Fetchmail 6.3.5 review

by rbytes.net on

Fetchmail is a full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mail retrieval and forwarding utility intended to be used over on-demand

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 0K
Developer: Eric S. Raymond
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Fetchmail is a full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mail retrieval and forwarding utility intended to be used over on-demand TCP/IP links (such as SLIP or PPP connections). Fetchmail supports every remote-mail protocol now in use on the Internet: POP2, POP3, RPOP, APOP, KPOP, all flavors of IMAP, ETRN, and ODMR. It can even support IPv6 and IPSEC.

Fetchmail retrieves mail from remote mail servers and forwards it via SMTP, so it can then be read by normal mail user agents such as mutt, elm(1) or BSD Mail. It allows all your system MTA's filtering, forwarding, and aliasing facilities to work just as they would on normal mail.

Fetchmail offers better security than any other Unix remote-mail client. It supports APOP, KPOP, OTP, Compuserve RPA, Microsoft NTLM, and IMAP RFC1731 encrypted authentication methods including CRAM-MD5 to avoid sending passwords en clair. It can be configured to support end-to-end encryption via tunneling with ssh, the Secure Shell.

Fetchmail can be used as a POP/IMAP-to-SMTP gateway for an entire DNS domain, collecting mail from a single drop box on an ISP and SMTP-forwarding it based on header addresses. (We don't really recommend this, though, as it may lose important envelope-header information. ETRN or a UUCP connection is better.)

Fetchmail can be started automatically and silently as a system daemon at boot time. When running in this mode with a short poll interval, it is pretty hard for anyone to tell that the incoming mail link is not a full-time "push" connection.

Fetchmail is easy to configure. You can edit its dotfile directly, or use the interactive GUI configurator (fetchmailconf) supplied with the fetchmail distribution. It is also directly supported in linuxconf versions 1.16r8 and later.

Fetchmail is fast and lightweight. It packs all its standard features (POP3, IMAP, and ETRN support) in 196K of core on a Pentium under Linux.

Fetchmail is open-source software. The openness of the sources is your strongest possible assurance of quality and reliability.

Here are some key features of "fetchmail":
STARTTLS is supported in both POP and IMAP.
ESMTP AUTH (RFC 2554) is supported.
Has the capability of adding trace information to the Received header to faciliate mail filtering by mailserver and remote account.
Fetchmail now has options to handle SSL certificate validation.
Fetchmail can be told to fall back to delivering via local sendmail if it can't open port 25.
Support for AUTH=CRAM-MD5 under POP3, a la RFC2195.
Support for ODMR (On-Demand Mail Relay), RFC 2645.
It's now easy to deliver mail to a local LMTP socket.
The interface option now checks both local and remote interface IPs.
The plugin facility has been enhanced; %h and %p options are now available to pass in the hostname and service port number.
Added a dropdelivered option to discard Delivered-To headers. This addresses a problem with using fetchmail and postfix as a relay inside a domain; when postfix sees incoming messages with delivered-to headers looking exactly the same as the ones it adds himself, it bounces the message.
Added --smtpname to set username and domain portion of SMTP "RCPT TO" command. Added "from" server's IP address to inserted Received line.
Fetchmail now runs on BeOS, thanks to David Reid .
In IMAP, unseen-message counting and indexing is now done by SEARCH UNSEEN at the beginning of each poll or re-poll (rather than with the UNSEEN and RECENT responses and FLAGS queries on individual messages). This significantly cuts down on traffic to and from the server, and gives more reliable results.
The aka option now matches hostname suffixes, so (for example) saying `aka netaxs.com' will match not just netaxs.com but also (say) pop3.netaxs.com and mail.netaxs.com.
Fetchmail can optionally use the RFC 2177 IDLE extension on an IMAP server that supports it. On IMAP servers that don't, it can simulate it using periodic NOOP commands.
Fetchmail now recognizes the RFC 2449 extended responses [IN-USE] and [LOGIN-DELAY].
Fetchmail running in daemon mode now restarts itself quietly when the rc file is touched.
Following recent court decisions and changes in U.S. federal regulatory policy, hooks for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) are now part of the main fetchmail distribution. The distribution still contains no actual cryptographic code.
NTLM support under IMAP, so fetchmail can query Microsoft Exchange servers.
Expunge option can now be used to break POP3 retrieval into subsessions.
Support for AUTH=CRAM-MD5 under IMAP, a la RFC2195.

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