16 May 2008 by Lars
Importing archival email from Thunderbird into Gmail
I am testing the usefulness of dropping my mail archives (currently local to my workstation) into a Gmail account. Not so easy.
- GMail Loader doesn’t quite do the job, because it forwards it, and in my case, it failed because the mail server I was using didn’t allow for relay services (maybe I configured something wrong, but anyway). Also, it wanted a single Mbox – I had several hundred.
- gExodus also failed – Windows only.
So I did it the hard way:
- Install dovecot (IMAP/POP server). That was easy: zypper install dovecot
- Copy my Thunderbird directory to a test directory (just to be on the safe side)
- Point dovecot at that directory, with mbox: format. Well, that would have been too easy – it didn’t see anything – possibly because of an incompatible mbox format.
- OK, try again: Import Thunderbird email into Kmail (converting it into maildir format)
- Point dovecot at the Kmail-converted directory. Failed, too. Turns out, dovecot and Kmail use incompatible maildir formats (if everybody has their own standard, is it really a standard?)
- Convert all directories from Kmail’s “.directory/yaya.directory/…” format to dovecot’s “.directory.yaya.directory….” format.
- Point dovecot at the Kmail-converted/renamed directory. Failed again.
- Move all files from “.directory/.subdir/cur” to “new/”.
- Point dovecot at the “new/” root directory (well, actually, again the Kmail-converted area, which has a “new/” subdirectory). THAT worked.
- Go to Gmail, open up a couple of ports on the home firewall and the workstation, and let it rip
That took a LONG time. After 15 minutes, Gmail had pulled down 130 messages… I only have a couple of thousand. We’ll see.