Forwarding emails using fetchmail and msmtp

My goal here was to forward emails from my GMX freemail account to my iCloud account. Up until now, I used GMX’s own forwarding capability, which is a bit hidden in the filters settings. However, iCloud cranked up its spam filtering, and is now using spamhaus blacklists, which very often label the GMX forwarding servers as bad.

Hence I would only get bounce mails instead of the actual mails. Since this is no good, I set up fetchmail and msmtp on my root server to do the forwarding for me. First, fetchmail will get all mail on GMX via POP3 and pass it on to msmtp, which will in turn pass it on to the iCloud mx server.

At first I tried to deliver it via authenticated SMTP, but iCloud refuses mails sent this way, if the header from field does not contain any of your own iCloud aliases. This will most of the time be a problem, since we are trying to forward emails that were sent to you, not sent from you.

So first let’s see the ~/.fetchmailrc (make sure to chmod 0600 it):

with proto POP3
user ""
there with password "secretpassword"
mda "/usr/bin/msmtp --"
no keep
sslcertpath /etc/ssl/certs
set daemon 300

This will poll GMX every 300 seconds and pass the received mails to msmtp for delivery to

The corresponding ~/.msmtprc looks like this:

account default
port 25
auto_from off
from "user@localdomain"
tls on
tls_starttls on
tls_trust_file /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt
logfile ~/.msmtp.log
domain mx.of.localdomain

You can find out the valid mx entries for iCloud by running nslookup -type=mx

The settings above are assuming Debian stable. Other distributions or operating systems may have the SSL certs at different places in the file system.

How to make the mpdas run as a daemon

The other day I installed the mpdas, which is the audio scrobbler for the music player daemon. Since there’s no debian package for the Raspberry Pi, I compiled mpdas from scratch and installed it. Now I don’t want to run it manually each time the Raspberry Pi boots up. So I found a nice template for writing your own debian-style init-script. I changed it a little and also installed the daemon tool, to turn the interactive mpdas program into a daemon. Just run apt-get install daemon to install it. Then put the following file under /etc/init.d/mpdas and run update-rc.d mpdas defaults. Then mpdas will be run automatically upon boot. Oh, one more thing: put your mpdas configuration under /usr/local/etc/mpdasrc or adjust the DAEMONOPTS in the init script accordingly.

# Provides: mpdas
# Required-Start: $remote_fs $syslog $mpd
# Required-Stop: $remote_fs $syslog
# Default-Start: 2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop: 0 1 6
# X-Interactive: true
# Short-Description: Audio Scrobbler for mpd
# Description: Starts the Audio Scrobbler for the mpd music player daemon.


DAEMONOPTS="-u pi -r -X /usr/local/bin/mpdas"

DESC="The mpdas audio scrobbler for mpd"

case "$1" in
printf "%-50s" "Starting $NAME..."
PID=`$DAEMON $DAEMONOPTS > /dev/null 2>&1 & echo $!`
#echo "Saving PID" $PID " to " $PIDFILE
if [ -z $PID ]; then
printf "%sn" "Fail"
echo $PID > $PIDFILE
printf "%sn" "Ok"
printf "%-50s" "Checking $NAME..."
if [ -f $PIDFILE ]; then
if [ -z "`ps axf | grep ${PID} | grep -v grep`" ]; then
printf "%sn" "Process dead but pidfile exists"
echo "Running"
printf "%sn" "Service not running"
printf "%-50s" "Stopping $NAME"
if [ -f $PIDFILE ]; then
kill -HUP $PID
printf "%sn" "Ok"
rm -f $PIDFILE
printf "%sn" "pidfile not found"

$0 stop
$0 start

echo "Usage: $0 {status|start|stop|restart}"
exit 1

Yellow pages when printing with Debian?

We had the problem of yellow tinted printouts on our Debian Testing machines. With my OS X machine, I did not have this problem, although both system use CUPS 1.4.3 for printing. It seems that Ghostscript was the culprit. The pstopdf filter to be exact. This bug report in the Debian bug tracker describes the exact same problem. The idea is to comment out the “-dUseCIEColor” option. I am not sure in how far this will also change the colour reproduction, but since our systems are not colour calibrated anyhow, I think this will not matter.

Automatic security updates for Debian

I was wondering how to configure automatic security updates for Debian. Especially for Debian stable, which I am running. Turns out it’s easy. First, you just install cron-apt. Second, you can configure it by editing /etc/cron-apt/config. I learned from some other blog, that setting one variable helps in getting actually emails for the upgrades, namely setting MAILON=”upgrade” in this file does the trick. And lastly, there is a directory /etc/cron-apt/action.d, which contains all the actions that cron-apt will execute. In there is a file named 3-download, which I changed to look as follows:

autoclean -y
upgrade -y -o APT::Get::Show-Upgraded=true
The second line is changed from “dist-upgrade -d …”, because you don’t want any automatic dist-upgrades. That might leave your server in a horrible state. Also, instead of only downloading (-d), you want it to install the upgrades as well. That’s all and should help you keep up with security patches more easily.
Update: The updates seem to work fine! Tonight I got the first email that notified me of a successful security update.