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The Unix Philosophy (was Re: POP3 mail fetcher that supports unreliable connections?)

On Wed, 2003-11-05 at 09:08, Bijan Soleymani wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 04, 2003 at 03:42:40PM -0700, Monique Y. Herman wrote:
> > On Tue, 04 Nov 2003 at 21:54 GMT, Vincent Lefevre penned:
> > > On 2003-11-04 10:41:10 -0700, Monique Y. Herman wrote:
> > >> That's because fetchmail didn't lose the mail; the delivery system
> > >> did.
> > > 
> > > In some sense, yes. But if fetchmail didn't use the delivery system, I
> > > wouldn't have lost mail.
> > 
> > And if I hadn't typed 'rm -rf' in my root directory, I wouldn't have
> > lost my system.  In both cases, the behavior is well documented, and in
> > both cases, user error can end in disaster.
> The purpose of rm is to delete files. The purpose of fetchmail is not to
> send my emails to /dev/null. It's not ok for a program to have dangerous
> defaults. Nowhere in the fetcmail manpage does it say:
> WARNING if your MTA is badly configured there will be MASSIVE LOSSAGE!
> If you don't know what an MTA is do not proceed!

The purpose of fetchmail is to take mails from a pop server and
give it to the MTA.  If the MTA then sends it to /dev/null, in
*no* way is that fetchmail's fault.

Have you checked your MTA's man page to see if *it* says "WARNING
if your MTA is badly configured there will be MASSIVE LOSSAGE!"???

> > fetchmail follows the "unix philosophy" of chaining well-defined
> > capabilities so as not to reinvent the (less capable) wheel.  If you
> > don't like that approach, then don't use the tool, but don't claim that
> > the tool is poorly designed just because you don't like this philosophy
> > and furthermore didn't take the time to understand the basics of how the
> > tool worked.
> There is another important objective: "doing the right thing". It is
> simply not acceptable to lose mail. Even if it isn't fetchmail's fault,
> fetchmail should be fault-tolerant (deal with a misconfigured mail
> system). Fetchmail should scream loudly: your mail system is fubar,
> bailing out now! I don't know if this is possible, but I think that
> that would help a lot of people.

How the hell does fetchmail know whether the MTA is fubar?

Read this: http://cbbrowne.com/info/unix.html

Ron Johnson, Jr. ron.l.johnson@cox.net
Jefferson, LA USA

"You ask us the same question every day, and we give you the same
answer every day. Someday, we hope that you will believe us..."
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to a reporter

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