More of the same?

2012-02-24

Demonic mail breakage

Filed under: FAIL, Miscellaneous — Tags: , , , , , , , , — _ds_ @ 20:05

From the Demon Internet blog:

We recently told you that we’ll be migrating customers with Demon email services to a brand new, Microsoft Exchange based email platform. That time is almost here!

It is important that you regularly check the Demon Blog, the Demon Forum and the Demon Knowledgebase as we will use these to post the latest information about how the migration is going and how it may affect you.

Shortly we will be sending you important information that will enable you to migrate your email service. To ensure that you receive this information it’s essential that you can accept email to your Demon Postmaster email address (postmaster@yourhostname.demon.co.uk), as this is the address we will use to communicate important information such as your login details and migration date.

For the record, Demon’s current mail system has a rather unique extension in that you can collect all mail for your domain (domain) via POP3 but with envelope information intact. You can also collect for a specific local part (user+domain), again via POP3. In the absence of SMTP delivery (which I’d prefer), this is Quite Useful.

Problem is that they’re planning to break this useful working setup with an off-the-shelf Exchange system. Which requires that local parts are registered, else it ends up in ‘administrator’ and, it seems, without envelope information so that it can not be properly delivered.

There’s been a lot of debate in the demon.announce newsgroup about this.

I’ve responded to it as follows. I’m reproducing the text here, initially in case it was moderated away; and it has been.

No. DO NOT WANT.

I sometimes use finger to see what mail’s waiting.

I use arbitrary local parts in my email addresses. If I add a new one, then adding it to /etc/aliases should be sufficient – and, indeed, currently is. This is good. It’s simple, it works, why break it by requiring registration of local parts for which you want envelope information to be kept? For a start, it requires information to be kept in at least two places, and in different formats. (And if the registration page doesn’t work in a text-only browser and requires access via my Demon account, then it isn’t always going to be POSSIBLE to register a new local part when I create it.)

The corollary of this is that envelope information for ‘unregistered’ email addresses will be thrown away. This is just plain broken.

The current email setup is fine. It works. It does what I want. It’s part of the service FOR WHICH I’M PAYING.

The new one, from what I’ve read, doesn’t.

… with a followup, because another point was made in demon.service:

Also, what’s up with posting to demon.announce and/or demon.service? There are a good few of us who read these newsgroups.

And I wasn’t really aware of this ‘blog until I caught up with reading demon.service, and I’m unlikely to check what I’m unaware of (or, for that matter, go out of my way to read something in some place when there’s been a good method of communicating with us there for YEARS).

(Incidentally, the text box in which I’m typing this is too wide: part of it is obscured by the right-hand column of this page.)

They’re now advertising it as an improvement. I’m thinking about migrating to some other ISP – preferably one which still has some clue.

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