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

On 2003-11-05 11:52:37 -0700, Nate Duehr wrote:
> It's not nonsense. fetchmail's authors can't be held responsible for
> you not configuring your MTA correctly. And they certainly shouldn't
> try to check for every possible MTA configuration under the sun.
> Maybe you wrote your own MTA? How would they know?

It isn't necessarily a misconfiguration; just rules that will
make messages coming from outside the local network disappear,
for instance. The user can't always control the administrator's
decision. There could also be incorrect bounce detection; in
this case, the MTA needs to know that some message comes from

> You learn to TEST things like MTA configurations in the Unix
> environment.

What if the administrator changes the MTA configuration (in general,
without warning the user)?

What if the ISP changes the POP3 configuration (in general, without
warning the user)?

> It's so much more powerful and better when you've actually
> engineered your solution (engineering includes a test phase,
> remember) to your specifications than to trust some programming guy
> you've never met to do all the Right Things.

I don't want something powerful. I want something that works. If I
wanted something powerful, I would have used procmail, not the local

> Unix's building-block approach gives you more visibility into the
> data chain than any monolithic application could ever do, and in the
> process, gives you bigger responsibility to check each step
> thouroughly and think about your implementation carefully.

For an operation as simple as a copy, I don't see any problem
implementing that in the appplication (in fact, it is implemented
in fetchmail, but it is neither the default, nor the recommended

I've always prefered things like "cmd < file" to "cat file | cmd"
in a shell, though "cat" is more powerful that a simple redirection.

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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