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From: Eric Wong <>
Subject: Re: Thoughts on search-based imap mailboxes
Date: Fri, 2 Oct 2020 20:08:30 +0000	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <20201002200830.GA17908@dcvr> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <20201002143444.itpfbhg75wqy3eva@chatter.i7.local>

Konstantin Ryabitsev <> wrote:
> Hello:
> While discussing something else on the users list, the 

Btw, is this list public?

> question of "virtual inbox folders" came up when talking about imap and 
> public-inbox. Here's how I imagine it could work in a way that doesn't 
> require any kind of real user management.
> - any site visitor can create a saved search against any index, which 
>   would be generated with a random name (e.g. guid4) and stored on the 
>   server via a simple guid->(index, search terms) mapping
> - if imap is enabled, any user can also create an imap "account" that 
>   would also be a guid random string, perhaps with a random password as 
>   well (or no password, since guid4 strings should suffice)
> - users can freely associate saved searches with these accounts, perhaps 
>   optionally allowing them to save them with aliases, such that the 
>   record is:
>   user_guid->(saved_search_guid, alias)
> - when logging into imap with an actual random account name, the 
>   associated inboxes would be displayed instead of the general listing
> - accounts and saved searches that were not accessed within $DAYS would 
>   be automatically purged
> What are your thoughts about this scheme? I like it because it respects 
> users' privacy, since we cannot map accounts to developers, and because 
> it doesn't require any kind of central identity gatekeeping. Anyone 
> setting up a public-inbox mirror can immediately start using this scheme 
> without needing to set up any kind of identity management backends.

I actually considered something nearly identical several years
ago with NNTP (and GUIDs or base-64-queries as NNTP group

Maybe it can be done; but temporary storage + expiration
policies would require more admin overhead and possible
permissions problems if JMAP and IMAP are run as different users.
The GUID/base64 mapping might also require a dedicated
client-side tool and might not be very usable from normal MUAs.

Right now, one of the most annoying thing for me with using
public-inbox-imapd is the inability to mark messages as Seen
using normal MUAs.

A client-side tool is likely required anyways, I'm thinking
having saved search functionality in a local tool writing to
Maildir/mbox might be the best way forward as w.r.t. scalability
and offline access (and reading + saving flags from the

External/detached index I'm working on for global search will
also be appropriate for client-side tooling, I think, as it's
being designed with non-public-inbox data sources in mind, too.

  reply	other threads:[~2020-10-02 20:08 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 6+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2020-10-02 14:34 Thoughts on search-based imap mailboxes Konstantin Ryabitsev
2020-10-02 20:08 ` Eric Wong [this message]
2020-10-03 14:50   ` Konstantin Ryabitsev
2020-10-03 19:40     ` Eric Wong
2021-02-05 22:37     ` James Bottomley
2021-02-06  0:01       ` Eric Wong

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