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I run my own mail server and use UW's imapd/popd daemons to provide service.

This week I just upgraded my OG Droid to a new Droid 3, running Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread). The email client is much improved over the previous one.

But now I have a bad interaction when I try to access email using imap from Thunderbird on a laptop or desktop.

Frequently Thunderbird will stop receiving any email at all, and it will appear only on the Droid.

Sometimes a Thunderbird restart will make the mail appear, but none of my "deletes" will be recorded, so when I start Thunderbird again, all my old email reappears.

If I kill all of the open imap daemons and restart xinetd, I can force it to behave for maybe a session.

I've tried turning off IDLE service (push email) on both sides, to no apparent avail. I've also tried installing DroidMail with the same result.

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My mailboxes are mbox format, no database. The mail server system is old, originally a SuSE 7 installation, with manual upgrades-from-source for things like apache, gcc, python, php. Can't seem to build the latest imapd source from UW, missing a header file in the "lhr" configuration. –  Mojo Nov 27 '11 at 4:59

1 Answer 1

I'm pretty sure I know what's going on now. Installing K-9 Mail (and turning off "push mail") did the trick.

I noticed that Gingerbread is keeping "Accounts" information at the system level, where it is external to the applications. I guess it's a nice feature to be able to share account connection information.

Both the built-in email app and DroidMail use the system-wide account storage. K-9 Mail keeps its account configuration in a private store.

My guess is that the system is using IMAP IDLE to do push mail notification, regardless of the setting selected in the email app. This is causing imap servers and mailbox locks to be held open constantly.

I'm also guessing that this is a consequence of my "antique" email server which is still using mbox mail files instead of a mail database. This is probably a low-percentage problem. Still it would be nice for Android to provide some control over the system-level IMAP account behavior.

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