null "Clean Header" multi-times gags sendmail

Julian Field mailscanner at
Fri Jul 26 15:23:43 IST 2002

I've never know anyone not want to tell their users that a message is clean.
If you don't mark it as clean, how is the recipient supposed to know
whether it has been scanned or not?
Setting this configuration option to nothing seems a mite strange to me...

At 14:39 26/07/2002, you wrote:
>Solaris 8, sendmail 8.12.5, mailscanner 3.22-7, Sophos, spamassassin
>MailScanner Config Setting that triggers the problem:
>Changing the mailscanner.conf line
>    Clean Header       = Found to be clean
>to just be
>    Clean Header       =
>ie, nothing after the equals sign.  Putting something after the
>equals sign fixes the problem, but there's a bug here.
>The Problem:
>Running a piece of email thru mailscanner multiple times
>with a blank "clean header" setup causes sendmail to give the following
>syslog complaints:
>SYSERR(root): readqf: ./qf.....: incomplete queue file read
>Any piece of email in /var/spool/mqueue generating this complaint will
>not be delivered by sendmail, but just sit there -- stuck.
>I spent some time staring at the qf files for multi-scanned messages
>that ended up in /var/spool/mqueue, for both messages with a blank and
>nonblank "Clean Header" settings.  For a blank "Clean Header" line,
>the bottom of the qf file looked like:
>H??X-MailScanner: , .
>For a qf file with a nonblank "Clean Header = ftbc" line, the bottom of the
>file looked like:
>H??X-MailScanner: ftbc, ftbc
>Note the placement of the period, which signifies to sendmail where the
>end of the qf file is supposed to be.  For the blank header, it does not
>end up by itself as the last line, hence sendmail complains that the queue
>file is incomplete.  I found that I could unjam the problem qf files in
>my queue by editing them and sticking a period at the bottom, then
>rerunning the queue on that message by hand to get it delivered.  And
>of course I can chase this problem away by making sure that "Clean
>Header" is not empty.  But this looks like a mailscanner bug -- it puts
>the final period in the wrong place for multi-scanned messages and an
>empty "clean headers" setting.
>** Jeff A. Earickson, Ph.D                         PHONE: 207-872-3659
>** Senior UNIX Sysadmin, Information Technology    EMAIL: jaearick at
>** Colby College, 4214 Mayflower Hill,               FAX: 207-872-3076
>** Waterville ME, 04901-8842

Julian Field                Teaching Systems Manager
jkf at         Dept. of Electronics & Computer Science
Tel. 023 8059 2817          University of Southampton
                             Southampton SO17 1BJ

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