Smaug files?


#1

Ok, I know (or have guessed) that Smaug is the name of a fictional dragon and the name of the dreamhost mail server – but what those “smaug files” that keep showing up in my mail dir file?


#2

The maildir spec indicates that a machine’s unique hostname should be used in the filename of each message in a Maildir (in Maildir format, each message is an individual file). Don’t muck around in your Maildir unless you have to, or unless you know what you’re doing. Each of those files is an email message.

For more information on Maildir:
http://cr.yp.to/proto/maildir.html

Our clusters of mail servers have groups of similar names; the one you’re in has machines named after Lord of the Rings characters, I believe (not my doing!) - (smaug, smeagol, gollum, frodo); another group of machines is named after characters from the Labyrinth (dydimus, hoggle, jareth, ludo, sara*, willum). The third are synonyms for “sack” (sack, plunder, pillage, loot)**, and the last group are utensils (knife, spork).

There you go - way more than you wanted to know. :>

  • That should be spelled “Sarah”, but that ended up causing a conflict with an existing subdomain.
    ** Where this came from is a long story that’s probably not appropriate for this forum.

#3

Thanks for the info. I suspected as much but was unsure. In the past, I have opened some of these files and found them to be misaddressed email. With few exceptions, they were spam (madeupname@mydomain, etc) , but once in a blue moon, they were legitmate emails wherein the sender mistyped my name. What concerned me was that this spam was building up in the folder.

During one of the email virus outbreaks (mydoom, i believe) as many as 93 of these smaug and gollum files cluttered up my mail dir. Deleting them seemed a natural action.

I was also concerned that someone might somehow being using my site as a launch point for sending spam to others.

Bottomline – is it safe to delete these gollum and smaug files? or am I mucking up my mail file?

Thanks!


#4

They are mail files.

And it depends… if you want any mail that’s directed to that user, don’t delete them. If you don’t, then knock yourself out. If you’re not using that username for mail at all, probably not a big deal.

Other things that may come to this user would be cron related messages, other messages from the system itself, bounces from any mail you might be sending from a CGI script, assuming you’re not setting the envelope-sender properly. For all of these reasons, I think it’s a good idea to check mail occasionally for your main username one way or another…

Personally, I would suggest opening them in a mail client (webmail, Pine; preferably not Outlook Express or other insecure clients if you’re going to be looking at spam and viruses), and then deleting the ones you don’t want.

So probably you have the DH default “catchall” alias going to your main user (on one or more domains). Disable the catchall(s). This should solve the problem. We plan on removing the default catchall soon (since we definitely don’t encourage people to set one up unless it’s absolutely necessary).

Probably not the problem in this case (for one thing, there would be a lot more messages).


#5

[quote]We plan on removing the default catchall soon
[/quote]

But I’m happily using the catchall on my domain. Do you plan to disable that it’s turned on by default, or disable the functionality altogether?
(I don’t know how you guys make those cool quotations…)


TorbenGB


#6

[quote]>We plan on removing the default catchall soon

But I’m happily using the catchall on my domain. Do you plan to disable that it’s turned on by default, or disable the functionality altogether?[/quote]
No - we’d just disable it being on by default for new domains.

I’m confused though - how is misaddressed mail going to one mailbox when you have a catchall pointing to another?

Like [ quote ] and [ / quote ] only without spaces.


#7

[quote]Our clusters of mail servers have groups of similar names; the
one you’re in has machines named after Lord of the Rings
characters,

[/quote]

Just being pedantic (and off-topic!), here: Smaug was actually in The Hobbit, not LOTR. He’s the nasty dragon with a penchant for gold near the end of the book.

If you ever watch the Peter Jackson LOTR films, he makes a cameo appearance in the form of a fireworks display at the beginning of the first film.

  • Jeff @ DreamHost
  • DH Discussion Forum Admin

#8

I suppose Pilgrimcowboy has a different story, but on my domain, the catchall works fine. No complaints whatsoever.


TorbenGB