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I'm currently running into a problem I have with my email server. I try to setup Postfix and Dovecot with SASL authentication but I get the following error when I connect with telnet (port 25) to the server:

Dec 30 17:42:51 mail postfix/smtpd[2857]: warning: SASL: Connect to private/auth failed: No such file or directory
Dec 30 17:42:51 mail postfix/smtpd[2857]: fatal: no SASL authentication mechanisms

After some investigation, it appears that the socket file /var/spool/postfix/private/auth is not created by postfix/dovecot. When running the doveconf command, I get the following entry for service auth which contains the entry for private/auth:

service auth {
  chroot =  
  client_limit = 0
  drop_priv_before_exec = no
  executable = auth
  extra_groups = 
  group = 
  idle_kill = 0
  privileged_group = 
  process_limit = 1
  process_min_avail = 0
  protocol = 
  service_count = 0
  type = 
  unix_listener /var/spool/postfix/private/auth {
    group = postfix
    mode = 0666
    user = postfix
  }
  unix_listener auth-client {
    group = 
    mode = 0600
    user = $default_internal_user
  }
  unix_listener auth-login {
    group = 
    mode = 0600
    user = $default_internal_user
  }
  unix_listener auth-master {
    group = 
    mode = 0600
    user = 
  }
  unix_listener auth-userdb {
    group = mail
    mode = 0666
    user = vmail
  }
  unix_listener login/login {
    group = 
    mode = 0666
    user = 
  }
  unix_listener token-login/tokenlogin {
    group = 
    mode = 0666
    user = 
  }
  user = $default_internal_user
  vsz_limit = 18446744073709551615 B
}

And when running postconf, I get the following configuration regarding smtpd_sasl:

smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtpd_sasl_authenticated_header = yes
smtpd_sasl_exceptions_networks =
smtpd_sasl_local_domain =
smtpd_sasl_path = private/auth
smtpd_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
smtpd_sasl_service = smtp
smtpd_sasl_tls_security_options = $smtpd_sasl_security_options
smtpd_sasl_type = dovecot

So I'm not sure why private/var is not created by dovecot or postfix. Could anyone explain this phenomema?

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In my case the problem was that dovecot didn't start at all, even when the service dovecot start gave me started with a pid.

Try running dovecot as command, that showed me the following:

doveconf: Fatal: Error in configuration file /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-ssl.conf line 12: ssl_cert: Can't open file /etc/dovecot/dovecot.pem: No such file or directory

I chose not to make a self-signed certificate but the config still wanted it to be there. Simple commenting out the two lines about ssl_cert fixed my problems.

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