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Manual Reference Pages  -  SIEVED (1)


sieved - Sieve script binary dump tool for the Dovecot secure IMAP server




sieved [-x "extension extension ..."] sieve-binary [out-file]


The sieved command is part of the Sieve implementation for the Dovecot secure IMAP server. Sieve (RFC 5228) is a simple and highly extensible language for filtering e-mail messages. It can be implemented for any type of mail access protocol, mail architecture and operating system. The language cannot execute external programs and in its basic form it does not provide the means to cause infinite loops, making it suitable for running securely on mail servers where mail users have no permission run arbitrary programs.

Using the sieved command, Sieve binaries, which are produced for instance by sievec(1), can be transformed into a human-readable textual representation. This can provide valuable insight in how the Sieve script is executed. This is also particularly useful to view corrupt binaries that can result from bugs in the Sieve implementation. This tool is intended mainly for development purposes, so normally system administrators and users will not need to use this tool.

The sieve-binary argument specifies the Sieve binary file that needs to be dumped. The optional out-file argument specifies where the output must be written. If omitted, the output is written to stdout.

The format of the output is not explained here in detail, but it should be relatively easy to understand. The Sieve binaries comprise a set of data blocks, each of which can contain arbitrary data. For the base language implementation two blocks are used: the first containing a specification of all required language extensions and the second containing the main Sieve program. Compiled Sieve programs are represented as flat byte code and therefore the dump of the main program is a disassembly listing of the interpreter operations. Extensions can define new operations and use additional blocks. Therefore, the output of sieved depends greatly on the language extensions used when compiling the binary.


-x "extension extension ..."
  Set the available extensions. The parameter is a space-separated list of the active extensions. By prepending the extension identifiers with + or -, extensions can be included or excluded relative to the default set of extensions. If no extensions have a + or - prefix, only those extensions that are explicitly listed will be enabled. Unknown extensions are ignored and a warning is produced. By default, all supported extensions are available, except for deprecated extensions or those that are still under development.

For example -x "+imapflags -enotify" will enable the deprecated imapflags extension along with all extensions that are available by default, except for the enotify extension.


The Sieve implementation for Dovecot was written by Stephan Bosch <>.

Dovecot was written by Timo Sirainen <>.


sievec(1), sieve-test(1)

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--> SIEVED (1) 4 July 2009

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