Bounces

Anselm Lingnau

Message 41513 · 24 Jun 2005 05:22:18 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Ron Mackey schrieb:

> And I wonder about this 'strathspey bounces' stuff I get in the
> 'to' line? Is it my machine setup?

It's your buggy mail program. The ?strathspey-bounces...? address is the
so-called ?envelope sender address? used by the mail system in delivering the
message -- users don't normally get to see it at all, but it is important
because error messages are sent to that address. Most mail programs will let
you examine the whole message as it came in from the network (look for a menu
item called ?headers? or ?source view?), and there should be a line like

Return-Path: <strathspey-bounces-ron.mackey=xxxxxxxxxx.xxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx>

(in Ron's case). As you can see, this is an address in the ?strathspey.org?
domain, so if a Strathspey message bounces, the error message is routed back
to my machine (not the original author of the message, whose address is in
the ?From:? header but who wouldn't know what to do with them, nor the list
itself, whose address is in the ?Reply-To:? header, and which most
emphatically should NOT receive error messages?). On my machine there is a
tricky setup which routes everything sent to ?strathspey-bounces-SOMETHING?
to a program that looks at the address that the error message is sent TO --
so it can figure out that it was a message to Ron which had the problem.

Now of course the envelope sender address should never, EVER be used to send
actual replies to (the written law on Internet e-mail, a document called,
cryptically, ?RFC 2822?, says so). If your mail program constructs a reply
using that address instead of the ?Reply-To:? or ?From:? lines (in that
order) from the message header, then the programmer in question needs
remedial lessons in how Internet mail works. Tell him to contact me for a
quote at my very reasonable consulting rates :^)

Anselm

? The problem here is what happens if that error-message-forwarded-by-the-list
gets back to Ron and bounces there, resulting in a new error message being
sent to the list ... you get the idea.
--
Anselm Lingnau, Frankfurt, Germany ..................... xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Beauty is more important in computing than anywhere else in technology because
software is so complicated. Beauty is the ultimate defense against complexity.
-- David Gelernter, ?Machine Beauty? (1998)

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