Posts Tagged ‘manitou-mdx’

Exim4 and its pipe_transport unset error

September 3rd, 2012 Comments off

On Debian systems, Exim4 in its default configuration does not allow piping of an incoming mail into  a program defined in /etc/aliases. Instead of launching the program it will report this type of error in /var/log/exim4/mainlog:

system_aliases defer (-30): pipe_transport unset in system_aliases router

Yet that’s the method  suggested in manitou-mdx documentation’s “Delivering incoming mail into files”  section, and it has the advantage of being quite standard across most  MTAs.  This is also a problem for  popular mail software such as MailMan, as mentioned in this Ubuntu issue.

The solution is similar to the one mentioned in the above issue, except that it’s better to create a custom configuration file rather than editing exim4.conf.template, according to update-exim4.conf manpage.

In the simplest case where a split configuration for Exim is not used (dc_use_split_config=’false’), the fix is as simple as creating /etc/exim4/exim4.conf.localmacros containing:


SYSTEM_ALIASES_USER and SYSTEM_ALIASES_GROUP may be specified too if the defaults are not suitable, but only SYSTEM_ALIASES_PIPE_TRANSPORT is strictly necessary.

If a split configuration is used, the line should go into a file under /etc/exim4/conf.d, e.g. /etc/exim4/conf.d/main/000_localmacros

Categories: Administration Tags:

Routing outgoing mail in manitou-mdx

October 18th, 2009 Comments off

The default command invoked as the delivery agent for manitou-mdx is `sendmail -f $FROM$ -t` where $FROM$ is replaced by the sender’s email address, which matches whats is called the sender’s identity in Manitou-Mail. On a typical Unix system, this command generally corresponds to the Mail Submission Agent that is installed and responsible for routing the outgoing messages. The sendmail name doesn’t necessarily imply that the MSA is the sendmail SMTP server itself, it can be postfix, or exim, or esmtp, or other programs that have adopted the same name and command line arguments for historical reasons and for the sake of interoperability.
Anyway in manitou-mdx, if this default command is not suitable, the administrator can replace it either globally, or per sender’s identity. A sender’s identity is declared in manitou-mdx configuration file by simply declaring a mailbox with its email address. In the Manitou-Mail user interface, the sender’s identities are configured in the preferences and choosed in the composer.

A typical reason to use different delivery agents when using different identities is that messages may have to be routed to different SMTP servers with different authorization methods. For example, some servers will simply reject messages that have an unexpected From address.
Also there are other cases such as messages from a GMail address that should be routed to a Google SMTP server in order to be signed with a proper DomainKeys header field.
Indeed, while it’s not mandatory, some receivers may pre-sort as spam or reject messages from GMail addresses that are not signed as the Google SMTP servers do with a DomainKey signature (not trusing these messages being the point of DKIM). Let’s see how to route messages written in Manitou-Mail from a GMail address to Google SMTP servers.
I’ve used msmtp for a simple, easy to configure Mail Submission Agent. esmtp is also a candidate but its debian package makes it an alternative to postfix and I happen to want it to supplement postfix, not replace it. msmtp, on the other hand, is a supplementary package that doesn’t conflict with the default MSA.

The procedure to use msmtp is quite simple:
Create a $HOME/.certs directory if none already exists.
Create a $HOME/.msmtprc file (with perm 0600) containing:

# gmail account
auth on
port 587
password XXXXXX
tls on
tls_trust_file /home/daniel/.cert/ThawtePremiumServerCA.crt

Obviously USERNAME is to be replaced by your GMail login.
The cert file is to be extracted from the set of Thawte certificates available at:, with this command:

unzip -p 'Thawte SSLWeb Server Roots/thawte Premium Server CA/Thawte Premium Server CA.pem' > ~/.certs/ThawtePremiumServerCA.crt

And in manitou-mdx’s configuration file, we have something like:

# various things
local_delivery_agent = msmtp -f $FROM$ -t


the mentioned certificate is no longer accepted, now we should use Equifax_Secure_CA.crt. I located the file in the debian package named “ca-certificates”, so changing my .smtprc to:

tls_trust_file /usr/share/ca-certificates/mozilla/Equifax_Secure_CA.crt

Categories: Usage Tags:

Indexing HTML parts

August 15th, 2009 Comments off

While HTML integration is improving in Manitou-Mail, the current version (0.9.12) does not index the contents of HTML parts. This is generally not a problem because messages tend to carry a text version inside a multipart/alternative MIME construct, and that version gets indexed so that the message can still be retrieved by the words it contains. But still, some people send HTML-only messages, in which case we want to automatically extract the text from the HTML and pass it to the indexer.

It’s relatively easy to write a manitou-mdx Perl plugin that does just that, by using a CPAN module to do the HTML to text conversion: HTML::FormatText

Apart from the usual init and process functions that are described in the mdx plugins reference, we need to provide two functions: one that recursively descends the MIME tree to find the html parts, and another that extracts them to text and pass them to the indexer.

sub index_contents {
  my ($fh, $ctxt)=@_;
  my $html;
  my $text;
    local $/;
    $html = $fh->getline();
  if (defined $html) {
    my $tree = HTML::TreeBuilder->new;
    my $formatter = HTML::FormatText->new(leftmargin=>0, rightmargin=>78);
    $text = $formatter->format($tree);
  if (defined $text) {
    Manitou::Words::index_words($ctxt->{'dbh'}, $ctxt->{'mail_id'}, \$text);
sub process_parts {
  my ($obj,$ctxt) = @_;;
  if ($obj->is_multipart) {
    foreach my $subobj ($obj->parts) {
      process_parts($subobj, $ctxt);    # recurse
  else {
    my $type=$obj->effective_type;
    if ($type eq "text/html") {
      my $io = $obj->bodyhandle->open("r");
      index_contents($io, $ctxt);

The full source code and download link are available on the wiki

Categories: Development Tags: , ,