Mailing List Archive

Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1?
Dear all,

We upgraded our mail gateways from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS ro 18.04 LTS, and thus
their Exim from 4.86.2 to 4.90.1. Since then I'm seeing two problems,
possibly related…

On receiving email from the outside world I now use cutthrough delivery to
certain onsite systems. Exim was also defaulting to the recently introduced
chunking (which I've now turned off to see if that helps).

Does anyone know anything about either of the following problems that I'm
seeing?

===============================================

*1) "failed to unlink" errors in paniclog*
I'm seeing a handful of errors going into paniclog each day of the form:

2018-09-25 16:19:03.201 [10343] 1g4p73-0002gf-1a failed to unlink
/var/spool/exim4//msglog/3/1g4p73-0002gf-1a: No such file or directory


Using exigrep to search the logs for each Exim id (eg, 1g4p73-0002gf-1a) I
find that cutthrough seems to be involved each time, with log entries like
this:

2018-09-25 15:57:00.362 [7341] 1g4olV-0001uP-GZ >> REDACTED@REDACTED.
york.ac.uk F=<gear.groupons@nodetaisthanks.com> R=transmit_to_routed_server
T=remote_smtp S=34088 H=REDACTED.york.ac.uk [144.32.NNN.NNN]:25 PRX=[]:0
I=[144.32.129.29]:56292 X=TLS1.2:ECDHE_RSA_AES_256_GCM_SHA384:256 CV=no
C="250 OK id=1g4olV-000Dm7-GW" QT=18s DT=0.000s
2018-09-25 15:57:00.364 [7341] 1g4olV-0001uP-GZ <=
gear.groupons@nodetaisthanks.com H=fantastic.nodetaisthanks.com
[67.214.168.46]:34387 I=[144.32.128.183]:25 P=esmtp S=33525 M8S=8 id=
uXvKvp-VkbSHl-KR6oLE8s-ayBVWLE2kv@fantastic.nodetaisthanks.com
T="=?UTF-8?B?TGltaXRlZCB0aW1lIG9uIGZyZWUgbWlsaXRhcnkgZ3JhZGUgdGFjIGZsYXNobGlnaHRz?="
from <gear.groupons@nodetaisthanks.com> for REDACTED@REDACTED.york.ac.uk
2018-09-25 15:57:00.364 [7341] 1g4olV-0001uP-GZ Completed

+++ 1g4olV-0001uP-GZ has not completed +++
2018-09-25 15:57:06.583 [7383] 1g4olV-0001uP-GZ =>
REDACTED@REDACTED.york.ac.uk F=<gear.groupons@nodetaisthanks.com> P=<
gear.groupons@nodetaisthanks.com> R=transmit_to_routed_server T=remote_smtp
S=34079 H=REDACTED.york.ac.uk [144.32.NNN.NNN]:25 PRX=[]:0
I=[144.32.129.29]:56304 X=TLS1.2:ECDHE_RSA_AES_256_GCM_SHA384:256 CV=yes K
C="250- 33335 byte chunk, total 34079\\n250 OK id=1g4oln-000DmW-NR" QT=25s
DT=6s
2018-09-25 15:57:06.583 [7383] 1g4olV-0001uP-GZ failed to unlink
/var/spool/exim4//msglog/V/1g4olV-0001uP-GZ: No such file or directory

I saw this same problem with a previous release of Exim and disabled
cutthrough as it had issues in that release. However I thought this problem
had been addressed since then.

It doesn't seem to have been improved by my turning off chunking (see
below) so I'm guessing it's still related to cutthrough in some way. But
surely I'm not the only one to be seeing this issue?

===============================================

*2) Remote MTA doesn't get SMTP acknowledgements back*
I also have a report from someone that their remote mail server is
transmitting a message to Exim on our gateways but not getting the final
SMTP acknowledgement back indicating message acceptance.

