Sun Java System Messaging Server 6.3 Administration Guide To Set Rules Implementing Automatic Message Removal Policy

To implement the automatic message removal policy defined in the previous section, you must set the imexpire rules. Rules are set by putting them into a store.expirerule file. An example of two global store.expirerule rules is shown below:

Rule1.regexp: 1
Rule1.folderpattern: user/.*/trash
Rule1.messagedays: 2
Rule2:regexp: 1
Rule2.folderpattern: user/.*
Rule2.messagedays: 14


In this example, Rule 1 specifies that all messages in the trash folder will be remove after two days. Rule 2 specifies that all messages in the message store will be removed after 14 days.

This section consists of the following subsections:

Expiration Rules Guidelines

This section sets the guidelines for the store.expirerule file rules.

Note –

In earlier Messaging Server releases, expiration rules could be set with configutil parameters store.expirerule.attribute (see configutil Parameters in Sun Java System Messaging Server 6.3 Administration Reference.) This is still true, but expire rules using header constraints (example: expiring a message with a specific subject line) are not supported. Also, regular expressions in the expire rules created with configutil need to be POSIX compliant rules. If you want to use UNIX compliant regular expressions you will have to use the store.expire file. In addition, using both configutil options and the global store.expirerule configuration file is not supported. If the configuration file is present, configutil options are not used. In any case, it is best to use store.expirerule to specify all expiration rules.

Table 20–8 imexpire Attributes


Description (Attribute Value) 


Specifies an action to perform on the messages caught by the expire rules. The possible values are: 

discard discards the message. This is the default.

report action prints the mailbox name, uid-validity and uid to stdout.

archive archives the message with Sun Compliance and Content Management System and then discards the message.

fileinto: folder action folders the message into the specific folder. The shared folder prefix can be used to folder messages to folders owned by another user.


Specifies whether or not this is an exclusive rule. If specified as exclusive, only this rule applies to the specified mailbox(s) and all other rules are ignored. If more than one exclusive rule exists, the last exclusive rule loaded will be used. For example, if a global and a local exclusive rule are specified, the local rule will be used. If there is more than one global exclusive rule, the last global rule listed by configutil is used. (1/0)


Specifies the folders affected by this rule. The format must start with a user/, which represents the directory store_root/partition/*/ See Table 20–9. (POSIX regular expression)


Maximum number of messages in a folder. Oldest messages are expunged as additional messages are delivered. (integer) 


Maximum size of folder before the oldest messages are expunged when additional messages are delivered. (integer in bytes) 


Number of days in the message store before being expunged. (integer) 


Maximum size of message in bytes before it is marked to be expunged. (integer) 


Grace period. Days an over-sized message should remain in a folder. (integer) 


Specifies a header field and string that marks a message for removal. Values are not case-sensitive and regular expressions are not recognized.Example: Rule1.messageheader.Subject: Get Rich Now!

For the header Expires and Expiry-Date, imexpire will remove the message if the date value specified with these header fields is older than the messagedays attribute. If multiple expiration header fields are specified, the earliest expiration date will be used. (string).


Enable UNIX regular expressions in rules creation. (1 or 0). If not specified, IMAP expressions will be used. 


Number of days the messages are saved in a folder until they are expunged. 


seen is a message status flag set by the system when the user opens a message. If the attribute seen is set to and, then the message must be seen and other criteria must be met before the rule is fulfilled. If the attribute seen is set to or, then the message only needs to be seen or another criteria be met before the rule is fulfilled. (and/or).


A Sieve rule specifying message selection criteria. Example: Rule17.sieve: header :contains “Subject” “Vigara”


deleted is a message status flag set by the system when the user deletes a message. If the attribute deleted is set to and, then the message must be deleted and another criteria must be met before the rule is fulfilled. If the attribute deleted is set to or, then the message only needs to be seen or another criteria be met before the rule is fulfilled. (and/or)

Localized Mailbox Names

The IMAP protocol specifies that mailbox names use modified UTF-7 encoding. Messaging Server supports localized character sets on external interfaces so that mailbox names can be localized. Internally, however, the system converts the localized name to UTF-7. Thus, a folder that has a localize mailbox name on a client will have a corresponding mailbox file name in UTF-7. (Note that IMAP error messages will output mailbox names in UTF-7 and not the localized character set.)

In general, most message store utilities that require mailbox names expect the names in the localized character set, although they may have an option flag that allows a different character set to be used. These utilities include reconstruct, mboxutil, imsbackup, imsrestore, and hashdir. However, imexpire requires that the mailbox name, specified as the attribute folderpattern,be in UTF-7. Using a localized name will not work.

To obtain the appropriate folderpattern for imexpire it may be necessary to convert a localized mailbox name to the modified UTF-7 equivalent. This can be done using the mboxutil -E command as follows:

mboxutil showing localized filename and modified UTF-7

The first mboxutil shows the localized filename. The second mboxutil shows the filename in modified UTF-7. It is also possible to use the IMAP list command:

IMAP list command

To convert the local charset to modified UTF-7 encoding, use the mboxutil command with the -E option:

mboxutil with —E option.

Note that mboxutil -E can be used for any command that requires the use of a UTF-7 mailbox name including imexpire.

Setting imexpire Rules Textually

Automatic message removal rules are set by specifying rules in a store.expirerule file. The store.expirerule file contains one expire criteria per line. An expire criteria of the global rule configuration file (msg-svr-base/data/store/store.expirerule) has the following format:

rule_name.attribute: value

An expiration rule for a user or mailbox rule configuration file has this format:

attribute: value

Example 20–4 shows a set of global expiration rules in msg-svr-base/config/store.expirerule.

Rule 1 sets the global expiration policy (that is, policy that applies to all messages), as follows:

Rule 2 sets the automatic message removal policy for users at the hosted domain It limits mailbox sizes to 1 megabyte, removes messages that have been deleted, and removes messages older than 14 days.

Rule 3 sets the automatic message removal policy for messages in the inbox folder of user f.dostoevski. It removes messages with a subject line having the expression “On-line Casino.”

Example 20–4 Example imexpire Rules

Rule1.regexp: 1
Rule1.folderpattern: user/.*
Rule1.messagesize: 100000
Rule1.messagesizedays: 3
Rule1.deleted: or
Rule1.Subject: Vigara Now!
Rule1.Subject: XXX Porn!
Rule1.messagecount: 1000
Rule1.messagedays: 365
Rule2.regexp: 1
Rule2.folderpattern: user/.**
Rule2.exclusive: 1
Rule2.deleted: or
Rule2.messagedays: 14
Rule2.messagecount: 1000
Rule3.folderpattern: user/f.dostoevski/inbox
Rule3.Subject: *On-line Casino*

Setting imexpire Folder Patterns

Folder patterns can be specified using POSIX regular expressions by setting the imexpire attribute regex to 1. If not specified, IMAP expressions will be used. The format must start with a user/ followed by a pattern. Table 20–9 shows the folder pattern for various folders.)

Table 20–9 imexpire Folder Patterns Using Regular Expressions

Folder Pattern 



Apply rule to all messages in all folders of userid.


Apply rule to messages of userid in folder Sent:


Apply rule to entire message store. 


Apply rule to the trash folder of all users.


Apply rule to folders in hosted domain 


Apply rule to folders in default domain.