Debian Bug report logs - #329192
nullmailer ignores permanent SMTP errors

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Package: nullmailer; Maintainer for nullmailer is Nick Leverton <nick@leverton.org>; Source for nullmailer is src:nullmailer.

Reported by: Roy Hills <Roy.Hills@nta-monitor.com>

Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 10:33:02 UTC

Severity: serious

Tags: upstream

Found in version nullmailer/1.00rc7-22

Forwarded to bruce@untroubled.org

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Report forwarded to debian-bugs-dist@lists.debian.org, Norbert Tretkowski <nobse@debian.org>:
Bug#329192; Package nullmailer. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Acknowledgement sent to Roy Hills <Roy.Hills@nta-monitor.com>:
New Bug report received and forwarded. Copy sent to Norbert Tretkowski <nobse@debian.org>. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Message #5 received at submit@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Roy Hills <Roy.Hills@nta-monitor.com>
To: submit@bugs.debian.org
Subject: nullmailer ignores permanent SMTP errors
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 11:23:53 +0100
Package: nullmailer
Version: 1.00RC7-22

I'm running nullmailer on debian sarge on many systems.  They all use a 
central machine, running Sendmail 8.13.4-3 as their mail relay.
I find that nullmailer will keep re-trying a message despite receiving a 
permanent SMTP error from the mail relay.

For example, if I send an email to a non-existent user with:

$ echo "test" | mailx -s "Bad Address Test" -v xxxxxx@nta-monitor.com

This mail is shown in nullmailer's queue as:

$ mailq
2005-09-20 11:06:13  328 bytes

On the central mail server, we see that nullmailer is continually trying to 
send to the non-existent user every minute:

Sep 20 11:06:13 mercury mta-daemon[22077]: j8KA6DrS022077: 
<xxxxxx@nta-monitor.com>... User unknown
Sep 20 11:06:13 mercury mta-daemon[22081]: j8KA6DIu022081: 
<xxxxxx@nta-monitor.com>... User unknown
Sep 20 11:07:13 mercury mta-daemon[22097]: j8KA7DHj022097: 
<xxxxxx@nta-monitor.com>... User unknown
Sep 20 11:08:13 mercury mta-daemon[22277]: j8KA8DqD022277: 
<xxxxxx@nta-monitor.com>... User unknown
Sep 20 11:09:13 mercury mta-daemon[22938]: j8KA9DTI022938: 
<xxxxxx@nta-monitor.com>... User unknown
Sep 20 11:10:13 mercury mta-daemon[23092]: j8KAADXJ023092: 
<xxxxxx@nta-monitor.com>... User unknown
Sep 20 11:11:13 mercury mta-daemon[23103]: j8KABD9X023103: 
<xxxxxx@nta-monitor.com>... User unknown
Sep 20 11:12:13 mercury mta-daemon[23138]: j8KACDUM023138: 
<xxxxxx@nta-monitor.com>... User unknown

Sniffing an SMTP exchange shows the following ("<" means data from the mail 
server, and ">" means data to the mail server):

TCP Handshake
< 220 mercury ESMTP Ready
> HELO helium.nta-monitor.com
< 250 mercury.nta-monitor.com Hello argon.nta-monitor.com [192.168.124.7], 
pleased to meet you
> MAIL FROM:<rsh@nta-monitor.com>
< 250 2.1.0 <rsh@nta-monitor.com>... Sender ok
> RCPT TO:<xxxxxx@nta-monitor.com>
< 550 5.1.1 <xxxxxx@nta-monitor.com>... User unknown
TCP Closedown

There are three issues here, from most to least serious:

a) nullmailer is ignoring the 550 permanent SMTP error, and is re-trying 
the message later;
b) The message never appears to time out from the queue - I've seen 
messages that are months old still queued; and
c) nullmailer closes the TCP connection without sending a QUIT.

Regards,

Roy Hills


--
Roy Hills                                    Tel:   +44 1634 721855
NTA Monitor Ltd                              FAX:   +44 1634 721844
14 Ashford House, Beaufort Court,
Medway City Estate,                          Email: Roy.Hills@nta-monitor.com
Rochester, Kent ME2 4FA, UK                  WWW:   http://www.nta-monitor.com/ 




Information forwarded to debian-bugs-dist@lists.debian.org, Norbert Tretkowski <nobse@debian.org>:
Bug#329192; Package nullmailer. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Acknowledgement sent to Brian Ristuccia <brian@ristuccia.com>:
Extra info received and forwarded to list. Copy sent to Norbert Tretkowski <nobse@debian.org>. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Message #10 received at 329192@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Brian Ristuccia <brian@ristuccia.com>
To: nullmailer@lists.untroubled.org
Cc: 329192@bugs.debian.org
Subject: nullmailer ignores permanent SMTP errors
Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2006 15:03:24 -0500
Nullmailer retries unsuccessful deliveries forever. As a result, the queue
directory can become very large over time. Since no delivery status
notification is sent for failures, a user who accidentally misenters an
address will have a tough time figuring out what went wrong. Since the
output of mailq doesn't include the envelope addresses of the queued
messages, this problem becomes particularly troublesome to debug for users
without administrative access.

For temporary failures, some code needs to be added to check the age of the
queue file. If the queue file is older than a week (perhaps configurable in
/etc/nullmailer/queuelifetime), the temporary failure should be treated as
permanent.

