Sloppy error checking in MS code

Matt Kettler mkettler at
Fri Dec 15 23:38:17 GMT 2006

Mike Jakubik wrote:
> Recently on the postfix mailling lists, there was a debate on the usage
> of postfix  + mailscanner. I claimed that I've been using the two for
> some time now, without any problems. However one of the folks on the
> lists stated the following:
> ---
> On Thursday December 14 2006 07:30, Mike Jakubik wrote:
>> > Could you backup this documented fact please? Are you sure you are not
>> > referring to a bug in an obsolete version of mailscanner? If this
> was an
>> > issue, im quite certain some of my users would complain.
> Look at its code. There are literally hundreds of instances where a
> status from a system call is just ignored (getline, print, close, flush,
> stat, mkdir, chown, unlink, exec, system..., sometimes even: open).
> _Anything_ can happen, and you will never know what hit you,
> much less be able to track it down easily, especially if the
> problem is intermittent.
>  Mark
> ---
> I'm not a perl expert, could someone verify if this is the case? Can MS
> really eat emails without any warning?

Hmm, reading, it does look like many system calls aren't checked.

Some cases, it doesn't really matter, because a later system call is checked,
and that will fail if the previous one did. (ie: mkdir, followed by a rename
into that dir, where mkdir isn't checked, but rename is. Clearly if the mkdir
failed to make the directory, rename is going to fail and get caught that way)

There are some other cases where I can't tell if it's bad enough to cause
problems, or just bad form.

I suspect that  the un-checked chown and chmod in this file could be bad if they
failed.. they *shouldn't* ever fail.. but at the same time, it would be nice to
check for failure and generate a message.

It also would be nice if the unlink in DeleteUnlock() was checked, much like it
is in the for sendmail.

That said, my code is NOT the latest, and Julian may have already fixed both of
the above..

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