Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

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Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

hector-7
Exploring Thunderbird I see it violates basis SMTP (RFC x821) state machine
protocol.. Here is example of a captured session with TBIRD as a client on a
non-routable address (intranet sub-net) machine.

********************************************************
Wildcat! SMTP Server v6.1.451.9
SMTP log started at Mon, 06 Nov 2006  19:14:50
Connection Time: 20061106 19:14:50  cid: 00007126
SSL Enabled: NO
Client IP: 72.144.114.198 (unknown)
19:14:50 S: 220 winserver.com Wildcat! ESMTP Server v6.1.451.9 ready
19:14:50 C: EHLO [192.168.1.103]
19:14:50 S: 501 Invalid EHLO client address.
19:14:50 C: HELO [192.168.1.103]
19:14:50 S: 501 Invalid HELO client address.
19:14:50 C: MAIL FROM:<[hidden email]>
19:14:50 S: 503 Send HELO first.
19:14:52 ** Completed

Two problems here with TBIRD

1) It doesn't seem to have an option to to set the client domain name
(ELHO/HELO). It is fixated at using domain literals which will fail when the
TBIRD client is on an intranet subnet, as it was in this case at
192.168.1.103.   The outbound machine is at 72.144.114.198.

Using a standard internal network domain literal will immediately violate
RFC 2821 for client domain domain literals requiring to match the IP
address.

What you see above is an advanced SMTP server who did the check and saw that
connecting IP did not match.   What most modern MUA software do is use the
FQDN or if it can't it use the local machine computer name.    That is what
Outlook, Eudora and other MUAs does - TBIRD does not.

2) Even then, TBIRD completely ignored the SMTP protocol state machine by
ignoring the 501 response codes and continuing with commands like if
"something" is going to change and allow it in.  This is a big no-no.

IP Analytics and session behavior like the above can put users at risk in an
increasing modern world of strict SMTP servers like the one above by
erronenously flagging them as spammers or malicious transactions.

Sorry, if I sound harsh, but this is too blatant for the high standards the
TBIRD development team seem to have established.    It should fixed.  Sorry
if I sound harsh, so I apologize but it  pisses me off because I have to
support customers who have begun to use this mail client with a fundamental
mail protocol flaw and I hate passing the  buck to others if I can help it.
I hate telling people "its TBIRD problem. Call them!"

So if there is a fix for this let me know.

Thanks

Hector Santos, CTO
http://www.santronics.com
Wildcat! Internet Net Server
Wildcat! Sender Authentication Protocol (WCSAP)


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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

hector-7
I downloaded the source code to see whats going on and I see the following.
I am only highlighting key points for developers to consider changing:

a) Option to use local computer name

In nsSMTPProtocol.cpp, the GetUserDomainName() needs to read an user
interface option to use the Local Computer Name instead of using the domain
literal as the function is hardcoded to do.

I suggest an option for the SMTP Output Servers Setup with a new checkbox:

    [X] Use FQDN, if found, or Local Computer name for HELO/EHLO

You need to remember the RFC is just a "GUIDELINE" and hardcoding it domain
literals creates more problems for client machines are on an intranet.
But using a domain literal, you are forcing middle man proxies to be used.
The HELO/EHLO is historically weak, but not with domain literals.  Modern
SMTP server are becoming very strict with matching domain literals and the
connection IP address.    We can tell you by our own statistics, over 12% of
all transactions are spammers using bad domain literals.     By continuing
in this mode for the user, it puts the user at risk with erroneous blocks
and red flags.

b) Honoring the SMTP state machine.

In all cause the SMTP client must not CONTINUE to a new state when a
negative response is provided at any state.   This is clear in the specs:

   section 4.1.4

   If the EHLO command is not acceptable to the SMTP server, 501, 500,
   or 502 failure replies MUST be returned as appropriate.  The SMTP
   server MUST stay in the same state after transmitting these replies
   that it was in before the EHLO was received.

