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© November 2004 Tom

Popper Fix for SCO 5.0.7

Posted by Tom

When we installed OpenServer 5.0.7, we found that there was a problem with the popper. It was leaving files in the /tmp directory after each person had popped their email. That alone was just an annoyance and it has been reported on the web already. The real problem was that when the user tried to pop their email again later, some of them were getting the message that their email was "being read by another session." When we removed the temporary file associated with the user that was having problems, the problem went away. I suspect that it is because the PID in the temporary file was being reused, but don't have proof of that.

Searches on the web indicated that SCO knew about the temporary file problem and were due to fix the problem in the next release. We didn't find anything referring to the other-session problem. A call to SCO just to _try_ to get an update would have cost us $1800, so we passed on that. (We don't have to call but maybe once a year, so it isn't worth keeping an active support contract.)

We tried to replace the 5.0.7 popper with the popper that was from a 5.0.5 system. That resulted in a licensing error.

We downloaded qpopper-3.1-VOLS.tar and installed it. That resulted in an authentication error. A look through the INSTALL file indicated that the error was because of a configure error prior to compiling. We downloaded the qpopper tar to a development system. We reconfigured qpopper with './configure --enable-specialauth' to enable the use of shadow files. (Which I thought had been used on every SCO system since Xenix?!?!) We copied /opt/K/SKUNK2000/Qpopper/3.1 /usr/local/src/mail/ qpopper3.1/popper/popper from the development system to the 5.0.7 system and the popper problems went away.

The only other setup to do on the 5.0.7 system was an entry in /etc/inetd.conf. We commented out the old popper and added a popper line like this: 'pop3 stream tcp nowait root /usr/local/lib/popper qpopper'. We also had to restart inetd (kill -HUP `cat /etc/inetd.pid`). The installation instructions recommend the '-s' argument, but that adds a line to the syslog each time someone pops their email, and we weren't interested in that.

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-> Popper Fix for SCO 5.0.7

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More Articles by © Tom

---November 5, 2004

I wouldn't use SCO for mail unless it were entirely in-house users only. SCO is always way behind on security fixes, etc. and even if you are willing to download and compile source, that often is difficult.

It is so inexpensive to put up a separate system it is just not worth the trouble.

Also, I don't like production servers having any ports open to the internet unless they absolutely need them. It's just one more thing to worry about.


---November 6, 2004

That is very strange that SCO (skunkware) did not compile qpopper with -enable-specialauth. Actually, I do not know why qpopper does not enable that by default anyway. The first time I compiled qpopper on a linux box, I forgot to do this, and found out I needed to add that option. What *nix does not use shadow passwords anyway?

qpopper is a real nice pop3 server, and has lots of other options in the compile process (like SSL, and bulletins support). I have been using it for several years on our in house server, and have found it to be extremely reliable. I have never had one issue with it, other than having to up the number of simultaneous connections in the xinetd configuration for the pop3 service.

I still prefer IMAP to pop3, but for a pop3 server, qpopper does a fine job. And, you can't beat the price :-)

- Bruce Garlock

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