"Problem Messages" - what's happening?
MailScanner at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Mon May 11 10:28:55 IST 2009
On 11/05/2009 09:44, David Lee wrote:
> On Sun, 10 May 2009, Mark Sapiro wrote:
>> On Sun, May 10, 2009 at 10:44:01AM +0100, Paul Hutchings wrote:
>>> Hmm OK seeing a few of the below in my Postmaster inbox.
>>> Doing a grep of the logs shows this:
>>> May 9 17:03:19 relay postfix/cleanup: 8BE611FCC8:
>>> message-id=<06A07D7DB16C417C8990A7FACEE37518 at Desktop>
>>> May 9 17:09:19 relay MailScanner: Making attempt 2 at processing
>>> message 8BE611FCC8.A5E8C
>>> May 9 17:09:19 relay MailScanner: Expanding TNEF archive at
>>> May 9 17:27:30 relay MailScanner: Warning: skipping message
>>> 8BE611FCC8.A5E8C as it has been attempted too many times
>>> May 9 17:27:30 relay MailScanner: Quarantined message
>>> 8BE611FCC8.A5E8C as it caused MailScanner to crash several times
>>> May 9 17:27:30 relay MailScanner: Saved entire message to
>> I suspect the problem is the TNEF decoder is timing out trying to
>> decode the TNEF (winmail.dat) part of the message. The part is likely
>> You could verify this by retrieving the message from the quarantine,
>> saving the winmail.dat attachment and then trying to expand it with
>> /usr/bin/tnef which is the default decoder.
> To confirm the problem and possible workaround: I, too, have just
> started seeing a tiny number of such instances. It recurred even of
> quiet machines. But I don't think it is the timeout (at least, nor
> In my "MailScanner.conf" we have historically had:
> TNEF Expander = internal
> Quick fix: When I switched this to use the "/usr/bin/tnef" version,
> the emails (rescued from quarantine and replaced into the MS inbound
> queue) seemed to go through OK. I got the correct setting from a
> ".rpmnew" file which seems to be:
> TNEF Expander = /usr/bin/tnef --maxsize=100000000
> A little deeper: When I ran them through MS in debug mode (with TNEF
> setting "internal") I got:
> In Debugging mode, not forking...
> Trying to setlogsock(unix)
> Building a message batch to scan...
> Have a batch of 2 messages.
> Can't call method "path" on an undefined value at
> /usr/lib/MailScanner/MailScanner/TNEF.pm line 178.
> Not the "Can't call ..." line.
> The MS run took less than four seconds. I had initially suspected
> TNEF timeout, but it seems to be something different, related to the
> "internal" setting of "TNEF Expander".
> That 'Can't call method "path"...' doesn't appear in the "maillog"
> file (which, in retrospect, is a pity, because that would have been a
> more obvious clue to follow).
> Anyway: summary:
> 1. Problem seems to coincide with "TNEF Expander = internal". For
> end-users, using "/usr/bin/tnef ..." seems to be a workaround for the
> 2. For those who sometimes look a little deeper in the "why", MS in
> '-debug' mode seems to indicate a perl coding error which doesn't get
> shown in the 'maillog' file.
> Hope that helps.
Please can you send me a copy of the message that triggered the fault?
Zip up the raw queue file and mail it to me at
mailscanner at ecs.soton.ac.uk please.
Julian Field MEng CITP CEng
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