In the same vain, it must not issue a fall back to HELO unless a 500
negative response is provided.   The RFC is very clear with this too,
further in the same section 4.1.4:

   If the transaction beginning command argument is not acceptable, a
   501 failure reply MUST be returned and the SMTP server MUST stay in
   the same state.  If the commands in a transaction are out of order to
   the degree that they cannot be processed by the server, a 503 failure
   reply MUST be returned and the SMTP server MUST stay in the same
   state.

In short, it should continue to ignore negative responses in the modern era
of SMTP servers paying strict attention to client transactions at the SMTP
level.

TBIRD has gone out of its way to establish new Anti-Spam features for end
users.  This current behavior goes against this new level of practice.

Thanks

Hector Santos, CTO
http://www.santronics.com
Wildcat! Internet Net Server
Wildcat! Sender Authentication Protocol (WCSAP)



"hector" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
news:[hidden email]...

> Exploring Thunderbird I see it violates basis SMTP (RFC x821) state
> machine protocol.. Here is example of a captured session with TBIRD as a
> client on a non-routable address (intranet sub-net) machine.
>
> ********************************************************
> Wildcat! SMTP Server v6.1.451.9
> SMTP log started at Mon, 06 Nov 2006  19:14:50
> Connection Time: 20061106 19:14:50  cid: 00007126
> SSL Enabled: NO
> Client IP: 72.144.114.198 (unknown)
> 19:14:50 S: 220 winserver.com Wildcat! ESMTP Server v6.1.451.9 ready
> 19:14:50 C: EHLO [192.168.1.103]
> 19:14:50 S: 501 Invalid EHLO client address.
> 19:14:50 C: HELO [192.168.1.103]
> 19:14:50 S: 501 Invalid HELO client address.
> 19:14:50 C: MAIL FROM:<[hidden email]>
> 19:14:50 S: 503 Send HELO first.
> 19:14:52 ** Completed
>
> Two problems here with TBIRD
>
> 1) It doesn't seem to have an option to to set the client domain name
> (ELHO/HELO). It is fixated at using domain literals which will fail when
> the TBIRD client is on an intranet subnet, as it was in this case at
> 192.168.1.103.   The outbound machine is at 72.144.114.198.
>
> Using a standard internal network domain literal will immediately violate
> RFC 2821 for client domain domain literals requiring to match the IP
> address.
>
> What you see above is an advanced SMTP server who did the check and saw
> that connecting IP did not match.   What most modern MUA software do is
> use the FQDN or if it can't it use the local machine computer name.
> That is what Outlook, Eudora and other MUAs does - TBIRD does not.
>
> 2) Even then, TBIRD completely ignored the SMTP protocol state machine by
> ignoring the 501 response codes and continuing with commands like if
> "something" is going to change and allow it in.  This is a big no-no.
>
> IP Analytics and session behavior like the above can put users at risk in
> an increasing modern world of strict SMTP servers like the one above by
> erronenously flagging them as spammers or malicious transactions.
>
> Sorry, if I sound harsh, but this is too blatant for the high standards
> the TBIRD development team seem to have established.    It should fixed.
> Sorry if I sound harsh, so I apologize but it  pisses me off because I
> have to support customers who have begun to use this mail client with a
> fundamental mail protocol flaw and I hate passing the  buck to others if I
> can help it. I hate telling people "its TBIRD problem. Call them!"
>
> So if there is a fix for this let me know.
>
> Thanks
>
> Hector Santos, CTO
> http://www.santronics.com
> Wildcat! Internet Net Server
> Wildcat! Sender Authentication Protocol (WCSAP)
>
>


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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

Tony Mechelynck
Well, if you've found out that Thunderbird is misbehaving, why not file a bug
report at https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/ ?

