HTML/Newsletters being received as unreadable code

Julian Field MailScanner at
Wed Feb 20 17:42:28 GMT 2008

Hash: SHA1

Julian Field wrote:
> * PGP Signed: 02/20/08 at 16:03:23
> Mark Sapiro wrote:
>> Steve Freegard wrote:
>>> Andrew Chester wrote:
>>>> X-Ukuvuma Solutions-MailScanner-From: support at
>>>           ^^^
>>> There's your problem - you have spaces in your %org-name% setting in 
>>> MailScanner.conf.
>> While the space in %org-name% is wrong, it does not seem to be the
>> cause of the problem.
>> Here's what I see in the last few headers and body:
>> ---------------------------------------------------------------
>> content-transfer-encoding: base64
>> content-type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
>> X-Ukuvuma Solutions-MailScanner-From: support at
>> X-Spam-Status: No
>> X-Ukuvuma Solutions-MailScanner-From: support at
>> X-Spam-Status: No
>> WW91ciBLYWxhaGFyaS5uZXQgcGFzc3dvcmQgaXMgODAwNjAwCi0tIApUaGlz
>> IG1lc3NhZ2UgaGFzIGJlZW4gc2Nhbm5lZCBmb3IgdmlydXNlcyBhbmQKZGFu
>> Z2Vyb3VzIGNvbnRlbnQgYnkgdGhlIFVrdXZ1bWEgQXBvbGxvIGdhdGV3YXkg
>> -----------------------------------------------------------------
>> The two sets of MailScanner headers are curious, but it looks from the
>> Received: headers that the message passed twice through
>> so it was probably scanned twice.
>> The real problem is the empty lines preceeding each set of MailScanner
>> headers. This causes the MailScanner headers to be part of the body
>> which totally destroys the base64 encoding and results in the garbled
>> message.
>> I suspect that all base64 encoded messages get garbled this way and
>> non-bas64 encoded messages show the MailScanner headers in the body.
>> Perhaps someone with more MailScanner experience has a clue as to why
>> the MailScanner headers are preceded by an empty line.
> It's probably the MTA (or MailScanner) attempting to render the 
> message in a form correct for the next mail handling program it passes 
> through. There should always be a blank line after the last header. 
> But I don't guarantee what MailScanner will do if the headers end on 
> an incomplete line, as it never happens in real mail that hasn't been 
> screwed by something (in your case, the space in %org-name%).
> The point about spaces in %org-name% is very clearly documented in the 
> MailScanner.conf file.
> If you break that rule I make no guarantees what may happen to your mail.
> I will add some more code to check for that and flag it very boldly in 
> the logs, and ensure that MailScanner --debug and MailScanner --lint 
> check for it too.
When you run MailScanner --lint, a polite warning is already shown, 
which I reckon is sufficient for that case. But when you run MailScanner 
- --debug, there was no obvious warning, so now you get this printed 
instead, which I think is obvious enough for nearly everyone (the rows 
of "*"s are included in the output) :
In MailScanner.conf, your "%org-name%" or "Mail Header" setting
contains spaces and/or other illegal characters.

Including any spaces will break all your mail system.

Otherwise, it should only contain characters from the set a-z, A-Z,
0-9 and "-". While theoretically some other characters are allowed,
many commercial mail systems fail to handle them correctly.

This is clearly noted in the MailScanner.conf file, immediately above
the %org-name% setting. Please read the documentation!

Clear enough for you? :-)


- -- 
Julian Field MEng CITP CEng
Buy the MailScanner book at

MailScanner customisation, or any advanced system administration help?
Contact me at Jules at Jules.FM

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