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Summary: I have a university mailbox using IMAP protocol. My Ubuntu email clients do not download my inbox emails, not even the new ones. I can send emails though.


I use thunderbird on Windows 7 (laptop) as well as the gmail app on my android smartphone and both of them sync with the server. They both work really well.

I also set it up using Thunderbird on the same laptop with Ubuntu 14.04 (dual boot). I have recently bought a new desktop with ubuntu 15.04. Both of them do not download the inbox emails but can send emails. My inbox stay irremediably empty.

One strange thing is that it does sync with the recently sent emails, but only those sent from a Ubuntu client! So if I check my "sent" box, I can see all of the test emails I have sent with my ubuntu clients. Meanwhile I have sent "work" emails using the webmail application of my university and these ones do not appear in the sent box. I have also tried with Evolution on my desktop: same result (it can send emails, it does not download inbox emails but it downloads only emails sent with the ubuntu clients). My test email from Evolution did sync on my laptop's Thunderbird.

Note that I don't think it's a client configuration problem as I used exactly the same for Windows 7 Thunderbird and for Ubuntu 1*.04 Thunderbird. I guess it's a problem on ubuntu.

I first thought some ports are blocked, but it seems there is not such thing as a firewall on ubuntu.

mailbox configuration: SSL on port 993 with password authentification

Any thoughts? Thanks!

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    Go check with your university's IT people for proper setup in Thunderbird (or mail client of your choice) and verify you are setting up mail right. You don't even specify the university so we can't even begin to shed light on the issue. – Thomas Ward Sep 14 '15 at 10:40
  • Just a side note: there is firewall on Ubuntu. It's ufw script (man ufw) that manages iptables. But I doubt it has anything to do with your problem. For me, it seems, that you didi not correctly configured subscriptions to IMAP folders. Or maybe folders need some setting on the server to be able to be synced? But yea, as mentioned, ask your IT. – Marek Bettman Sep 15 '15 at 9:35
  • Can you check the logs to possibly determine what's wrong? Maybe then people could be able to help you. If you want to create an IMAP log, before running Thunderbird open the terminal and write: export NSPR_LOG_MODULES=imap:5 export NSPR_LOG_FILE=/tmp/imap.log You can find more info here: wiki.mozilla.org/MailNews:Logging – radinho Sep 15 '15 at 9:38
  • @ThomasW. The univeristy already provides the way to set it up, even with a video – Wli Sep 15 '15 at 14:13
  • As I said, I followed it for Windows and it worked perfectly. I adapted it to Android gmail app and it worked as well. – Wli Sep 15 '15 at 14:26
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+50

You might find this handy: http://www.anta.net/misc/telnet-troubleshooting/imap.shtml

When I was last trying to figure out a complex IMAP server setup, so I could use pine, I found it invaluable, being able to telnet into the server and talk IMAP to it directly, so I could list the contents of various folders, to try to figure out where INBOX actually was. From memory the issue I was having was that INBOX was in one place and my folders were in another, and not contained in INBOX as thunderbird expected.

That said, the best advice is probably to ask one of your University tech guru's how to correctly configure thunderbird, or some other IMAP client.

  • I wish I could ask for technical help but unfortunately I am a "remote" PhD. Thanks for the link. This technique also shows no email in the inbox. '* 0 EXISTS * 0 RECENT ' – Wli Sep 17 '15 at 18:29
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The university has two servers! And for some reason, my account was on the undocumented one.

I checked this by logging in the webmail powered by RoundCube in parameters > user information. The right server is mentionned there.

Thanks all for your help.

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