POP3 Front End
IMAP Front End
Plugin API


The mailfront program acts as a driver container, loading up a protocol module, a backend module, and a list of plugins at run time. All protocols are completely interchangeable, as are the backends.


The protocol and backend modules are specified as the first two command line arguments. The remainder of the command line arguments specify lists of plugins.

If $PLUGINS is set, it contains a list of plugins, separated by colons, that will be loaded after the plugins specified on the command line. If $MODULE_PATH is set, it specifies the directory in which modules will be loaded. Otherwise, the built in module path will be used, which is configured by editing the file conf-modules before building.

Each plugin name may be one of following three forms:

The previously loaded plugin called "name" is removed from list. The special name "*" means to empty the entire list.
The named plugin is loaded and placed at the front of the list.
The named plugin is loaded and placed at the back of the list.

Note that in both cases where a plugin is loaded, it is first removed from the list if it was previously loaded. It is not possible for the same module to be loaded multiple times.

A configuration that would match previous installations of mailfront using the qmail backend would use the following list of plugins:


The included *front-qmail shell script wrappers for the mailfront program are preconfigured to load the above list of plugins before any of their command line arguments or $PLUGINS.


The protocol module is responsible for all interaction at the network I/O level with the client. It links into the system by calling down to the handler wrappers provided by mailfront, which in turn dispatches calls to the plugins and finally the backend. The following protocols are available:


Plugins are used to enhance or alter the behavior of mailfront. Without any plugins loaded, mailfront does not accept any senders or recipients. Plugins may intercept and modify all aspects of a message. The following plugins are included in the main package:


The backend is the final stage in incoming mail handling, and is responsible for passing the message on to the mail system. It is invoked only if no plugin generated an error. The following backends are available:

Temporary Files

Some plugins require the use of a temporary file, either to be able to modify contents after receiving a message or to fulfill external timing requirements. These plugins are noted in their documentation above. The temporary files are created in the directory named by $TMPDIR (defaults to "/tmp").