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Re: calling Philip Hands <phil@hands.com> [the long version]

On Thu, Jun 03, 1999 at 09:01:38PM -0400, Dale Scheetz wrote:
> On Fri, 4 Jun 1999, Craig Sanders wrote:

> > (a) we are not talking about the majority here. we are talking about
> > a tiny minority of people who have the knowledge, the skills, and the
> > technology to run their own mail servers. the vast majority of internet
> > users are barely capable of even following the usage instructions given
> > them by their ISPs.
> No, this is what YOU are talking about. I'm talking about a system which

no, really. you are confusing two completely separate things.  ORBS is
*NOT* the same thing as a DUL.

ORBS is a RBL which lists open relay hosts.

a DUL is one of at least two (MAPS DUL and IMRSS DSSL) RBLs which lists
the dialup IP address pools of ISPs.

i have been talking specifically about DULs and the right of mail server
admins to choose to use them all along.

> From my ISPs point of view this is an "obstruction of service" problem
> that they can see no way to resolve (thanks to netgod for a possible
> solution).

netgod's suggested solution was trivially obvious - or should have been
to anyone charging money for internet services. if figuring that out
was beyond them then they are, IMO, not competent to provide commercial
internet services.

i happen to believe that if you accept money for a service then you
should provide that service competently and professionally...even if
you take no personal pride in the quality your own work, your paying
customer has a legal and moral right to get what they are paying for. i
freely acknowledge that that is a harsh viewpoint which is intolerant of

> These guys are not "clueless users", they are trying to run a business
> that provides service to their customers, and object to spammers at
> least as much as you do.

if they do not have the knowledge to provide these services to their
customers then they should either acquire that knowledge in a hurry or
get out of the business.

> This particular instance of the problem was caused by a bug in
> sendmail. Are you suggesting that ISPs that use sendmail are
> "clueless"?

No, sendmail is a perfectly adequate choice of MTA for an ISP...if it is
configured correctly.

you (or your isp) claim there is a bug in sendmail. it sounds more like
a misconfiguration of sendmail to me.

> Requiring that I monitor the state of my ISP's system to verify that
> the server I have been provided is satisfactory to all of the paranoid
> pinheads in the rest of the net community, being ready to quickly
> switch to an alternate form of mail service whenever things get
> "dicey", is just rediculous for someone who is a customer, trying to
> buy a service. And if you try to tell me that I must find a more clued
> ISP...just don't do that.

if you are willing to settle for a clueless ISP, then that is your
choice. it should be obvious however that you will get a better, more
reliable service from an ISP who does have a clue.  caveat emptor.

> > your problem with mail.polaris.net has nothing at all to do with the DUL
> > RBL we have been discussing.
> No it has to do with an ORBS rejection. You are again off talking about
> something else again.

i have been talking about DULs all along. my initial message in this
thread was specifically in response to Branden's unwarranted attack on
paul vixie for running the MAPS DUL.

pay attention. this thread has already gone on too long without people
making it worse by jumping in without knowing what the discussion is

> > i suppose it's possible that such a bug exists, although i haven't
> > heard of it before. if it does exist then they should talk to ORBS
> > and explain the situation - if they can prove that they are not open
> > to 3rd party relay then they should be taken off the ORBS RBL.
> The criterion are simple and unchangable. The server must pass the
> test suite. This totalitarian attitude is the most objectionable part
> of this,

yes, i agree.  ORBS are dangerous loons with "itchy trigger-fingers".

however, they aren't all bad. to their credit is the fact that they ARE
responsible for many of the world's open relay hosts being fixed.

> > if it is not a bug, just incompetence on their part, then they should
> > start acquiring some clues.
> Netgod identified a possible problem with sendmail 8.8.8 which would cause
> a non-open relay to appear open. I have not heard back from tech-support
> yet to know whether that will fix the problem or not. Time will tell.
> You would be a lot more helpful if you came to these discussions with an
> attempt to fix the problem like netgod, rather than insisting that the
> whole problem is caused by other people's stupidity, incompetance, or
> greed. When you get in these "moods" you make the rest of us just wish you
> would go away and sulk somewhere else.
> I often enjoy your comments specifically because your POV is so
> different, and often gain some insight into a problem that I would not
> otherwise have seen. This discussion bears no resemblance to any of
> those.

i would say that that is because you think i am writing about ORBS when
i am not. i have been talking about DUL RBLs and the right of anyone who
runs a mail server to decide who/where/what is allowed to deliver mail
to their property.

sometimes individual rights conflict. this is inevitable in any society
- many perfectly valid and legitimate needs/desires conflict with other
perfectly valid and legitimate needs/desires. e.g. the right of Joseph
to have his say, versus the right of a mail server admin to operate
his/her servers as s/he sees fit. 

in this particular case, resolving the conflict is simple: a person's
right to free speech does not override another person's right to choose
not to listen...i.e. you can say whatever you like, but you can't force
people to listen against their will.

(in more general terms there is an inherent potential conflict between
the right to freedom of speech and the right to freedom of association)

as regards my helpfulness or lack thereof, i deal with incompetent mail
admins on a daily basis at work, so my patience with them has worn thin.
i am not providing free consulting services to the entire internet
population in my spare time.  IMO it is enough that i try to explain why
DULs are useful, and why they are a good idea without having to solve
every configuration problem that exists on the net.

my sole reason for entering this thread was to respond to Branden's
attack on paul vixie and on the concept of DULs . Branden posted his
opinion that they were evil. i posted my alternative view that they are
a useful service, a very effective tool for blocking spam.


craig sanders

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