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Re: POP3 mail fetcher that supports unreliable connections?

On 2003-11-03 21:43:26 -0700, Monique Y. Herman wrote:
> The very first paragraph in `man fetchmail` says
> 	   fetchmail  is  a mail-retrieval and forwarding utility; it
> 	   fetches mail from  remote  mailservers  and  forwards  it  to
> 	   your  local  (client) machine's  delivery  system.   You  can
> 	   then handle the retrieved mail using normal mail user agents such
> 	   as mutt(1), elm(1) or Mail(1).   The fetchmail utility can be run
> 	   in a daemon mode to repeatedly poll one or more systems at a
> 	   specified interval.
> Whatever you think about what a mail fetcher should be doing, shouldn't
> you read at least the first paragraph of the man page before using a
> tool?

This isn't sufficient: it gives no warning that mail may be lost by
doing this. I was rather naive and thought that if this failed, then
fetchmail wouldn't delete the mail.

> In fact, the author (that's esr, if I recall correctly) considered
> delivery to your local delivery system a *feature*, because it allows
> you to use all of the powerful features available through the MTA of
> your choice.
> I'm sorry that you lost mail. It absolutely sucks. But I think it
> might be an object lesson -- it's a good idea to read up on a tool
> before using it, especially when you're going to use it on something
> as sensitive as mail.

Reading the man page won't solve the problems inherent to a dangerous
method. Even if you have a working system, the configuration of your
local delivery system may change in the future. It is still possible
to make a mistake when implementing an antispam rule and reject to
much mail (I know sysadmins who did that wrong).

Vincent Lefèvre <vincent@vinc17.org> - Web: <http://www.vinc17.org/> - 100%
validated (X)HTML - Acorn Risc PC, Yellow Pig 17, Championnat International
des Jeux Mathématiques et Logiques, TETRHEX, etc.
Work: CR INRIA - computer arithmetic / SPACES project at LORIA

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