Large mailboxes

phil phil at
Fri Feb 24 22:35:01 CET 2006

On Fri, 24 Feb 2006 13:23:19 -0800, Mark Edwards <mark at> wrote:
> On Feb 24, 2006, at 11:51 AM, Steve Block wrote:
>> On Fri, 24 Feb 2006 11:09:47 -0800, Mark Edwards
>> <mark at> wrote:
>>> Roundcube seems to have some difficulty dealing with large mailboxes
>>> (large meaning thousands of messages).  It can manage indexing one of
>>> these, but if I try to actually show a message in a large mailbox, it
>>> basically hangs.
>>> When this happens, the browser just sits there waiting for a reply,
>>> and I can do a 'top' on the server and watch the apache process just
>>> eat up memory until it finally dies.
>>> It seems that Roundcube is digging through the mail and not releasing
>>> memory in some way, which becomes a problem as the mailbox size gets
>>> large.  At least that's my theory.
>>> Does anyone else observe this?  This is with Apache 1.3.34, PHP
>>> 5.1.2, MySQL 4.1.18 and Cyrus 2.2.12, running on FreeBSD 4.11p14.
>>> Thanks!
>> You are not alone. I have experienced the same issue with Cyrus
>> 2.1.18 and a mailbox of approximately 37,000 messages (the debian-
>> user mailing list). A recent upgrade to Cyrus 2.2.12 didn't seem to
>> change anything. Browsing the folder is fairly snappy but viewing a
>> message is all but impossible. I haven't taken the time to poke
>> through the message retrieval code yet, but I imagine that this can
>> be fixed considering how fast mutt or even Apple Mail can grab a
>> message from the same folder.
>> Just for the record, I am running Debian 3.1, Mysql 4.1.11, Apache
>> 2.0.54, php 4.3.10, and Cyrus 2.2.12.
> Okay, so based on the responses thus far, I'd say there are two
> possibilities here.
> 1) This is due to some peculiarity between Cyrus and Roundcube, and
> people using other IMAP servers don't see this issue.  One
> interesting thing is that Cyrus's imapd process also explodes in size
> during these events, along with the relevant httpd process.

I was going to ask if you were using mbox or Maildir (I use Maildir) but from your Squirrelmail response below it sounds like that's irrelevant.

> 2) The people who see this issue have a wimpy enough server (mine is
> quite wimpy - Pentium Pro 180Mhz with 128MB of RAM) that this
> situation is enough to bog down the server.  Those who don't see it
> have a burly enough server to not be affected, even though its still
> occurring.

I'm running FreeBSD 6 on a 1.2Gig AMD / 512Megs RAM (PC133) so that's not a fair comparision.

> In any case, its fairly obvious that, at least when used with Cyrus,
> Roundcube is chewing up resources in a way that it doesn't have to
> when viewing a particular message.  Memory isn't getting released, or
> Roundcube is going through unnecessary steps to get to a particular
> message.
> If I use Squirrelmail on the same server to access a message in the
> same box, and it is just as fast as any other box, or close to it.
> No memory explosion in the httpd process, no timeout.  Roundcube
> shouldn't have to do any more work or suck up any more memory than
> Squirrelmail to perform the same action of retrieving a particular
> message's data.

Yeah, now I'm lost.  Again my thoughts would have been about a big mbox file, or an IMAP server that couldn't handle that, but that does not compute if Squirrelmail is fast.  After all, Roundcube just *displays* messages, it's not responsible for *reading* them...right?  If caching was on then I'd think yes, but without, I assume it's no?  Just typing aloud here..hth.

-- - you dont have to kick it

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