According to my logs here we accepted the message into our queues (not
using cutthrough) and relayed it onwards. However the report says that the
remote mail server (also running Exim I believe) reports:

2018-09-23 15:23:17 1g44HA-000OKU-QT H=mta.york.ac.uk [144.32.128.183]:
SMTP timeout after pipelined end of data (2052 bytes written): Operation
timed out
2018-09-23 15:23:17 1g44HA-000OKU-QT == REDACTED@REDACTED.org.uk
R=dnslookup T=remote_smtp defer (60): Operation timed out H=mta.york.ac.uk
[144.32.128.183]: SMTP timeout after pipelined end of data (2052 bytes
written)

The only difference I can think of is that Exim 4.90.1 now uses chunking,
and the logs show this was used for the message. I can see other examples
in the logs of a small number of messages from other senders/systems also
suffering the same fate: being sent to us several times because of retries.

I've turned off chucking temporarily to see if that improves/changes
things, and have asked our user who reported the issue to test again.

===============================================

With many thanks,
Mike B-)

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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
A little more information gleaned from the logs here…

I'm only seeing the "failed to unlink" errors in paniclog on our gateways
which receive email from the outside world. It's only these that use
cutthrough at all, so it seems to be linked to that.

I can see from the logs that we were receiving messages using chunking into
all the gateways: those handling mail arriving from the outside world, and
also the ones handling locally created emails. I've not had any reports of
problematic deliveries from these yet, but they might not show as they'd
likely be going to Gmail which de-duplicates multiple copies of the same
message with the same Message-ID.

Is cutthrough still not ready for primetime use?
Any ideas why a remote server might be seeing an SMTP timeout instead of
the acknowlegement return code?

Cheers,
Mike B-)


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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
On 9/25/18 5:15 PM, Mike Brudenell via Exim-users wrote:
> 2018-09-25 15:57:00.362 [7341] 1g4olV-0001uP-GZ >> REDACTED@REDACTED.
> york.ac.uk F=<gear.groupons@nodetaisthanks.com> R=transmit_to_routed_server
> T=remote_smtp S=34088 H=REDACTED.york.ac.uk [144.32.NNN.NNN]:25 PRX=[]:0
> I=[144.32.129.29]:56292 X=TLS1.2:ECDHE_RSA_AES_256_GCM_SHA384:256 CV=no
> C="250 OK id=1g4olV-000Dm7-GW" QT=18s DT=0.000s

That proxy address is worrying, for a start. Unrelated to the
issue you're talking about though.

> 2018-09-25 15:57:00.364 [7341] 1g4olV-0001uP-GZ <=
> gear.groupons@nodetaisthanks.com H=fantastic.nodetaisthanks.com
> [67.214.168.46]:34387 I=[144.32.128.183]:25 P=esmtp S=33525 M8S=8 id=
> uXvKvp-VkbSHl-KR6oLE8s-ayBVWLE2kv@fantastic.nodetaisthanks.com
> T="=?UTF-8?B?TGltaXRlZCB0aW1lIG9uIGZyZWUgbWlsaXRhcnkgZ3JhZGUgdGFjIGZsYXNobGlnaHRz?="
> from <gear.groupons@nodetaisthanks.com> for REDACTED@REDACTED.york.ac.uk
> 2018-09-25 15:57:00.364 [7341] 1g4olV-0001uP-GZ Completed
>
> +++ 1g4olV-0001uP-GZ has not completed +++
> 2018-09-25 15:57:06.583 [7383] 1g4olV-0001uP-GZ =>
> REDACTED@REDACTED.york.ac.uk F=<gear.groupons@nodetaisthanks.com> P=<
> gear.groupons@nodetaisthanks.com> R=transmit_to_routed_server T=remote_smtp
> S=34079 H=REDACTED.york.ac.uk [144.32.NNN.NNN]:25 PRX=[]:0
> I=[144.32.129.29]:56304 X=TLS1.2:ECDHE_RSA_AES_256_GCM_SHA384:256 CV=yes K
> C="250- 33335 byte chunk, total 34079\\n250 OK id=1g4oln-000DmW-NR" QT=25s
> DT=6s
> 2018-09-25 15:57:06.583 [7383] 1g4olV-0001uP-GZ failed to unlink
> /var/spool/exim4//msglog/V/1g4olV-0001uP-GZ: No such file or directory

