Setting up Dovecot and VMM

This allows to set up assembl so email accounts for discussion are auto-created when a discussion is created.


Dovecot is the IMAP server. Vmm configures a user data model in Postgres. We will tell dovecot and postfix to look for users there. We will mostly follow the installation and configuration instructions steps in We are installing Dovecot 2.x, so choose sections appropriately.

The instructions mention /path/to/vmm-0.6.2/pgsql, those files are put in /usr/share/doc/vmm/examples/pgsql by apt-get. Here are further instructions for specific steps.

Installation prerequisites

fab -c assembl/configs/develop.rc install_dovecot_vmm
fab -c assembl/configs/develop.rc install_postfix

If the postgres database is local, and that step has not been done:

fab devenv install_postgres

Make sure your (full) hostname is set in /etc/hostname and /etc/mailname.

PostgreSQL configuration

Please ensure you have a the psycopg2 driver installed when you continue with the permission setup. This can be done in two different ways. The recommended way is to use the system repository, like shown below.

sudo apt-get install python-psycopg2

Another way is to use the global pip system. This is the less recommended way.

pip install psycopg2

pg_hba.conf is in /etc/postgresql/9.5/main/.

We did not bother to create a mailsys entry since all already has md5 login permissions. Make sure to note the passwords. TODO: We need to put them in some config files.

Dovecot configuration

Remember to use the Dovecot 2.x section. We did not set up sieve or quotas.

In dovecot.conf, we have the line

protocols = imap lmtp

This might also be handled by !include_try /usr/share/dovecot/protocols.d/*.protocol in the same file. Look in that directory.

Note that the path for dovecot-sql.conf.ext is /etc/dovecot/dovecot-sql.conf.ext and not /usr/local/etc/dovecot/dovecot-sql.conf.ext.

In /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-auth.conf, also put the following:

disable_plaintext_auth = yes
!include auth-sql.conf.ext

In /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-ssl.conf, you could use the same keys as for https (provided you use the same server name.) You can uncomment ssl = yes.

Postfix configuration

In /etc/postfix/ , add

mydestination = localhost

Also set your ssl key in those variables:


and add the following:

smtp_tls_CApath = /etc/ssl/certs
smtp_tls_CAfile =  /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt
smtp_tls_loglevel = 1
smtp_tls_session_cache_database = btree:${data_directory}/smtp_scache
smtp_tls_security_level = may

smtpd_relay_restrictions = permit_mynetworks permit_sasl_authenticated defer_unauth_destination
smtpd_tls_security_level = may
smtpd_tls_mandatory_ciphers = medium
smtpd_tls_mandatory_exclude_ciphers = aNULL, MD5
smtpd_tls_mandatory_protocols = !SSLv2, !SSLv3
smtpd_tls_received_header = yes
smtpd_tls_session_cache_timeout = 3600s
tls_random_source = dev:/dev/urandom

Make sure that relayhost = is empty

VMM configuration

Wo don’t have Instead:

cp /usr/share/doc/vmm/examples/postfix/* /etc/postfix

and adjust passwords (and host) by hand in those files.

In /etc/vmm/vmm.cfg:

< password_scheme = SHA512-CRYPT
> password_scheme = CRAM-MD5

(This is weak, but not sure that scram-sha1 in is the same.)

In /etc/vmm/vmm-db.cfg:

Adjust password, host and:

; Database name (String)
name = mailsys


Explore vmm commands at

Basically, you need to create the base domain, a postmaster account, and an account for the assembl instance, possibly assembl@example.domain (added to local.ini below, with its appropriate password). Other users will be created automatically by vmm.


If you have many assembl instances on the server, you may want to create an assembls group instead of giving permissions to each. I will assume that there is an assembls group and that users are members of that group.

addgroup assembls
usermod -a -G assembls assembl_user

Use visudo to edit /etc/sudoer.

Then give permissions to that group to execute the vmm ua command:

%assembls ALL=NOPASSWD: /etc/init.d/nginx restart , /etc/init.d/nginx reload , /etc/init.d/nginx stop , /etc/init.d/nginx start, /usr/sbin/vmm ua *

Assembl adjustments

In local.ini

idealoom_admin_email = assembl@example.domain = localhost
mail.username = assembl@example.domain
mail.password = (password of the assembl user.)
mail.tls = true
imap_domain = ...
discussion_callbacks =


Restart dovecot and postfix (/etc/init.d/postfix restart and /etc/init.d/dovecot restart), and look for any startup error in /var/log/mail.log.

to test postfix, start a pshell in assembl, and try the following with a real recipient:

from pyramid_mailer import get_mailer
from pyramid_mailer.message import Message
from assembl.lib import config

mailer = get_mailer(request)
message = Message(subject="hello world",

(Testing dovecot todo.)