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A diary (not strictly chronological) of problems and notes related to my email server after it was put in service.

See AboutThesePages.



See also any page starting with EmailServer...

Lost Mail Access after Fixing /etc/hosts.deny

Lost access to the mail from all clients on 8 Sept 2002 -- turns out I fixed a security problem -- ~line 9 of /etc/hosts.deny too long or missing newline -- added the newline, then apparently it became effective for the first time. Had to go to /etc/hosts.allow and add the IP address for each of the LAN clients with spaces between each. TODO: Learn more about these two files and how to use and modify them.

kmail can use folders not in ~/Mail

Using kmail (older version) on System8 (the mail server)

from the kde manual for kmail:

7.10. How can I use mail folders that are not in ~/Mail/?

Simply create a symlink in your ~/Mail directory using ln -s /somewhere/Mail/mymailboxfile ~/Mail/remote. When you start Kmail you will see a new folder with the name remote that contains the mails in your remote folder. If you want to add a whole remote mail directory use ln -s /somewhere/Mail ~/Mail/.remotedir.directory. For that case you also need to create a new empty folder named remotedir with Kmail. The folder remotedir will then contain all remote mailbox folders as subfolders.

NIS Domain Name Warnings

Had a bunch of messages like this in /var/log/mail warnings:

Sep 9 14:30:12 System8 postfix/local[29416]: warning: dict_nis_init: NIS domain name not set - NIS lookups disabled

Dann Washko sent me this:

Actually, you are getting this error because NIS is either not installed or not set up properly. Look here: http://www.postfix.org/faq.html#nisdom

Procmail Can't Handle Nested Curly Brackets

I found some bugs in the rc.testing files I use on dad and rhkmail and have fixed them as I found them. (I've also had to add additional rules -- no surprise there.)

One major problem relates to the fact that Procmail apparently cannot handle nested curly braces. There are no nested curly braces in the rc.testing file attached here, but there is one set of curly braces that became nested on my system when I enclosed them within a "broader" set of curly braces. At that point I had to delete the inner set of curly braces by "expanding" the rule (into two).

Procmail Inadequate for Spam

I initially (and currently) intended to handle spam by rules in Procmail. I have some rules there, but even though I've made some attempt to make them general to catch multiple "versions" of a particular spam, it's hard to keep up with (I'm not even trying at this point). I plan to add something like spamassassin (or, even better) one of the spam filters that uses (or doesn't use) bayesian probabilities to filter spam. It looks like most of those tools can be invoked from Procmail which means there I should consider where to invoke it -- in other words, I may want to extract a lot of known good mail and move it to desired folders before I run the leftovers through the spam filter. (I shouldn't have to run the spam filter on rhkmail because it discards all mail except that written by one of us (rhkramer@fastPLEASENOSPAM.net).

Postfix Didn't Start After a Reboot

On 5 Oct 2002 I had some kind of problem with the mailserver -- never figured out exactly what (IIRC), so I rebooted (IIRC, I first stopped and restarted the Xserver, for no rational reason). I then got some messages (IIRC), but the next day I realized that my messages (including the every 10 minute email from cron) stopped shortly after 6 messages. (I'm not sure why I got those first six messages from cron -- I mean did postfix run for a little while, or were they left over from before I rebooted? I think maybe my problem yesterday was that my email clients could not reach the email server via imap -- after I rebooted I got access and found a ton of messages and assumed all was OK -- those first messages, the more I think about it, may have been received by the email server before the reboot but I only found them after the reboot when IMAP access was restored. (What I'm trying to say, is that with that scenario, it is quite likely and consistent with all the "facts" as I understand them, that the problem today was that postfix never ran after the reboot.) The first 4 of those messages looked "normal" -- the last two contained:

fetchmail: couldn't find canonical DNS name of pop.fast.net Mail queue is empty Mail queue is empty

Looking into the problem today, I found the following symptoms:

  • No email messages received, including the every 10 minute email from cron
  • If I ran fetchmail from dad (the normal thing to do), I got:
[dad@System8 dad]$ fetchmail 267 messages for rhkramer at pop.fast.net (1423424 octets). reading message 1 of 267 (10235 octets) .fetchmail: SMTP connect to localhost failed fetchmail: SMTP transaction error while fetching from pop.fast.net fetchmail: Query status=10 (SMTP)[

Later, after I restarted postfix I got these messages from cron that had been spooled while postfix was not working:

fetchmail: SMTP connect to localhost failed fetchmail: SMTP transaction error while fetching from pop.fast.net 25 messages for rhkramer at pop.fast.net (114777 octets). reading message 1 of 25 (10235 octets) fetchmail: Query status=10 (SMTP) mailq: fatal: Queue report unavailable - mail system is down sendmail: warning: Cannot flush mail queue - mail system is down mailq: fatal: Queue report unavailable - mail system is down

I restarted postfix using service postfix restart and things seem to be OK -- ToDo: Modify System8 so postfix starts automatically after a reboot -- will have to "refresh my memory" on how to do that.

Aside: In the course of looking for the problem I reviewed the contents of /etc/hosts, ....allow, and ....deny, and checked the permissions on those files and a few others like ~/.fetchmailrc.


  • () RandyKramer - 05 Oct 2002
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

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Topic revision: r2 - 2002-10-06 - RandyKramer
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