Articles September 16, 2004 at 1:47 am

Sieve Installer – Updated

Server-side Mail processing for Cyrus

Enables vacation messages and mail filters with OS X Server 10.3.UPDATE

9/15/04 – Added troubleshooting info

What is Sieve?

Sieve is the server-side mail filtering package with the Cyrus IMAP server. It’s installed by default on OS X Server, but you have to hand install the scripts. That sucks. So here’s instructions for getting this working with your current users through a web interface.

Unlike other methods of doing this, it won’t endanger your user database, nor will you have to keep a secondary password database.

When you are done with this, your users will be able to self-administer their own vacation processing and other mail filtering rules.

Here’s the install proceedure.

Note that you’ll need the Developer Tools installed for this

1. install the timseived pkg. Read the read me for lots more info.

2. build sasl – you shouldn’t have to do this, but I can’t nail down the one thing that is necessary yet. I need to do an install and diff it with a clean box, but haven’t had the time yet.

So download cyrus-sasl-2.1.19 from CMU

3. Install AvelSieve pkg, and configure squirrelmail to use the new avelsieve plugin. This pkg only works if you haven’t moved Squirrelmail from where Apple installed it. If you have, just d/l the plugin from the Squirrelmail site and install as normal.

4. Install the BDB pkg, if you don’t already have BDB 4.1 installed. Note that this does not interfer with the Apple BDB framework, it’s installed in a different place.

5. Stop/start mail.

6. Go to Squirrelmail and use the new “filter” button at the top.


1. Read the read me that comes with the package. Much of the internal workings of this package will be illuminated there.

2. After running this the permissions of /usr/lib/sasl/pwauxprop.* need to deny the mail group from reading the files. For example:

-rwx---r-x 1 root mail 641 14 Sep 2003 /usr/lib/sasl2/
-rwx---r-x 1 root mail 91856 19 May 18:42 /usr/lib/sasl2/

Running repair permissions or installing a software update may stomp on these permissions and cause filter logins to fail. The currently existing filters will still work, you just won’t be able to make any changes. Reset the permissions to fix this.

One possible solution to this is to lock these files.

Note that you will get errors in your mailaccess.log about not being able to open up these files. This is normal and fine, read the read me for more info on this.

3. If you are still having problems logging in after you have checked the permissions again, double check what password types you have enabled in Server Admin for the mail system. If you do not have the bottom IMAP password type, clear, enabled, you’ll need to edit your Squirrelmail configuration to reflect this. Use the perl script at /etc/SquirrelMail/config/ to edit the IMAP settings and specify one of the available password types.

I happen to only allow SSL access for IMAP and POP to my servers, so clear passwords is not a security issue. However, if you allow non-SSL connections, you’ll want to disable clear passwords and make the conf change to Squirrelmail.

4. The vacation filter needs an e-mail address filled in, in the Squirrelmail filter setup, for it to work. Additionally, as long as the vacation filter is enabled for a user it keeps a database of what addresses it has replied to and will not re-reply to them until the timeout period that it was created with has expired. This is a good thing and is how sieve should work.

Finally, secondary shortnames, as specified in Workgroup Manager, are not valid for sieve filters, including vacation. OSX does short names like no other OS and sieve doesn’t like them. I know of no way around this. Postfix aliases, on the other hand, should work without any problems.

These tips apply to 99% of the people who think everything works but the vacation filter. Re-read this section until you realize your problem lies within.

5. With no one currently managing their filters you should have 5 instances of “saslauthd -a PAM” running on your server. Once a user logs in to manage their filters you’ll see timsieved come up briefly. The installer package sets up watchdog, /etc/watchdog.conf, to launch saslauthd at boot time.

6. If worse comes to worse, remove the reciepts for these packages in /Library/Receipts and re-run them.

7. While it might not be necessary for just a basic sieve setup, you’ll probably want to install cyradm to let you better manager Cyrus.

The cyradm package is mandatory if you want to use any of ther perl utilities to interact with sieve.

