How to solve "Deferred: Invalid argument" problems in sendmail (bounces bouncing)
Posted on 2004-10-27
I have a constant large number of items in my sendmail queue, most of them containing "Deferred: Invalid argument" in the "q" file.
I know most of these should be deliverable, but it seems sendmail is somehow sending something stupid to the receiving server (if it's even trying that at all) or something else, because these sit here for 5 days then hit my "postmaster" address.
It seems the majority of these emails are bounces.
In other words - my mail server is having problems delivering some bounces, so they sit for 5 days and then bounce into my postmaster account.
I notice that they all have a strange line: H?P?Return-Path: <g>
In case you can't see it - there's a strange character before the "g" (in "vi" it shows up as <<81>g>). This may or may not be a problem? I've no idea where it came from.
Below is an example file (domain names have been changed to protect against spam, but otherwise it's unedited). The RPF line is a valid email address (well, it was before I obscured it to protect against spam). It happens to be my own address, on a different server running the same version of sendmail as the server having the problem sending it.
Any help, clues, hints, advice, or anything you can provide would be most welcome!!!
[root@my mqueue]# pwd
[root@my mqueue]# grep -l "Deferred: Invalid argument" * |wc
39 39 663
[root@my mqueue]# dir *fi9PMqwvt019196
-rw------- 1 root smmsp 1414 Oct 25 23:59 dfi9PMqwvt019196
-rw------- 1 root smmsp 896 Oct 27 08:42 qfi9PMqwvt019196
[root@my mqueue]# cat qfi9PMqwvt019196
MDeferred: Invalid argument
MDeferred: Invalid argument
H??Received: from localhost (localhost)
by otherdomain.com (8.12.10/8.12.10) id i9PMqwvt019196;
Mon, 25 Oct 2004 23:59:17 GMT
H?D?Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 23:59:17 GMT
H?F?From: Mail Delivery Subsystem <MAILER-DAEMON@maindomain.com>
H?x?Full-Name: Mail Delivery Subsystem
H??Content-Type: multipart/report; report-type=delivery-status;
H??Subject: Postmaster notify: see transcript for details
H??Auto-Submitted: auto-generated (postmaster-notification)
[root@my mqueue]# cat dfi9PMqwvt019196
This is a MIME-encapsulated message
The original message was received at Wed, 20 Oct 2004 23:13:02 GMT
with id i9KMWfDp019382
----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
----- Transcript of session follows -----
<firstname.lastname@example.org>... Deferred: Invalid argument
Message could not be delivered for 5 days
Message will be deleted from queue
Reporting-MTA: dns; otherdomain.com
Arrival-Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 23:13:02 GMT
Final-Recipient: RFC822; email@example.com
Remote-MTA: DNS; ns3.xyzwebmail.com
Last-Attempt-Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 23:59:17 GMT
Received: from localhost (localhost)
by otherdomain.com (8.12.10/8.12.10) id i9KMWfDp019382;
Wed, 20 Oct 2004 23:13:02 GMT
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 23:13:02 GMT
From: Mail Delivery Subsystem <MAILER-DAEMON@maindomain.com>
Content-Type: multipart/report; report-type=delivery-status;
Subject: Return receipt
Auto-Submitted: auto-generated (return-receipt)