starting
> with tmp (repair tmp /tmp/fix), the file creation is propagated to both
> servers and the rename is performed. The following repair on the new
> directory is only needed to clear the inconsistency flag.
> This type of rename resolution is the only one that is still almost
> guaranteed to give a conflict, if we looked at the tmp directory first
> the object would have existed and everything would have been fine, but
> programs that poll for new mail don't have a reason to check tmp before
> checking new...

I'm assuming a new mail delivery would cause a resolve on tmp/ first,
and clear the conflict.. so this is only a problem when a server comes
back up and new/ is accessed first?

> > What are the semantics of what happens when you get a conflict? Will the
> > files in conflict just not be available, or will my entire maildir
> > dissappear?
> Typically tmp and new will have a conflict, but any (previously read)
> mail in cur is still accessible. Fixing the rename-dst resolution case
> should (I hope) make maildir delivery conflict free, but it is a though
> one to get right.

Would it be possible to write a script that ran on a mail server to
automatically clean up these type of conflicts? Or would it be better to
just "do the right thing" in Coda?
Received on 2004-07-12 18:27:02