PST is for Problems Syncing sTuff
July 9, 2012 2:38 AM   Subscribe

Can I run a local cross platform imap server ?

I used to store my local e-mails in .PST files - Now that I'm using more than one computer regularly, dropbox isn't syncing as well as it used to (It's more of an outlook issue than dropbox...).

What I'm thinking of is replacing PST storage with local IMAP servers running on each machine, with a standard file based storage format.
Ideally, one that runs both on Mac and Windows, and I can put storage in my dropbox so that it syncs between the two.

The things that are important to me:
- I need to keep using outlook
- I spend large portion of my time offline, so I don't want to have to be connected to an online server
- I want all my computers to be in sync

Does such a thing exists ? Is there a better way of achieving this ?
posted by motdiem2 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Why don't you use a single IMAP server, with the devices connecting to it?
posted by devnull at 3:16 AM on July 9, 2012

Can you not set Outlook to download the complete message from the original IMAP server in the send/receive settings and use folders on the server rather than local folders? Everything stays in sync in the usual way and you have everything available offline.
posted by wierdo at 3:17 AM on July 9, 2012

It seems like there must be a better way of doing this but to answer your main question: I have used Apache James v2, which is Java, cross-platform, and with the out-of-the-box file-based storage configuration keeps mail as flat files. v2 doesn't support IMAP but v3, which is in its fourth beta release at the moment, has IMAP listed as a feature.
posted by XMLicious at 3:27 AM on July 9, 2012

Seconding the single IMAP server. Your mail client should have the option of downloading and synchronizing IMAP messages locally and this is by far the simplest solution.

That said, if Outlook doesn't support this (and a quick Google search shows that support may be iffy) you probably want something like OfflineIMAP to keep a local each of the local IMAP servers' folders in sync with the remote IMAP server.

As a matter of general principal, I would not point all of the local IMAP servers message databases to a common dropbox because of the potential for race conditions with each server blindly writing to the same message store. It's much better and cleaner to have everyone speaking IMAP so that the software can at least be given the opportunity to sort things out.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:21 AM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for your suggestions. Regarding the single IMAP server - the part that bugs me are:
- I would need a server to host it, and the volume of data is already in the 10s of Gb - also, I'm not looking for the server to actually receive any e-mail - I just want to store it and retrieve it from outlook

- A lot of it is work related stuff, and I wouldn't be comfortable using gmail/google apps for that, even if it is just storage strangely I have no problem hosting it on dropbox so I get that my requirements may sound too specific...

which is why I was looking at a pc to pc syncing kind of getting this to work.

OfflineIMAP looks interesting, I'll look into it and see if it can be made to work under windows...
posted by motdiem2 at 4:31 AM on July 9, 2012

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