If you aren't yet registered with Bugzilla, then start with:
- Create a (free) account: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/createaccount.cgi
- Bugzilla Etiquette: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/page.cgi?id=etiquette.html
- Bug Writing Guidelines: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/bugwritinghelp.html


Best regards,
Tony.
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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

hector-7
Its not a bug.  Its was an incorrect design decision. :-)

Jokes to the side, because I simply don't have the time to learn something
new, creating yet another account, follow ups, etc,  etc. This is most
likely a short one time visit here. I will just report it here where
developers hang out and let the smart developers handle from there.  If a
bug report must be catelogged, I will hope someone else will do it.  I have
strong faith in  good engineering principles being followed here so I have
no reason to presumed it will be ignored and not addressed in future
versions.  :-)

If they need my assistance on finer points of SMTP protocol behavior, I will
be glad to assist.   They can email at  hsantos  AT  domain indicated below.

Hector Santos, CTO
http://www.santronics.com
Wildcat! Internet Net Server
Wildcat! Sender Authentication Protocol (WCSAP)


"Tony Mechelynck" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
news:[hidden email]...

> Well, if you've found out that Thunderbird is misbehaving, why not file a
> bug report at https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/ ?
>
> If you aren't yet registered with Bugzilla, then start with:
> - Create a (free) account: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/createaccount.cgi
> - Bugzilla Etiquette:
> https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/page.cgi?id=etiquette.html
> - Bug Writing Guidelines: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/bugwritinghelp.html
>
>
> Best regards,
> Tony.


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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

Michael Lefevre
In reply to this post by hector-7
On 2006-11-07, hector <[hidden email]> wrote:
[snip]

>
> Two problems here with TBIRD
>
> 1) It doesn't seem to have an option to to set the client domain name
> (ELHO/HELO). It is fixated at using domain literals which will fail when the
> TBIRD client is on an intranet subnet, as it was in this case at
> 192.168.1.103.   The outbound machine is at 72.144.114.198.
>
> Using a standard internal network domain literal will immediately violate
> RFC 2821 for client domain domain literals requiring to match the IP
> address.
>
> What you see above is an advanced SMTP server who did the check and saw that
> connecting IP did not match.   What most modern MUA software do is use the
> FQDN or if it can't it use the local machine computer name.    That is what
> Outlook, Eudora and other MUAs does - TBIRD does not.

First you talk about standards, and then "what most modern MUA software
do". Using the local computer name is also a violation. If Thunderbird
gets the domain literal right, then it's actually doing better than things
which just use the computer name. The RFC says the client should send the
FQDN, or if that's not possible, then it should send an address literal.
In cases where the computer submitting the message doesn't know either of
those (which is often the case with Windows desktops behind NAT), there is
no way of complying with the RFC.

Why should the server reject non-matching IP addresses, but accept random
strings which don't have dots in?  Aside from the fact that doing one will
only affect Thunderbird, which makes an effort to get it right more of the
time, and the other will block Outlook Express and Outlook, which are far
more widely used?

> 2) Even then, TBIRD completely ignored the SMTP protocol state machine by
> ignoring the 501 response codes and continuing with commands like if
> "something" is going to change and allow it in.  This is a big no-no.

This does indeed seem to be rather broken.

> So if there is a fix for this let me know.

Not much chance of that unless you help out with fixing it (not that I'm a
developer)...

--
Michael
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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

hector-7
Hi Michael,

"Michael Lefevre" <[hidden email]> wrote in message

> On 2006-11-07, hector <[hidden email]> wrote:
> [snip]
>>
>> Two problems here with TBIRD
>>
>> ..
>> What you see above is an advanced SMTP server who did the check and saw
>> that
>> connecting IP did not match.   What most modern MUA software do is use
>> the
>> FQDN or if it can't it use the local machine computer name.    That is
>> what
>> Outlook, Eudora and other MUAs does - TBIRD does not.
>
> First you talk about standards, and then "what most modern MUA software
> do". Using the local computer name is also a violation. If Thunderbird
> gets the domain literal right, then it's actually doing better than things
> which just use the computer name. The RFC says the client should send the
> FQDN, or if that's not possible, then it should send an address literal.
> In cases where the computer submitting the message doesn't know either of
> those (which is often the case with Windows desktops behind NAT), there is
> no way of complying with the RFC.

Right, there are standards and then BCP (best current practices).