For the same id message to be delivered some six seconds later, and
with a logged delivery time of six seconds... hmm. Perhaps we have
a locking issue in the cutthrough path, such that other delivery
processes looking for work can pick up the spoolfile.
--
Cheers,
Jeremy

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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
On 9/25/18 5:15 PM, Mike Brudenell via Exim-users wrote:
> According to my logs here we accepted the message into our queues (not
> using cutthrough) and relayed it onwards. However the report says that the
> remote mail server (also running Exim I believe) reports:
>
> 2018-09-23 15:23:17 1g44HA-000OKU-QT H=mta.york.ac.uk [144.32.128.183]:
> SMTP timeout after pipelined end of data (2052 bytes written): Operation
> timed out
> 2018-09-23 15:23:17 1g44HA-000OKU-QT == REDACTED@REDACTED.org.uk
> R=dnslookup T=remote_smtp defer (60): Operation timed out H=mta.york.ac.uk
> [144.32.128.183]: SMTP timeout after pipelined end of data (2052 bytes
> written)

Could we see a matched pair of logs, his and yours, for such a message?
--
Thanks,
Jeremy


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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
Hi, Jeremy -

Proxies seem to have been introduced sometime between Exim 4.86.2 which we
were running before and 4.90.1 so I don't know it's significance. What does
it imply/in what way is it worrying? In case it's relevant, our mail
gateways sit behind an LVS load balancer so that incoming connections go to
that, which then uses ARP mangling to send traffic onward to a gateway in
the pool, with return traffic going direct to the client system. Could this
be causing Exim to see/log a proxy being used?

I'm trying to contact the user to get his OK to share the logs he sent in.
If he gives the OK would you mind me sending them direct to yourself
instead of the exim-users list? Or would you prefer them to go to the list
(in which case I'll need to also let him know they'll effectively be
publicly visible and I'll need to do some light redaction on them)?

Cheers,
Mike B-)

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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
On 9/26/18 10:24 AM, Mike Brudenell via Exim-users wrote:
> Proxies seem to have been introduced sometime between Exim 4.86.2 which we
> were running before and 4.90.1 so I don't know it's significance. What does
> it imply/in what way is it worrying?

It's a logging bug; on a quick investigation there's no functional
impact.

> I'm trying to contact the user to get his OK to share the logs he sent in.
> If he gives the OK would you mind me sending them direct to yourself
> instead of the exim-users list?

Yup, that'll be fine.
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Thanks,
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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
I've got the OK to share the anonymised logs with Jeremy and will try and
get them prepared and sent to him tomorrow.

The sad news is that I've had to give up on cutthrough_delivery and turn it
off. The problems we were seeing:

- Errors going to paniclog about failing to unlink msglog files
(although could be muted from nightly reports by changing
the E4BCD_PANICLOG_NOISE variable in etc/default/exim4 to a suitable
pattern);
- A variety of client systems suffering from "stuck" connections:
waiting for a response over the TCP/IP connection but not getting it, and
one end or the other eventually timing out;
- Duplicate deliveries when our Exim sometimes received enough of the
message to spool into the queue but the far end didn't get the SMTP
acknowledgement because the connection had "stuck", so held the message in
their queues to retry later;
- Unusually high numbers of active Exim processes as reported by exiwhat
and confirmed by high TCP/IP counts logged in mainlog (caused by the
"stuck" connections).

We believe we've confirmed that cutthrough_delivery is the cause:

- Checking historic connection counts show they started climbing within
a minute of enabling cutthrough. (Not noticed because our test messages all
went through. Sigh!)
- After disabling cutthrough today connection counts (reported by
exiwhat and logged in mainlog) immediately started returning to the normal
levels or just 1 or 2 at any given time. After 10 minutes (the timeout for
stuck jobs) all was back to blissful normality.

