At 9:39 AM -0600 1/22/99, Jason L Tibbitts III wrote:
> Note that it's more than just posts; you want to handle the inherent hole
> of having any kind of program that responds blindly to email.
It's a case of different parts of this needing different things
(sigh. It's never simple).
For the lists themselves, we want to limit number of postings over
time. IMHO, in the perfect world, this is list-configurable by the
admin, either to hold-in-queue or return. If you hold-in-queue, you
send back a message explaining the delay to the poster, because
otherwise you run the risk of having 20 of them in your queue, each
on waiting for a timeout before it comes out as a repeat, with
increasingly frustrated expletives.
(remember, blackholes suck. Any time the list server does something
that the user can't expect to be the normal operation, tell the user
you're doing that. That includes forwarding mail to admins for
approval, holding mail for later processing, whatever.... The worst
thing you can do to a user is silence....)
For majordomo itself, we're more worried about mail loops and various
attacks. In these cases, I'd argue that responses to some limit, and
after that, blackhole. If you've told someone five times and they're
still blatting, then it's probably safe to assume it's either an
attack, a mailbot, or someone really not interested in listening to
you anyway... (and I get a few of those. Ever so often I get these
HUGE messages to postmaster where the user has gone six or seven
rounds with majordomo screaming "why aren't you answering my
questions?????" before they try a different address and simply
include the whole disaster....)
Speaking of mail loops, I broke a doozy today. I was whacking at my
server today, and noticed a specific majordomo request in the queue.
Came back 10 minutes later, and it was still there (which, finally,
shouldn't happen. Last week was writing scripts to make "unzub *" go
away, since it was taking 18 CPU minutes on my box. The replacement
takes about 3 CPU minutes, FWIW).
I went looking, and some braindead server at Intuit was blithely
blatting at the majordomo account (having returned an error to the
wrong bloody address, in a form none of my filters had caught), and
it and my majordomo were happily telling each other that the other
side had a problem, appending their own error messages in each
The message was, I kid you not, 90 megs. another 10 megs, and my "max
message size" would have killed it, but god knows how long this has
been going on (I forgot to look), and it must have been the worlds
slowest mail loop, given how long it takes majordomo to read 90 megs
of data, one line at a time, tell me each line isn't a legal command,
and then return it with the help file attached...
And I caught it by accident. Now I'm curious how many of these are
wandering around unseen....
Chuq Von Rospach (Hockey fan? <http://www.plaidworks.com/hockey/>)
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