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Re: Changing standard mailbox setup of Debian?

Radovan Garabik writes:
> On Fri, Mar 16, 2001 at 10:09:49AM +0000, Richard Kettlewell wrote:

>> Also some sites like to keep home directories and the mail spool
>> separated e.g. for quota or backup purposes.
> quota and backup purposes where one of the main reasons I changed
> my mail setup to use ~/Maildir instead of /var/mail :-)
> Your argument is valid in both directions.

You've misunderstood my argument, then, which is that it makes more
sense for the default to allow mail and home directories to be treated
separately easily.

For instance, you (AIUI) prefer to have the same quota apply to both
mail and home directories.  You can do that by having mail delivery go
somewhere inside /home; but you could also do that by having
/var/spool/mail on the same file system as /home.  So either approach
could easily be made to work for you.

But another site might prefer to have distinct quotas for mail and
home directories, or maybe even to have no quotas at all on one of
them.  With home and mail in different directories, as with
/var/spool/mail, this is relatively easy to achieve.  But if mail is
delivered somewhere under $HOME, it's harder to do this.

Similar remarks might apply to backups - it's common to define how
backups are handled at a granularity of filesystems rather than
directories within filesystems, so keeping mail out of $HOME provides
more scope for choosing different policies.

This isn't a discussion about what policy to use on any given site:
it's about what the default should be.  The examples above suggest
that /var/spool/mail (or /var/mail) supports a wider range of
policies; and I think that that makes it a more suitable choice for a

It's also a good thing not to change defaults without very good
reason.  dpkg's conffile handling is a good demonstration of this[1],
but the principle is a wider one.

[1] If the package maintainer changes the defaults, and you've never
    edited the conffile, then you'll get the new defaults whether you
    like them or not.  Usually this isn't a problem, as package
    maintainers don't make gratuitous changes to conffiles, but it can
    be a real nuisance when it does matter.


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