Cheers,
Mike B.
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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
Mike Brudenell via Exim-users <exim-users@exim.org> wrote:
[..]
> The sad news is that I've had to give up on cutthrough_delivery and turn it
> off. The problems we were seeing:
[...]
> - Duplicate deliveries when our Exim sometimes received enough of the
> message to spool into the queue but the far end didn't get the SMTP
> acknowledgement because the connection had "stuck", so held the message in
> their queues to retry later;

Sounds like this change in exim 4.91+fixes:

JH/05 Bug 2273: Cutthrough delivery left a window where the received messsage
files in the spool were present and unlocked. A queue-runner could spot
them, resulting in a duplicate delivery. Fix that by doing the unlock
after the unlink. Investigation by Tim Stewart.

cu Andreas


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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
Thanks, Andreas, but I think this is a different problem…

On my Exim I see either:

- the message is accepted into the queue then successfully delivered
onward and removed from my queue, but the sending MTA doesn't see the SMTP
2xx response so *it* retains the message in *its* queues, or
- the message does not arrive into my queue completely, with each end
sitting there waiting for something, before eventually one end times out
and the connection closes again leaving the message in the *far end's*
queue.

It's this first that's giving rise to duplicate transmissions from the far
MTA and deliveries, and the latter to repeated attempts to transmit the
message in to us and having it fail.

There must be something odd somewhere if others are using cutthrough
successfully, as these servers only relay a small amount of incoming mail
to a couple of local servers plus virtual host some legacy domains. It's
not exactly busy! Strange…

Cheers,
Mike B-)

On Wed, 26 Sep 2018 at 19:00, Andreas Metzler via Exim-users <
exim-users@exim.org> wrote:

> Mike Brudenell via Exim-users <exim-users@exim.org> wrote:
> [..]
> > The sad news is that I've had to give up on cutthrough_delivery and turn
> it
> > off. The problems we were seeing:
> [...]
> > - Duplicate deliveries when our Exim sometimes received enough of the
> > message to spool into the queue but the far end didn't get the SMTP
> > acknowledgement because the connection had "stuck", so held the
> message in
> > their queues to retry later;
>
> Sounds like this change in exim 4.91+fixes:
>
> JH/05 Bug 2273: Cutthrough delivery left a window where the received
> messsage
> files in the spool were present and unlocked. A queue-runner could
> spot
> them, resulting in a duplicate delivery. Fix that by doing the
> unlock
> after the unlink. Investigation by Tim Stewart.
>
> cu Andreas
>
>
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>


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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
On 9/27/18 9:59 AM, Mike Brudenell via Exim-users wrote:
> Thanks, Andreas, but I think this is a different problem…

But it does match the first problem you described, where you got
a duplicate delivery (and a msglog unlink error). The reporter
of it also saw the unlink error.

Does your Ubuntu version carry that fix Andreas noted?
It was cfbb0d24e8 in the Exim master branch; 56b566daa2
in exim 4.91+fixes, dated 2018/05/05.


[ Thanks, Andreas! ]

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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
Ah-ha! My apologies: I'd forgotten that was causing duplicate deliveries
too. (I've not had my first cup of coffee here yet!)

I'm not brilliant at checking whether a specific patch has been included
within a Ubuntu-distributed package…

- We're using Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS (bionic) with the
package exim4-daemon-heavy 4.90.1-1ubuntu1.
- The page at the Ubuntu packages site is here
<https://packages.ubuntu.com/bionic/exim4-daemon-heavy>.
- It has an onward link
<http://changelogs.ubuntu.com/changelogs/pool/main/e/exim4/exim4_4.90.1-1ubuntu1/changelog>
to their *Ubuntu Changes* page listing changes.

Sadly I get stuck there, not being able to figure out from that Change Log
whether the patch has been backported from 4.91 to 4.90.1 and applied or
not. I've tried downloading the source code from there but can't get it
unpacked; bring back straightforward .tar.gz files!

However I do see Andres' name many times in the Ubuntu package's Change
Log… :-)
Andreas, do you know if that patch has been backported/applied?

Cheers,
Mike B-)
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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
On 9/27/18 11:04 AM, Mike Brudenell via Exim-users wrote:
> <http://changelogs.ubuntu.com/changelogs/pool/main/e/exim4/exim4_4.90.1-1ubuntu1/changelog>
> to their *Ubuntu Changes* page listing changes.

From the dates, that runs up to mid-February. So, no - it seems
unlikely. Is that Ubuntu's most recent?
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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
On Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 11:04:46AM +0100, Mike Brudenell via Exim-users wrote:
> I'm not brilliant at checking whether a specific patch has been included
> within a Ubuntu-distributed package…
>
> - We're using Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS (bionic) with the
> package exim4-daemon-heavy 4.90.1-1ubuntu1.

