[tpop3d-discuss]Error in client (Outlook express)

Matthew Trent mtrent at localaccess.com
Tue, 29 Jun 2004 06:26:06 -0700

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On Thursday 29 July 2004 01:17 am, James Gurney wrote:
> I have a user who reported the following error when trying to download
> mail:
> Your server has unexpectedly terminated the connection. Possible causes
> for this include server problems, network problems, or a long period of
> inactivity. Account: 'removed', Server: 'devious.globalmegacorp.org',
> Protocol: POP3, Port: 995, Secure(SSL): Yes, Error Number: 0x800CCC0F

We also see this error quite frequently. I've always suspected a client bug=
but have never correlated it to any particular message element. We've coine=
the term "clogged email", when a customer calls in with this error and we=20
have to find the offending message and delete it.

> We're using Maildir, so I went and started moving mails out of his
> folder until the error went away. Identified the problem email.. Now,
> when testing over telnet, I can retr the mail no problem. It appears to
> return perfectly (the . terminator appears and everything). However,
> looking at the file with less, the last character of the file seems odd
> (shows up as ^@ ). Hexdump output of the last 3 lines follows:
> 1860  2d 2d 2d 2d 2d 3d 5f 4e  65 78 74 50 61 72 74 5f  -----=3D_N extPar=
> 1870  30 30 30 5f 30 30 30 30  5f 41 34 45 43 45 36 42  000_0000 _A4ECE6B
> 1880  37 2e 42 37 42 33 45 33  30 46 2d 2d 0a 00 0a     7.B7B3E3 0F--...
> I suspect the null character on the last line is the one causing the
> problem, so here's the question..

Ahh, perhaps you're on to something. Can you generate a test case with a=20
different email so we know it's not some other characteristic of that email=
I've always noticed that same thing with these "clogged emails"; I can teln=
in and retr it fine, and no other client but OE exhibits the behavior.

> Whose job is it to deal with this, if it is the problem? I can't see any
> reason for the smtpd or pop3d to arbitrarily remove characters, which
> leads me to the conclusion that the problem is in the client (shock,
> horror). Apart from telling users to not use Outlook express, what else
> can I do about this?

I'm have no doubt that the client is the problem! Outlook Express and Outlo=
are absolutely horrible. However, we have 10,000 addresses, and probably 90=
of them are checked with Outlook Express. Telling them to change clients is=
not an option, and I'm sure we aren't the only ones in that situation. If=20
that character is the problem, perhaps it _would_ be wise to have tpop3d=20
sanitize it before sending it to the client.
Systems Administrator
Local Access Communications

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