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[vox-tech] introduction & debian / mutt / exim question
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[vox-tech] introduction & debian / mutt / exim question


Hello. I'm relatively new to both Davis and LUGOD; I'm a first-year
computer science graduate student at UCD. I've been using Linux for
around 3 years. The professor of my undergraduate systems programming
class was also the treasurer of the local Linux user's group, and the
nifty things he did on his computer convinced me to give RedHat a try. So
I tried installing it on my computer ... a two-week fight with XFree86
followed, but that's another story.

Both of my computers are currently running Debian GNU/Linux

At any rate, my problem is as follows:

My favorite e-mail user agent is Mutt, a console-based program many of
you are probably familiar with. The main reasons I use it are its
flexibility, customizability, integration with other *nix programs
(ispell, vim, etc) and excellent support for secure IMAP and GPG.

Mutt does not send mail directly; instead, it uses the system MTA, which
on my systems is Exim.

I am struggling with getting Exim to perform reliably. Here's the
situation: The _majority_ of the e-mail I send is delivered to its
destination in seconds with no problems whatsoever. However, disturbingly
frequently, e-mail never arrives at its destination. More worrisome is
that I have no way of knowing when it has failed. I don't get any warning
messages from exim, and running "exim -bp" tells me that my message queue
is basically free and clear. I only become aware of the problem when the
recipient complains they never got the message.

Now, some clues:

- Certain domains almost never get my e-mail. Unfortunately, ucdavis.edu
  is one of those domains. I once exchanged a rapid sequence of messages
  with a friend with a ucdavis.edu address. The first 4 were delivered,
  but the 5th e-mail I sent him never reached him.

- Certain other domains almost always get my e-mail, but still
  occasionally fail to.

- I have tried reconfiguring exim (using "eximconfig") many, many times.
  At first I used my computer to send e-mail directly (I have DSL through
  PacBell). Then I tried using PacBell's mail server (mail.pacbell.net)
  as my smarthost. Then I tried using a third-party STMP server I have
  access to (www.fastmail.fm) as the smarthost. None of it helped (and
  yes, I restarted exim after each configuration change).

- I can send e-mail just fine using the Mozilla e-mail client -- I
  believe Mozilla does not use the system MTA.

Any ideas? This has been rather frustrating for me; occasionally I'll get
it "working," only to hear complaints from a friend the next day that
they never got my reply to their e-mail.


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