Tuesday, January 11, 2005

mail error

so the only problem with running your own mail server is that when you screw something up, there's nobody but yourself to complain to.

when i was using my old provider they dutifully dumped all my mail into one easy-to-find spot for me, and all i had to do was sort it. when i set up my own server, however, i had to do both the dumping and the sorting.

what i didn't recognize is that qmail rewrites email headers in a special way when you go through its virtual domains feature, and that, if you use its other control file and extension address functionality, you have to account for this rewriting in your extension address control files. basically, you have to tell it exactly what to do in every case, or it will royally fuck your mail.

now the standard suggestion is to have an "everything else gets delivered here" mailbox. what you're supposed to do is sort out the "known good" stuff and then look over the "everything else" to see if there isn't some you should have sorted out but didn't.

because i get spam bombing runs of 100,000+ pieces per week from brazil, i take the opposite approach: if it isn't sorted out as known good, or at least to a valid address, it's dumped into the garbage, silently. no logs, no traces, just gone. when i tried it the other way i beat my machine to death scanning all the spam, to the point where once csoft cut my account off over it.

the down side is that when i make a misconfiguration, usually there's no way for anybody to know because there are no logs, flgas or warnings. and if mail gets unceremoniously dumped into the great beyond, well, too bad. i just never see it. except you're not alerted either, and of course you can't fire off an email and say "why didn't you answer that last email, you stupid fuck?" because i never saw either the last one nor the new one, because qmail did exactly what i told it.

the only symptom had been that when i moved the blog from csoft to my home, i had expected some of wordpress's email-when-you-get-a-comment function to start working again, and it didn't. but it hadn't worked at csoft either because they'd turned it off, and i turn off comments after two weeks anyway, so the new comments show up when i look at the blog's front page.

anyway, if you emailed me and i didn't respond, i'm sorry. i won't say that you should resend, because nobody ever does, i don't think, but i've tested it and if you want to, email to r-a-i-n-b-o-w-at-m-y-p-r-i-v-a-t-e-s-p-a-c-e-dot-o-r-g should work again. de-spamify the address, sorry.

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