[olug] just curious

Mark A. Martin mmartin at amath.washington.edu
Tue Nov 7 13:20:55 UTC 2000

Yes, you need to properly configure the mail software on your box, which
means that your box will be a mail server for at least itself.  But your
box will not be a mail server by the meaning in the Postfix docs unless
your box will be providing mail services for other machines on a local

It doesn't matter if you aren't connected 24 hours a day.  I misspoke. 
What I wrote pertains to you if you have a dedicated IP number and
FQDN.  Postfix is perfectly happy to queue mail for delayed sending,
which means that you can shutdown or disconnect from the Internet, as
needed.  You just have to set up a cron job or somesuch to flush the
mail queue periodically.  The command for flushing the mail queue is
"sendmail -q".  See the sections of the documents I gave you that talk
about dial-up connections for more information.

Even if you didn't have a dedicated IP and FQDN, you could configure the
mail software to function properly.  I only have a dial-up connection
with dynamically-assigned IPs and FQDNs but I use Postfix to send and
receive mail from my box and I use Netscape to manage my mail.  My
situation is just more complicated and I tried to give you advice to
help with your simpler situation.

First, make sure that your mail software is running by checking that

/etc/rc.d/init.d/postfix status

returns "running" and that you haven't blocked port 25 with firewalling
software.  I'm guessing that Postfix is running since you are receiving
some mail locally.  Setting things up properly is probably mainly a
matter of

1. telling Postfix your IP, FQDN, and domain,
2. creating a facility for flushing the mail queue periodically,
3. configuring logcheck to send mail to your local user name,
4. configuring Netscape to read mail from your local box,
5. forwarding the mail in your remote mailbox to you at your.local.box,

where you at your.local.box is probably mesc at omhan1.ne.home.com.  The
section of the Red Hat Postfix HOWTO on configuring a standalone box
should be *exactly* the instructions you need for step #1.  Step #2 is a
matter of putting a line into root's crontab file that executes
"sendmail -q" every 5 minutes or at whatever interval you prefer.  As
root, type "crontab -l" to see what is currently in root's crontab and
type "man 5 crontab" for more information.  I have never run logcheck so
I can't give you advice on step #3.

Step #4 is described in detail on the Netscape page I gave you.  Start
Netscape and follow the menu path Edit->Preferences->Mail &
Newsgroups->Mail Servers.  Remove your current Incoming Mail Server. 
Then add an Incoming Mail Server, choose Movemail for the Server Type,
enter your local user name, and choose "use built-in movemail" on the
panel accessible from the "Movemail" tag.  The other entries in the
dialog box can be configured as you like.  Hit the okay button to close
the dialog box.  If you configured Postfix to send mail properly, you
might also want to enter your local machine as the "Outgoing mail
server" with your local username as the "Outgoing mail server user

Step #5 depends on the facility that your ISP provides for forwarding
mail.  Consult them or their docs to determine how to do this.

/var/spool/mail/mesc is the local mailbox that your local mail delivery
agent (MDA) will deliver to.  If you configure Netscape according to the
instructions I gave you, Netscape will move your mail from
/var/spool/mail/mesc to your Netscape Inbox.  You should *not* attempt
to configure your MDA to deliver directly to your Netscape Inbox since
Netscape and your MDA probably store messages in different formats and
this will most likely render your mail unreadable by Netscape.

The line from your log associated with the "unknown user" message
contains to=omhan1.ne.home.com, which seems to suggest that logcheck is
trying to send a message to the address omhan1.ne.home.com without an
associated user name.  Maybe this is a misconfiguration.  Look through
the configuration file for logcheck to see if you are sending a message
to the address omhan1.ne.home.com without a user name.
Mark A. Martin					Dept of Applied Mathematics
http://www.amath.washington.edu/~mmartin	University of Washington

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