8. If this doesn’t answer your problems/prayers, then post in the forum. That’s the link that says “Forum” at the top of the page. The comments function of the story isn’t real suited for long discussions.

I’ve moved the comments that used to be here into the forum already to get you started.

No Comments

  • It might. Procmail hands off the mail to the deliver command to pass the e-
    mail into Cyrus. It’s at this point that Sieve should come into play.

    So in theory….both should play nice.

    Personally, I’d bail on procmail, for a number of reasons, and go with Sieve

    Changing the world, one server at a time.

    Joel Rennich

    • is seive a replacement for procmail? i’ve been trying to bail on procmail,
      mostly to try seive out… since i "broke" spamassassin after using procmail, i
      am just wondering what benifits there are from using your seive installers? or
      is it just for vacation messages?

  • so i followed your instructions and no dice!

    unable to open LA file: /usr/lib/sasl2/ – changing permissions
    to root:wheel got rid of this error.

    go to squirrellmail-filters – fsockopen(): php_hostconnect- unable to connect
    to imap server:2000 line – avelsieve/sieve-php.lib.php line 366

    any ideas?

    • The pwauxprop error is what you’re supposed to get. Read the read me of the
      timsieved installer, which should talk about that.

      The other error sounds like you have Squirrelmail or IMAP issues. The
      Avelsieve plugin can’t find your IMAP server.

      Changing the world, one server at a time.

      Joel Rennich

  • this is very similar to the error messages i was getting when clicking on
    filters! i’m not sure what issues i have with imap or squirelmail because they
    both work! i changed my imap server in squirelmail 3 times and kept getting
    errors, although i could still send and receive mail?

    • I too am getting this error. I’ve tried following the directions given again to
      no avail. It did work at first, then decided to be bad.

    • justyn.pride

      Thanks for your comment. I have to say I was slightly perplexed by your
      email, or I was doing something wrong. By using the url that you gave (but
      adding my hostname!), I ended up with exactly the same error message as
      before, and then using the back button did nothing ;-(

      Curiously I turned the plugin off, and then tried the url and the same error
      message came up, which I assume that timseive just isn’t working. I may try a
      reinstall and see what happens. It can’t get worse than this 😉 or can it!


      • MacTroll has posted a solution in the forums…

        1. Delete /Library/Receipts/timsieved.pkg/
        2. Rerun the installer.

        • justyn.pride

          Thanks for the info. It doesn’t seem to resolve the problem on my machine
          though. I may try running through the entire process again though, and then
          see what happens. I do find that I after turn the plugin on, that I have
          problems with the smpt on postfix until I then disable it. Doesn’t happen all
          the time, but more often than not!

  • justyn.pride

    I have the same problem for the vacation part of the filter, until I put in a
    email address into the filter field and it then worked!

    This article has been a life saver, well done!


    • Can you expand on that? I’m having the same trouble, but can’t get you fix to
      work (I’m assuming that I’m doing it wrong).


      Professional Services/Training
      MacOutfitters of Cranberry, PA
      “Fixing my mistakes, one server at a time”

      • justyn.pride

        Afraid that I although it works on my test machine, I am now in the same boat
        as everyone else concerning the installation on my main xserve ;-( I have no
        idea what is wrong, although at least I know it does work! The confusing
        thing is that both of installs were onto completely clean servers, as I had just
        restored the OS on them. Bizarre.


  • You need the developer tools. I have posted an article on this that will
    hopefully be up in a day or two.


    Professional Services/Training
    MacOutfitters of Cranberry, PA
    “Fixing my mistakes, one server at a time”

  • I’m in the same boat. I can setup the filters, but they don’t do anything.

    • I am in the same situation, the vacation does not work

  • This is weird – installed on one server fine, works OK. Same installation
    procedure, filters are there but 2 diferences. 1. They are only accesible for
    some uesrs if they use their default short name (not mail alias). 2. The filters
    don’t work (well I’ve only tried Vacation) it accepts the mail and sends no
    response back.