Thunderbird with Dovecot on Guix/PantherX

TLDR Configure Thunderbird with Dovecot and a Self-Signed Certificate on Guix

This will work on both Guix and PantherX.

System Config

It’s easy to run a local dovecot server:

Add this to the service section of your system config (/etc/system.scm):

(dovecot-service #:config
                  (mail-location "maildir:~/.mail")))

Reconfigure with:

guix system reconfigure /etc/system.scm

Make sure to include ~/.mail in your backup.


Defaults to PAM authentication, so you can simply login with your linux account username and password.


Add a new account with the following settings:

  • Username: your linux username
  • Password: your linux password

Select advanced settings

  • Server Name: localhost
  • Port 993
  • Connection security: SSL/TLS
  • Authentication method: Normal password

Now open the config editor: Settings -> Search for “Config” and “Config Editor …”

  1. Search for
  2. Select string
  3. Edit and add 993
  4. Restart Thunderbird

Now go to Settings -> Privacy & Security -> Certificates -> Manage Certificates -> Servers.

Add a new exception for localhost:993. Confirm.

At this point, you should be able to access the dovecot server on localhost with a self-signed certificate.


Consult the logs:

tail -f /var/log/maillog

Try with mutt, a command line client:

mutt -f imaps://<your_username>@localhost