For permanent failures, nullmailer should queue a bounce message from the
null envelope sender to the failed message's envelope sender. Once the
bounce has been successfully queued, nullmailer should delete the original
message be deleted from the queue. If queueing of the bounce message fails
for any reason, the original message must not be removed - to do so would
cause mail to be lost silently. As a special case, if the envelope sender of
the failed message is null, nullmailer should give the option to either move
the message from the queue to a special double bounce directory, or to
override the envelope sender of the bounce message to the special address
<#@[]> and the recipient to an administrative address (perhaps configured
using /etc/nullmailer/doublebouncehost and /etc/nullmailer/doublebounceto).
In the case of a grave misconfiguration where delivery of a message with the
special envelope sender <#@[]> fails, nullmailer should log an error and
delete the message from the queue.

-- 
Brian Ristuccia
brian@ristuccia.com



Tags added: upstream Request was from Norbert Tretkowski <norbert@tretkowski.de> to control@bugs.debian.org. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Noted your statement that Bug has been forwarded to bruce@untroubled.org. Request was from Norbert Tretkowski <norbert@tretkowski.de> to control@bugs.debian.org. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Information forwarded to debian-bugs-dist@lists.debian.org, Norbert Tretkowski <nobse@debian.org>:
Bug#329192; Package nullmailer. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Acknowledgement sent to Marc Herbert <Marc.Herbert@continuent.com>:
Extra info received and forwarded to list. Copy sent to Norbert Tretkowski <nobse@debian.org>. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Message #19 received at 329192@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Marc Herbert <Marc.Herbert@continuent.com>
To: 329192@bugs.debian.org
Subject: please increase default /etc/nullmailer/pausetime
Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2006 15:56:20 +0200
At least this bug could be made bearable by increasing the default
pausetime. What's the point of re-trying to send a message every
minute?



Information forwarded to debian-bugs-dist@lists.debian.org, Nick Leverton <nick@leverton.org>:
Bug#329192; Package nullmailer. (Wed, 11 Jan 2012 15:09:07 GMT) Full text and rfc822 format available.

Acknowledgement sent to Carlos Alberto Lopez Perez <clopez@igalia.com>:
Extra info received and forwarded to list. Copy sent to Nick Leverton <nick@leverton.org>. (Wed, 11 Jan 2012 15:09:07 GMT) Full text and rfc822 format available.

Message #24 received at 329192@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Carlos Alberto Lopez Perez <clopez@igalia.com>
To: 329192@bugs.debian.org
Subject: RE: nullmailer ignores permanent SMTP errors
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2012 16:08:15 +0100
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
Reported also here:

https://github.com/bruceg/nullmailer/issues/1


Regards!

-- 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Carlos Alberto Lopez Perez                           http://neutrino.es
Igalia - Free Software Engineering                http://www.igalia.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Information forwarded to debian-bugs-dist@lists.debian.org, Nick Leverton <nick@leverton.org>:
Bug#329192; Package nullmailer. (Fri, 25 Oct 2013 19:42:04 GMT) Full text and rfc822 format available.

Acknowledgement sent to peter green <plugwash@p10link.net>:
Extra info received and forwarded to list. Copy sent to Nick Leverton <nick@leverton.org>. (Fri, 25 Oct 2013 19:42:04 GMT) Full text and rfc822 format available.

Message #29 received at 329192@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: peter green <plugwash@p10link.net>
To: 329192@bugs.debian.org
Cc: debian-release@lists.debian.org
Subject: Nullmailer can waste massive ammounts of bandwidth and is IMO unfit for release.
Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2013 20:38:06 +0100
I just ran into a particularlly nasty instance of bug 329192

As described in that bug nullmailer ignores permanent errors, has an 
agressive retry policy and never times out messages stuck in the queue.

If a message that is too large for the smarthost to accept gets into the 
queue this can waste MASSIVE ammounts of bandwidth to the extent that I 
would expect mailserver admins to consider it network abuse. I just had 
multiple instances of nullmailer get stuck in this state and between 
them they were chewing up 20 megabits per second of bandwidth. 
Fortunately in this case I was the mailserver admin and the traffic was 
only running over a local vlan so there were no repercussions other than 
my time tracking down where the traffic was coming from but in other 
circumstances this could be far more serious either wasting large 
ammounts of paid bandwith, causing users to get banned from accessing 
their smarthost or both.



Severity set to 'serious' from 'normal' Request was from Ivo De Decker <ivo.dedecker@ugent.be> to control@bugs.debian.org. (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 09:03:04 GMT) Full text and rfc822 format available.

Information forwarded to debian-bugs-dist@lists.debian.org, Nick Leverton <nick@leverton.org>:
Bug#329192; Package nullmailer. (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 10:33:10 GMT) Full text and rfc822 format available.

Acknowledgement sent to Daniel Barlow <dan@telent.net>:
Extra info received and forwarded to list. Copy sent to Nick Leverton <nick@leverton.org>. (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 10:33:10 GMT) Full text and rfc822 format available.

Message #36 received at 329192@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Daniel Barlow <dan@telent.net>
To: 329192@bugs.debian.org
Subject: I echo Peter Green's comment
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 10:32:17 +0000
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
Peter Green wrote:
> If a message that is too large for the smarthost to accept gets into the
queue this can waste MASSIVE ammounts of bandwidth

This happened to me, except in my case it was on the public internet.  I
cannot recommend using nullmailer with a bug like this in it, it's
catastrophic.


-dan

-- 
dan@telent.net
http://ww.telent.net
[Message part 2 (text/html, inline)]

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