On Debian/Ubuntu look into /usr/share/doc/exim4-base/changelog.gz.
As Andreas wrote, the patch was for 4.91+.
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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
I've managed to unpack the .xz archive files (Tip: just use GNU tar and it
recognises/unpacks it) for the source and patches and it doesn't appear to
have been applied. I'm not overly surprised as they'll have been working
towards the release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Long Term Stable) which happened
in April 2018.

However the next release of Ubuntu 18.10 (cosmic) will contain Exim 4.91
and checking its source code shows that patch has indeed been applied to it.

Sadly our current policy is to only use LTS releases of Ubuntu, so unless
this changes I guess I'm stuck with 18.04 LTS and the unpatched Exim 4.90.1
for the next 18 months: hence no cutthrough still. (I've just asked, and
our policy is unlikely to be changed. Hey-ho.)


On Thu, 27 Sep 2018 at 12:26, Evgeniy Berdnikov via Exim-users <
exim-users@exim.org> wrote:

> On Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 11:04:46AM +0100, Mike Brudenell via Exim-users
> wrote:
> > - We're using Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS (bionic) with the
> > package exim4-daemon-heavy 4.90.1-1ubuntu1.
>
> On Debian/Ubuntu look into /usr/share/doc/exim4-base/changelog.gz.
> As Andreas wrote, the patch was for 4.91+.


I'd noticed that, but Jeremy asked me to check the Ubuntu distribution of
the 4.90.1 we're using: I guess just in case it had been backported.

Cheers,
Mike B-)

On Thu, 27 Sep 2018 at 12:06, Jeremy Harris via Exim-users <
exim-users@exim.org> wrote:

> On 9/27/18 11:04 AM, Mike Brudenell via Exim-users wrote:
> > <
> http://changelogs.ubuntu.com/changelogs/pool/main/e/exim4/exim4_4.90.1-1ubuntu1/changelog
> >
> > to their *Ubuntu Changes* page listing changes.
>
> From the dates, that runs up to mid-February. So, no - it seems
> unlikely. Is that Ubuntu's most recent?
> --
> Cheers,
> Jeremy
>
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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
Jeremy Harris via Exim-users <exim-users@exim.org> wrote:
> On 9/27/18 9:59 AM, Mike Brudenell via Exim-users wrote:
>> Thanks, Andreas, but I think this is a different problem…

> But it does match the first problem you described, where you got
> a duplicate delivery (and a msglog unlink error). The reporter
> of it also saw the unlink error.

> Does your Ubuntu version carry that fix Andreas noted?
> It was cfbb0d24e8 in the Exim master branch; 56b566daa2
> in exim 4.91+fixes, dated 2018/05/05.

Hello,

it won't be included. Are you able run packages from Debian backports?

cu Andreas
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Re: Outstanding problems with Exim 4.90.1? [ In reply to ]
Hi, Andreas -

Technically: Yes (probably).
Politically: I'm going to talk it over with my boss later in the week.
I'll let the list know what the outcome is.

Many thanks,
Mike B-)

On Thu, 27 Sep 2018 at 18:18, Andreas Metzler via Exim-users <
exim-users@exim.org> wrote:

> Jeremy Harris via Exim-users <exim-users@exim.org> wrote:
> > On 9/27/18 9:59 AM, Mike Brudenell via Exim-users wrote:
> >> Thanks, Andreas, but I think this is a different problem…
>
> > But it does match the first problem you described, where you got
> > a duplicate delivery (and a msglog unlink error). The reporter
> > of it also saw the unlink error.
>
> > Does your Ubuntu version carry that fix Andreas noted?
> > It was cfbb0d24e8 in the Exim master branch; 56b566daa2
> > in exim 4.91+fixes, dated 2018/05/05.
>
> Hello,
>
> it won't be included. Are you able run packages from Debian backports?
>
> cu Andreas
> --
> `What a good friend you are to him, Dr. Maturin. His other friends are
> so grateful to you.'
> `I sew his ears on from time to time, sure'
>
>
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