Wed, 29 Dec 2010

Two Dumb Things Microsoft should Answer For


We offer both anti-spam software and a hosted anti-spam service. One of the features of our software and service is the ability to do a little SMTP callout to verify recipients. That is, before our server accepts a RCPT command, we run a mini-session against the real mail server to see if it would accept the RCPT command. This helps reduce backscatter and avoid useless scanning of messages to nonexistent recipients.

It works really well, except that Microsoft Exchange, by default, does not reject invalid RCPT commands. Futhermore, most Exchange admins only hazily grasp SMTP and the control to enable RCPT-time checking is complex and annoying.

The second dumb thing Microsoft should answer for is the recommendation to use fake names for hosts. Yes, you heard me right. (The previously-referenced page has one of the finest examples of gobbledegook I've seen in ages: This method requires additional configuration to enable optimized performance.)

So we have customers who own perfectly good domain names, yet name their machines host.local. Or host.lan. Or host.wookie.quux.zub.snoo.corp. WTF??

Naturally, these host names are hardly ever resolvable in the DNS, which causes all kinds of troubles. And again, Microsoft administrators tend to have at best a hazy notion of Internet standards, so we have to patiently explain the folly of this naming convention over and over again...

Thanks a bunch, Microsoft.

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