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Re: master's mail backlog and upgrade time

On Tue, Nov 15, 2005 at 04:01:10PM +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> If a domain was set up to be treated this way for an unrelated reasons
> without an announcement anywhere, surely that is even worse !

Well, it's no longer "DSA is making misleading statements about the nature
of the problem"; the fact that you weren't notified when this was done is
bad, but it could be that they tried to contact you and failed for whatever
reason, so I certainly reserve any judgement until both sides have

> > On Tue, Nov 15, 2005 at 12:18:45PM +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> > >  * The mail backlog that `will never be able to be delivered' was
> > >    (as far as I can tell) all spam that chiark has been properly
> > >    rejecting.

> > No: there is nothing "proper" about rejecting mail from a host that you have
> > configured to forward mail for you.

> Nearly all of this mail flow is invalid in one way or another.

Of course it is.  That doesn't make it "proper" to reject such mail when
you've told some other host to forward it to you in the first place; I'm
sure it's a pretty common misconfiguration in the context of Debian mail
forwarding, but that doesn't make it right...

> What is happening is that master provides a mail forwarding facility
> with a lax input policy, but I forward my mail to chiark which does
> stricter checks and has a stricter policy.

> This has the effect of turning the rejected messages into bounced
> bounces on master.  This would be an unfriendly thing to do if the
> sysadmins on master actually cared about reliable mail delivery and
> took a policy of reviewing bounced bounces and dealing with their
> causes (as I do on chiark).

It's an unfriendly thing to do *anyway*.  Performance of Debian mail service
has sucked for a while, and based on my own experiences running such
systems, I have no doubt that bounced forwards account for a lot of this
sluggishness, not even counting the one particular user who was clogging the
system with gigs of mail.

Ryan now seems to be making quite a bit of progress on fixing these problems
with the mail setup -- not just with eliminating antisocial mail forwarding
configs, but also with making improvements on the input side so master
doesn't *have* to store and forward so much garbage email.  Like many
others, my first reaction is "Finally!  Thank GOD!", but obviously DSA is
comprised of volunteers like everything in Debian, and kudos are certainly
due for his work on this - even if some of the changes may have been
implemented in a suboptimal fashion.

Anyway, the line in question is still in master's exim4 config; you may want
to try sending a mail to debian-admin, let them know what you've done on
your end, and ask if there's anything still preventing its removal...

> But, there is another important point: I don't really want a
> debian.org address.  It's technically necessary for me to have one for
> (eg) cronmail from debian systems, and additionally I feel that there
> is an (unwritten) rule that I should have one.  But it is simply
> untenable to suggest that I ought to accept all of this junkmail and
> actually read it !

So accept it and auto-discard it instead, if you prefer; but don't throw it
back at master after telling master to send it to you.

> > ... procmail?

> How would that help ?  I could arrange for procmail to try to detect
> whether (eg) the mail had ever been through any non-debian.org host
> and if so construct a bounce.  But this is no better and no worse than
> me having chiark rejecting the mails at SMTP time.  It would still
> lead to master having to deal with lots of undeliverable bounces.

Why would you need to bounce instead of discarding?  If it's not a valid
contact address for you, I don't see why you would be so concerned about
sending notifications to people trying to use it.  That was relevant 5-10
years ago; today it's a waste of resources.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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