Change to Mail Infrastructure - SPF and DKIM verification will now be enforced

Ben Cooksley bcooksley at
Wed Dec 9 09:54:05 GMT 2015

On Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 4:37 AM, Jan Kundrát <jkt at> wrote:
> On Tuesday, 8 December 2015 16:09:43 CET, Nicolás Alvarez wrote:
>> It is irrelevant what our personal preference about doing modifications to
>> messages is (like the tag in the subject). The fact of life is that there
>> *are* mail providers out there (like Yahoo) which are already enforcing
>> DMARC and may reject messages with such DKIM-breaking modifications, and
>> these mail providers won't change their config to accommodate us.
> Nicely said. Yes, there are providers such as Yahoo, AOL, and nobody else :)
> who decided to break a long-working infrastructure. The question is whether
> we want to join this club.

What you're basically saying is - you don't care about potential
contributors who use these service providers.

I'm afraid that's unacceptable. A chunk of our users certainly do use
them, and i'm sure we'd like them to be able to interact with our

> Should we start enforcing the same rules that Yahoo is enforcing? (Ben
> didn't say what SPF and DKIM rules he's planning to publish for,
> btw.) Do we have many Yahoo/AOL users among our developers?

The domain owner is actually the one that sets the policy under DMARC.
All we'd be doing is following their wishes.
I haven't said anything, because I don't plan to change our own
policies at this time.

> Should we start publishing rules which effectively instruct others to
> discard all e-mails from once they go through a non-DMARC mailing
> list?
> Should we discard e-mails which are intended for our developers because they
> went through a non-DMARC mailing list?

>From the server's point of view, these messages could also be
forgeries, containing spam, phishing attacks, or otherwise attempting
to misrepresent the sender.
If the domain owner has stated the message should have a valid
signature, we'd be right to follow what they've requested.

> My answer to these two questions is "no" and "no", obviously. I don't know
> how else to say this -- Debian is not exactly a small open source project,
> and their sysadmins apparently haven't cared about DKIM so far. It's a

DKIM has been around for an extremely long time.
It means they've not worked on improving their email deliverability.

> technology which requires Everybody Else™ to perform extra work and to
> configure new services on the servers which host various mailing lists. Are

Configuration of new services is not required, as noted in my earlier mail.

> we seriously trying to push an unspecified number of third-party ML
> providers to deploy DKIM because Ben decided that it's worth the effort?

Nice to demonise me here.

The mailing list hosts don't have to deploy DKIM. All they have to do
is not break signatures on mails bearing a DKIM signature.
Which, as I noted in my email is something that only requires a few
toggles within the Mailman administration interface.
(And, using the withlist tool can be changed on all lists on an entire
server with relative ease). This is what Debian has chosen to do.

> Seriously, the Internet just doesn't work this way. Even if Debian's
> ifnrastructure is changed, there is still a number of mailing lists which
> have worked well in the past years, and now they will stop working for
> accounts.
> Cheers,
> Jan


> --
> Trojitá, a fast Qt IMAP e-mail client --

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