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From j...@apache.org
Subject [jira] Commented: (JAMES-281) Return-Path twice in header
Date Thu, 06 May 2004 15:10:56 GMT
The following comment has been added to this issue:

     Author: Hes Siemelink
    Created: Thu, 6 May 2004 8:09 AM
Here is Danny Angus's original response to this issue:



The following extracts from the RFC's[1][2] indicate that a return path should only contain
a single address, which MUST be enclosed in angle brackets eg <server-user@james.apache.org>

Your test case is non-comformant with the spec on two counts,
a) more than one Return-path header
b) no angle brackets around the address specification

Now I agree that james' current behaviour isn't compliant or much use in this situation, but
would also contend that James should not make any decision about which is the "right" header
to use, however arbitrary.

I would therfore propose that in this case James either ignore all the return-path headers
and relay the mail untouched, or that James remove all the return-path headers and replace
with one created from the envelope sender.

IMHO no other action is both compliant and reasonable.


[1]From RFC2821:

 A message-originating SMTP system SHOULD NOT send a message that
   already contains a Return-path header.  SMTP servers performing a
   relay function MUST NOT inspect the message data, and especially not
   to the extent needed to determine if Return-path headers are present.
   SMTP servers making final delivery MAY remove Return-path headers
   before adding their own.

   The primary purpose of the Return-path is to designate the address to
   which messages indicating non-delivery or other mail system failures
   are to be sent.  For this to be unambiguous, exactly one return path
   SHOULD be present when the message is delivered.  Systems using RFC
   822 syntax with non-SMTP transports SHOULD designate an unambiguous
   address, associated with the transport envelope, to which error
   reports (e.g., non-delivery messages) should be sent.

[2]From RFC 2822

return          =       "Return-Path:" path CRLF

path            =       ([CFWS] "<" ([CFWS] / addr-spec) ">" [CFWS]) /

addr-spec       =       local-part "@" domain


[Additional comment from Hes]

The behavior is the same when adding brackets to the email addresses. 

I agree with Danny that a more sensible action should be taken. I prefer that the mail should
not be touched, since I have configured James as a relay server and according to the RFC 2821
the headers, faulty as they are, should not be touched.
View this comment:

View the issue:

Here is an overview of the issue:
        Key: JAMES-281
    Summary: Return-Path twice in header
       Type: Bug

     Status: Unassigned
   Priority: Minor

    Project: James

   Reporter: Hes Siemelink

    Created: Thu, 6 May 2004 8:03 AM
    Updated: Thu, 6 May 2004 8:09 AM


I posted about this problem a while ago on the list. I see that James 2.2.0RC2 still contains
this issue so I've taken the liverty of creating a Jira entry.

We experienced some unexpected behavior with James 2.1.3 when sending a message that has two
Return-Path headers.

An example of such a message:

    Return-Path: testuser@example.com
    From: "Brinkers" <testuser@example.com>
    To: <testuser@example.com>
    Subject: Return-Path mail
    Return-Path: another_testuser@example.com
    Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2003 22:36:33 -0500


James transforms this into something like

    Content-Type: text/plain;
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
    content-class: urn:content-classes:message
    Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 12:02:16 +0100

    Received: from vallum.intra.izecom.com ([])
              by uffizi.intra.izecom.com (JAMES SMTP Server 2.1.3) with SMTP
    ID 302
              for <hes@secure.izemail.com>;
              Thu, 15 Jan 2004 12:02:19 +0100 (CET)
    From: "Brinkers" <testuser@example.com>
    To: <testuser@example.com>
    Subject: Test Mail
    Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2003 22:36:33 -0500


It seems that new headers are created and the original headers start with after a blank line,
causing them to be interpreted as a message body.

In Outlook, this is displayed as a message without Subject or From field, where the message
body starts with the 'another_testuser@example.com' followed by the original headers.

Now putting the Return-Path twice in your headers is probably not a good idea, but we do happen
to have some emails that have that in our test set and would like to process them in a reasonable

So we investigated the James source code trying to find the cause for this unexpected behavior.

In org.apache.james.smtpserver.SMTPHandler in the method
processMailHeaders() we found the following call to retrieve the Return-Path header.

        // Determine the Return-Path
        String returnPath =

This roughly means "Give me all Return-Path headers separated by line breaks.". Later on,
this returnPath String is put on top of all headers.
We deduced that if there is more than one Return-Path header, this will result in something

    Return-Path: testuser@example.com
    From: "Brinkers" <testuser@example.com>
    To: <testuser@example.com>
    Subject: Return-Path mail
    Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2003 22:36:33 -0500


where that the second line ('another_testuser@example.com') is interpreted as the start of
the message body later on, causing new headers to be invented and the old headers to dispappear
on the message body.

We changed the call to get the getHeader() in processMailHeaders() to pass a null argument:

        // Determine the Return-Path
        String returnPath =
headers.getHeader(RFC2822Headers.RETURN_PATH, null);

which roughly means "Give only one Return-Path header".

After recompiling and deploying James, our test mails passed James correctly.

We would appreciate it if this fix, or a similar one, could be included in the next James

Thank you

    Hes Siemelink
    Izecom BV

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