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

hi jonathan, and welcome.  i'm always excited to see new potential
active members who can contribute back to lugod.  where did you do your

i'm writing my dissertation right now, so this needs to be short, but
some free-flowing ideas:

* sounds like you're very clueful, so i assume you've checked all the
   log files in /var/log?

* very often, a quick scan of bugs.debian.org is useful.  see if there
   are any bugs that mention dropping messages

* have you checked your spool directory to see if the missing messages
   are there?

* if you want to pull out the huge-hunking guns to fight the war, try
   running exim with strace or ltrace.  set -s to something ridiculous
   like 999.  you might be able to learn something if a message gets
   dropped and you can see system or library calls, their arguments and
   their return values.

* exim comes with a -d switch to set a debugging log level.  see the man
   page for details (run exim by hand, not in daemon mode).   -df looks
   interesting too.

* i did a quick scan of google groups and can only find a mention of
   exim dropping messages with fetchmail.

* i'm sure you've thought of this, but it might be interesting to see
   what kinds of commonalities exist between the domains that you have
   problems with.  for example, the mail exchanger for ucdavis.edu is
   smtp.ucdavis.edu.  oops.  nmap can't fingerprint this system.  does
   anyone know what OS that system is running?  i'll submit it to

well, anyway, i better get back to work.

good luck!

begin Jonathan McPherson <jamcp@ucdavis.edu> 
> All,
> 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
> testing/unstable.
> 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.
> Thanks!
> Jonathan.
> _______________________________________________
> vox-tech mailing list
> vox-tech@lists.lugod.org
> http://lists.lugod.org/mailman/listinfo/vox-tech

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