# Public Mailboxes¶

Public mailboxes are typically mailboxes that are visible to all users or to large user groups. They are created by defining a public namespace, under which all the shared mailboxes are. See Filesystem permissions (in shared mailboxes) for issues related to filesystem permissions. See Namespaces for details of how namespaces are configured.

For example to create a public Maildir mailboxes, use:

# User's private mail location
mail_location = maildir:~/Maildir

# When creating any namespaces, you must also have a private namespace:
namespace {
type = private
separator = /
prefix =
#location defaults to mail_location.
inbox = yes
}

namespace {
type = public
separator = /
prefix = Public/
location = maildir:/var/mail/public
subscriptions = no
}


In the above example, you would then create Maildir mailboxes under the /var/mail/public/ directory.

Note that with Maildir format Dovecot uses Maildir++ layout by default for folders, where the folder names must begin with a “.” or Dovecot will ignore them. You can also optionally use the “fs” layout if you want the directory structure to look like:

• /var/mail/public/ (root dir)

• /var/mail/public/info/ (maildir folder)

• /var/mail/public/company/ (maildir folder)

## Per-user \Seen flag¶

The recommended way to enable private flags for shared mailboxes is to create private indexes with :INDEXPVT=<path>. This creates dovecot.index.pvt[.log] files, which contain only the message UIDs and the private flags. Currently the list of private flags is hardcoded only to the \Seen flag.

Example:

namespace {
type = public
separator = /
prefix = Public/
location = maildir:/var/mail/public:INDEXPVT=~/Maildir/public
subscriptions = no
}


### Maildir: Keyword sharing¶

Make sure you don’t try to use per-user CONTROL directory. Otherwise dovecot-keywords file doesn’t get shared and keyword mapping breaks.

## Subscriptions¶

Typically you want each user to have control over their own subscriptions for mailboxes in public namespaces. This is why you should set subscriptions=no to the namespace. Dovecot will then use the parent namespace’s subscriptions file. If you don’t otherwise have a namespace with empty prefix, create one:

namespace subscriptions {
prefix =
separator = /
subscriptions = yes
hidden = yes
list = no
alias_for = INBOX/ # the INBOX namespace's prefix
location = <same as mail_location>:SUBSCRIPTIONS=subscriptions-shared
}


If you have a read-only directory structure containing mbox files, you’ll need to store index files elsewhere:

namespace {
type = public
prefix = Public/
location = mbox:/var/mail/public/:INDEX=/var/indexes/public
subscriptions = no
}


In the above example all the users would still be sharing the index files, so you might have problems with filesystem permissions. Alternatively you could place the index files under user’s home directory.

If your Maildir is read-only, the control and index files still need to be created somewhere. You can specify the path for these by appending :CONTROL=<path>:INDEX=<path> to mail location. The path may point to a directory that is shared among all users, or to a per-user path. Note that if the Maildir has any keywords, the per-user control directory breaks the keywords since there is no dovecot-keywords file.

When configuring multiple namespaces, the CONTROL/INDEX path must be different for each namespace. Otherwise if namespaces have identically named mailboxes their control/index directories will conflict and cause all kinds of problems.

If you put the control files to a per-user directory, you must also put the index files to a per-user directory, otherwise you’ll get errors. It is however possible to use shared control files but per-user index files, assuming you’ve set up permissions properly.

namespace {
type = public
separator = /
prefix = Public/
location = maildir:/var/mail/public:CONTROL=~/Maildir/public:INDEX=~/Maildir/public
subscriptions = no
}
namespace {
type = public
separator = /
prefix = Team/
location = maildir:/var/mail/team:CONTROL=~/Maildir/team:INDEX=~/Maildir/team
subscriptions = no
}


## Example: Public mailboxes with ACLs¶

namespace {
type = public
separator = .
prefix = public.
location = maildir:/var/mail/public
subscriptions = no
list = children
}

plugin {
acl = vfile
}


It’s important that the namespace type is “public” regardless of whether you set the namespace prefix to “shared.” or something else.

After this you have to place dovecot-acl files in every mailbox/folder below /var/mail/public with rights for that folder (e.g. user=someone lr).

The acl_shared_dict setting is not relevant for public mailboxes (only for shared).