The point I was making is that by using the Domain Literal, it has raised
the bar for tighter scrunity and in today's environment, TBIRD will have
more difficulty than not..   Using it is not incorrect, it is when it is
ignorant (in a nice way) of the fact it is using a 192.* or 10.* sub net
which will very likely fail the IP test at the application level.

Other MUAs recognize this, thus the BCP is to err on the safe say with the
local computer name.

Related issues was recently (last year) discussed in the SMTP working group.
I will raise the issue again with Klensin for possible RFC 2821bis
considerations.

But from an application standpoint, TBIRD needs to make it optional
otherwise it will hinder installations on desktops behind NATs thus
requiring additional network preparations.

> Why should the server reject non-matching IP addresses, but accept random
> strings which don't have dots in?  Aside from the fact that doing one will
> only affect Thunderbird, which makes an effort to get it right more of the
> time, and the other will block Outlook Express and Outlook, which are far
> more widely used?

Historistically any HELO/EHLO validation is unreliable.  However, when a
domain literal is presented then it opens itself up for reliable validation.
This is the modern direction with higher security SMTP servers.  So its
better to not use a domain literal when its knows the peer address is not
going to be the same or if it can't figure that out for itself, then allow
for user configuration.

Also consider systems that are now using SPF which does a domain::IP
association check for the return path domain (MAIL FROM) and possibly the
HELO/EHLO domain (per the official RFC).  The rule of thumb is if you see a
domain, then it must be a valid domain or literal. Otherwise, it falls back
to basically no validation done (legacy operations).

>> 2) Even then, TBIRD completely ignored the SMTP protocol state machine by
>> ignoring the 501 response codes and continuing with commands like if
>> "something" is going to change and allow it in.  This is a big no-no.
>
> This does indeed seem to be rather broken.

Right, I can probably understand if the server indicated it was using the
PIPELINING extension but it did not present that information   In the end,
TBIRD acts or behaves as a bulk mail sender and this is a clear
indicator/red flag for spam attacks when it ignores any such pipelining
activation and all negative responses.  So this is probably a more important
fix than the IP/DOMAIN issue.  :-)

>> So if there is a fix for this let me know.
>
> Not much chance of that unless you help out with fixing it (not that I'm a
> developer)...

Given my lack of time, the best I can do is look at the code and suggest the
changes to make and pass it on the cog engineer here working on this
component.  Is this sufficient and is this the proper avenue to suggest the
special code changes?

Thanks

Hector Santos, CTO
http://www.santronics.com
Wildcat! Internet Net Server
Wildcat! Sender Authentication Protocol (WCSAP)



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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

Wayne Mery
On 11/7/2006 10:10 AM, hector wrote:

> Hi Michael,
>
> "Michael Lefevre" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
>
>> On 2006-11-07, hector <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> [snip]
>>> 2) Even then, TBIRD completely ignored the SMTP protocol state machine by
>>> ignoring the 501 response codes and continuing with commands like if
>>> "something" is going to change and allow it in.  This is a big no-no.
>> This does indeed seem to be rather broken.
>
> Right, I can probably understand if the server indicated it was using the
> PIPELINING extension but it did not present that information   In the end,
> TBIRD acts or behaves as a bulk mail sender and this is a clear
> indicator/red flag for spam attacks when it ignores any such pipelining
> activation and all negative responses.  So this is probably a more important
> fix than the IP/DOMAIN issue.  :-)
>
>>> So if there is a fix for this let me know.
>> Not much chance of that unless you help out with fixing it (not that I'm a
>> developer)...
>
> Given my lack of time, the best I can do is look at the code and suggest the
> changes to make and pass it on the cog engineer here working on this
> component.  Is this sufficient and is this the proper avenue to suggest the
> special code changes?

the proper venue to report a bug and/or suggest code changes is to create/file a
bug. Doing so doesn't obligate one to look at the code, patching or even
recommending how to fix (even if you know how) - though coders are welcome and a
suggested patch is icing on the cake for a developer.

creating a bz account is nothing more than a pwd and your email address
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/createaccount.cgi
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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

Mike Cowperthwaite-2
Wayne Mery wrote:

> On 11/7/2006 10:10 AM, hector wrote:
>> Given my lack of time, the best I can do is look at the code and
>> suggest the changes to make and pass it on the cog engineer here
>> working on this component.  Is this sufficient and is this the proper
>> avenue to suggest the special code changes?
>
> the proper venue to report a bug and/or suggest code changes is to
> create/file a bug. Doing so doesn't obligate one to look at the code,
> patching or even recommending how to fix (even if you know how) - though
> coders are welcome and a suggested patch is icing on the cake for a
> developer.
>
> creating a bz account is nothing more than a pwd and your email address
> https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/createaccount.cgi

I think bug 244030 is already addressing at least part of the issue
you're reporting.
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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

Wayne Mery
On 11/7/2006 3:06 PM, Mike Cowperthwaite wrote:
> I think bug 244030 is already addressing at least part of the issue
> you're reporting.

oops, I forgot this IS a dev forum.

Hector, if you want to see the resolution of the bug or follow it's progress
you'll need to cc: yourself in the bug, commenting does not automatically add you.
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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

hector-7
Got it. Thanks.


"Wayne Mery" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
news:[hidden email]...
> On 11/7/2006 3:06 PM, Mike Cowperthwaite wrote:
>> I think bug 244030 is already addressing at least part of the issue
>> you're reporting.
>
> oops, I forgot this IS a dev forum.
>
> Hector, if you want to see the resolution of the bug or follow it's
> progress you'll need to cc: yourself in the bug, commenting does not
> automatically add you.


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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

hector-7
In reply to this post by Wayne Mery
There are two bugs.  This 244030 covers the domain IP literal issue
sufficiently.  The other is how TBIRD ignores the state machine negative
response codes.  Do you know is there is an existing or related bug already
catalogged?  I don't want to duplicate it.

---
HLS


"Wayne Mery" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
news:[hidden email]...
> On 11/7/2006 3:06 PM, Mike Cowperthwaite wrote:
>> I think bug 244030 is already addressing at least part of the issue
>> you're reporting.
>
> oops, I forgot this IS a dev forum.
>
> Hector, if you want to see the resolution of the bug or follow it's
> progress you'll need to cc: yourself in the bug, commenting does not
> automatically add you.


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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

Tony Mechelynck
In reply to this post by Wayne Mery
Wayne Mery wrote:
> On 11/7/2006 3:06 PM, Mike Cowperthwaite wrote:
>> I think bug 244030 is already addressing at least part of the issue
>> you're reporting.
>
> oops, I forgot this IS a dev forum.
>
> Hector, if you want to see the resolution of the bug or follow it's
> progress you'll need to cc: yourself in the bug, commenting does not
> automatically add you.

... and, hector, "bug 244030" means
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=244030

You can view it without a Bugzilla account but you need one to comment.


Best regards,
Tony.
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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

Mike Cowperthwaite-2
In reply to this post by hector-7
hector wrote:

> "Wayne Mery" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
> news:[hidden email]...
>> On 11/7/2006 3:06 PM, Mike Cowperthwaite wrote:
>>> I think bug 244030 is already addressing at least part of the issue
>>> you're reporting.
>> oops, I forgot this IS a dev forum.
>>
>> Hector, if you want to see the resolution of the bug or follow it's
>> progress you'll need to cc: yourself in the bug, commenting does not
>> automatically add you.
>
> There are two bugs.  This 244030 covers the domain IP literal issue
> sufficiently.  The other is how TBIRD ignores the state machine negative
> response codes.  Do you know is there is an existing or related bug already
> catalogged?  I don't want to duplicate it.

Could you bottom-post in these newsgroups, please?

I tried searching the Networking:SMTP component, for "501" OR "block" OR
"state", but didn't locate anything.  "error" had a few matches but none
that sounded like this one.  I'd just open a new bug, if I were you;
feel free to add   [hidden email]   to the CC list.
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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

hector-7
Thanks I will do this when I get the chance.

Sorry, I'm been cyberspacing and designing mail related products for far too
long to have any regrets about how you feel whether I should top, inline or
bottom feed you.

