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Re: [VM] N Stale messages are ignored

From: Uday Reddy
Subject: Re: [VM] N Stale messages are ignored
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2013 15:34:42 +0100

address@hidden writes:

> I keep getting the above message when I save my Imap folder.

I copy my old message below:

`V l stale' shows the stale messages.

This is one of the dark corners of IMAP handling.  If everything is 
working correctly, the *only* time this warning should arise is when the 
IMAP server changes the UIDVALIDITY value.  In that case, all the 
messages in the cache folder become "stale" and VM will get fresh copies 
of everything.  In that case, you should answer "yes" to the question 
about expunge.

If the message arises in any other situation, you should know that 
something has gone wrong and you should be very careful with what you do 
next.  Two possibilities are:

- VM has successfully recovered from whatever went wrong, and obtained 
fresh copies of the messages.  In that case, it is fine to delete the 
"stale" copies and keep the good copies.

- VM didn't recover from the problems correctly and the "stale" copies 
are all that you have.  In that case, your safest course of action is to 
get rid of your imap-cache folder and let VM rebuild a new cache folder.

Be warned!  The IMAP code is not as fault-tolerant as it should be. 
Whenever you get vm-imap-protocol error with some other deeper error 
buried inside it, you should be wary.  It is incredibly hard to write 
fault-tolerant code and I can't promise that I got it right.  Getting 
rid of the imap-cache folder is the safest course of action.

> I read in an old posting that one solution is to:
> - Run: vm-prune-imap-retrieved-list
> - Remove the imap-cache folder and then let VM regenerate it
> Is this still the best way to do this?

Note that I distinguished between two separate cases in my previous message.
(i) UIDVALIDITY change and (ii) result of previous IMAP faults.  You haven't
said which case you are dealing with.

The first case (UIDVALIDITY change) is straightforward.  You can just get
rid of all the stale messages.

The second case is more complicated.  That is why VM leaves it to you to
figure out what went wrong and do the right thing.  VM has no idea what
faults might have occurred to cause those stale messages.  For all it knows,
the stale messages might be the only copies of those messages you have, and
if you delete them, you might lose them forever.

So, your best course is to find out what those stale messages are and
whether they are redundant copies are essential ones.


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