Sun 11 Nov 2007
From Postfix Enabler to MailServe for Leopard
Category : Technology/FromPFEToMSL.txt
While re-reading the previous post about testing MailServe for the Leopard 10.5.1 Developer Build, besides spotting a couple of grammatical errors (a weblog is performance art - mistakes are part of the art), I realised I forgot one huge chunk of the testing process - outgoing smtp, i.e., the process that sends mail out the server.
How can I ever forget that? This was the other bug I spotted on Leopard and it was only corrected at the very last developer release.
I couldn't get outgoing smtp authentication working on Leopard for a very long time. This is the process that authenticates your server with another mail server that you are trying to use as a Smart Host, so you can relay mail through it and not have your mail (coming, as it is, from a dynamic IP address) flagged as spam.
I needed to use this feature myself, so I set to debug it doggedly. Then I found it was due to a couple of files missing on Leopard and reported that as a bug and, thankfully, that was fixed by Apple in time for the final release.
So I test it now. But first, check that the domain name works by hitting the web server. Always check that you can actually hit the server, either via the web browser or via the command line by pinging it, before you move your mind onto the mail server. I can't emphasise that enough.
I first test that I can send mail out without using a Smart Host. See? Don't complicate things. Be patient. Take the step where the outcome tells you something definite - that you have a working smtp server that knows how to send mail to another mail server (even if your mail gets rejected eventually due to its contents, or due to the prevailing anti-spam rules at that particular receiving mail server). If you didn't even get this to work, there is no point testing against a smart host, with all the attendant complications with the authentication parameters.
So if you're able to send mail the default way, next, make the server go through a smart host. If you know an smtp server that'll allow you to use it as a smart host without authentication, so much the better, test against it.
That worked, so I test against a server that does require my server to authenticate against it. And then I test it with SSL.
Because I have two broadband lines coming into my home, I do all my tests against my own live server (cutedgesystems.com) on which I can set all sorts of conditions to act like any smart host would.
So, everything seems to be working on 10.5.1. But of course, I have to test it all again when the "real" 10.5.1 comes out for everyone.