Thanks

---
HLS

"Mike Cowperthwaite" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
news:[hidden email]...

> hector wrote:
>> "Wayne Mery" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
>> news:[hidden email]...
>>> On 11/7/2006 3:06 PM, Mike Cowperthwaite wrote:
>>>> I think bug 244030 is already addressing at least part of the issue
>>>> you're reporting.
>>> oops, I forgot this IS a dev forum.
>>>
>>> Hector, if you want to see the resolution of the bug or follow it's
>>> progress you'll need to cc: yourself in the bug, commenting does not
>>> automatically add you.
>>
>> There are two bugs.  This 244030 covers the domain IP literal issue
>> sufficiently.  The other is how TBIRD ignores the state machine negative
>> response codes.  Do you know is there is an existing or related bug
>> already catalogged?  I don't want to duplicate it.
>
> Could you bottom-post in these newsgroups, please?
>
> I tried searching the Networking:SMTP component, for "501" OR "block" OR
> "state", but didn't locate anything.  "error" had a few matches but none
> that sounded like this one.  I'd just open a new bug, if I were you; feel
> free to add   [hidden email]   to the CC list.


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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

Tony Mechelynck
hector wrote:
[...]
> Sorry, I'm been cyberspacing and designing mail related products for far too
> long to have any regrets about how you feel whether I should top, inline or
> bottom feed you.
>
> Thanks
>
> ---
> HLS
[...]

It's not a question of regrets but a question of netiquette. On the Mozilla
newsgroups (with the exception of the accessibility newsgroups),
bottom-posting (or inter-posting when replying to large, complex posts) is the
rule. Everyone should comply, no matter how long (s)he has been "designing
mail-related products".


Best regars,
Tony.
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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

hector-7
Worry about the product in hand and not my habits.

Thanks

---
HLS


"Tony Mechelynck" <[hidden email]> wrote in message

> hector wrote:
> [...]
>> Sorry, I'm been cyberspacing and designing mail related products for far
>> too long to have any regrets about how you feel whether I should top,
>> inline or bottom feed you.
>>
>> Thanks
>>
>> ---
>> HLS
> [...]
>
> It's not a question of regrets but a question of netiquette. On the
> Mozilla newsgroups (with the exception of the accessibility newsgroups),
> bottom-posting (or inter-posting when replying to large, complex posts) is
> the rule. Everyone should comply, no matter how long (s)he has been
> "designing mail-related products".
>
>
> Best regars,
> Tony.


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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

hector-7
In reply to this post by Mike Cowperthwaite-2

"Mike Cowperthwaite" <[hidden email]> wrote in message

> I tried searching the Networking:SMTP component, for "501" OR "block" OR
> "state", but didn't locate anything.  "error" had a few matches but none
> that sounded like this one.  I'd just open a new bug, if I were you; feel
> free to add   [hidden email]   to the CC list.

The new bug #360118 was added.  I hope it was done to yours or bugzilla
standards. :-)

Thanks

--
Hector Santos, CTO
http://www.santronics.com
Wildcat! Internet Net Server
Wildcat! Sender Authentication Protocol (WCSAP)




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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

Tony Mechelynck
In reply to this post by hector-7
ROMANS
THE
AS
DO
ROME
IN

hector wrote:
> Worry about the product in hand and not my habits.
>
> Thanks
>
> ---
> HLS
>
>
> "Tony Mechelynck" <[hidden email]> wrote in message
[...]
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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

Leonidas Jones
Tony Mechelynck wrote:
> ROMANS
> THE
> AS
> DO
> ROME
> IN
/snip/
Tony, can I steal that??

Lee
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Re: Thunderbird violates SMTP protocol

Tony Mechelynck
Leonidas Jones wrote:

> Tony Mechelynck wrote:
>> ROMANS
>> THE
>> AS
>> DO
>> ROME
>> IN
> /snip/
> Tony, can I steal that??
>
> Lee

Go ahead, I stole it from someone else, and I don't even remember who.


Best regards,
Tony.
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