Create SQUAT indexes for mailboxes


squatter [ -C config-file ] [mode] [options] [source]

squatter [ -C config-file ] [-v]
squatter [ -C config-file ] [ -a ] [ -i ] [-N name] [-S *seconds*] [ **-r ]  mailbox...
squatter [ -C config-file ] [ -a ] [ -i ] [-N name] [-S *seconds*] [ **-r ]   -u user...
squatter [ -C config-file ] -R [ -n channel ] [ -d ]
squatter [ -C config-file ] -f synclogfile
squatter [ -C config-file ] -I file
squatter [ -C config-file ] -t srctier... -z desttier [ -F ] [ -T dir ] [ -X ] [ -o ]


squatter creates a new text index for one or more IMAP mailboxes. The index is a unified index of all of the header and body text of each message in a given mailbox. This index is used to significantly reduce IMAP SEARCH times on a mailbox.


The name squatter is a historical (pre v3) relic from the days when the only indexing engine supported by Cyrus was SQUAT. Post v3 the search_engine setting in imapd.conf determines which search engine is used.

By default, squatter creates an index of ALL messages in the mailbox, not just those since the last time that it was run. The -i option is used to select incremental updates. Any messages appended to the mailbox after squatter is run, will NOT be included in the index. To include new messages in the index, squatter must be run again.

In the first synopsis, squatter indexes all mailboxes.

In the second synopsis, squatter indexes the specified mailbox(es).

In the third synopsis, squatter indexes the specified user(s) mailbox(es).

For any of those three source modes (default=all, mailbox, user) one may optionally specify -r to recurse from the specified start, or -a to limit action only to mailboxes which have the shared /vendor/cmu/cyrus-imapd/squat annotation set to “true”.

In the fourth synopsis, squatter runs in rolling mode. In this mode squatter backgrounds itself and runs as a daemon (unless -d is set), listening to a sync log channel (chosen using -n option, and set up using the sync_log_channels setting in imapd.conf(5)). Very soon after messages are delivered or uploaded to mailboxes squatter will incrementally index the affected mailbox.

In the fifth synopsis, squatter reads a single sync log file and performs incremental indexing on the mailboxes listed therein. This is sometimes useful for cleaning up after problems with rolling mode.

In the sixth synopsis, squatter reads file containing mailbox uid tuples and performs indexing on the specified messages.

In the seventh synopsis, squatter will compact indices from srctier(s) to desttier, optionally reindexing (-X) or filtering expunged records (-F) in the process. The optional -T flag may be used to specify a directory to use for temporary files. The -o flag may be used to direct that a single index be copied, rather than compressed, from srctier to desttier.

For all modes, the -S option may be specified, causing squatter to pause seconds seconds after each mailbox, to smooth loads.


Incremental updates are very inefficient with the SQUAT search engine. If using SQUAT for large and active mailboxes, you should run squatter periodically as an EVENT in cyrus.conf(5).


Messages and mailboxes that have not been indexed CAN still be SEARCHed, just not as quickly as those with an index.

squatter reads its configuration options out of the imapd.conf(5) file unless specified otherwise by -C.


-C config-file

Use the specified configuration file config-file rather than the default imapd.conf(5).


Only create indexes for mailboxes which have the shared /vendor/cmu/cyrus-imapd/squat annotation set to “true”.

The value of the /vendor/cmu/cyrus-imapd/squat annotation is inherited by all children of the given mailbox, so an entire mailbox tree can be indexed (or not indexed) by setting a single annotation on the root of that tree with a value of “true” (or “false”). If a mailbox does not have a /vendor/cmu/cyrus-imapd/squat annotation set on it (or does not inherit one), then the mailbox is not indexed. In other words, the implicit value of /vendor/cmu/cyrus-imapd/squat is “false”.


In rolling mode, don’t background and do emit log messages on standard error. Useful for debugging. This feature was introduced in version 3.0.


In compact mode, filter the resulting database to only include messages which are not expunged in mailboxes with existing name/uidvalidity. This feature was introduced in version 3.0.

-f synclogfile

Read the synclogfile and incrementally index all the mailboxes listed therein, then exit. This feature was introduced in version 3.0.


Display this usage information.

-I file

Read from file and index individual messages described by mailbox/uid tuples contained therein.


Incremental updates where indexes already exist.

-N name

Only index mailboxes beginning with name while iterating through the mailbox list derived from other options.

-n channel

In rolling mode, specify the name of the sync log channel that squatter will listen to. The default is “squatter”. This channel must be defined in imapd.conf(5) before being used. This feature was introduced in version 3.0.


In compact mode, if only one source database is selected, just copy it to the destination rather than compacting. This feature was introduced in version 3.0.


Run in rolling mode; squatter runs as a daemon listening to a sync log channel and continuously incrementally indexing mailboxes. See also -d and -n. This feature was introduced in version 3.0.


Recursively create indexes for all sub-mailboxes of the user, mailboxes or mailbox prefixes given as arguments.

-S seconds

After processing each mailbox, sleep for “seconds” before continuing. Can be used to provide some load balancing. Accepts fractional amounts. This feature was introduced in version 3.0.

-T directory

When indexing, work on a temporary copy of the search engine databases in directory. That directory would typically be on some very fast filesystem, like an SSD or tmpfs. This option may not work with all search engines, but it’s only effect is to speed up initial indexing. This feature was introduced in version 3.0.

-t srctier...

In compact mode, the source tier(s) for the compacted indices. At least one source tier must be specified in compact mode. This feature was introduced in version 3.0.


Extra options refer to usernames (e.g. foo@bar.com) rather than mailbox names. This feature was introduced in version 3.0.


Increase the verbosity of progress/status messages.

-z desttier

In compact mode, the destination tier for the compacted indices. This must be specified in compact mode. This feature was introduced in version 3.0.


Sample entries from the EVENTS section of cyrus.conf(5) for periodic squatter runs:

# reindex changed mailboxes (fulltext) approximately every three hours
squatter1       cmd="/usr/bin/ionice -c idle /usr/lib/cyrus/bin/squatter -s" period=180

# reindex all mailboxes (fulltext) daily
squattera       cmd="/usr/lib/cyrus/bin/squatter" at=0117

[NB: More examples needed]


Support for additional search enginges was added in version 3.0.

The following command-line switches were added in version 3.0:

-R -u -d -O -F -A

The following command-line settings were added in version 3.0:

-S <seconds>, -T <directory>, -f <synclogfile>, -n <channel>, -t srctier..., -z desttier


/etc/imapd.conf, /etc/cyrus.conf