back to article GOOGLE GMAIL ATE MY LINUX: Gobbled email enrages Torvalds

Linux kernel supremo Linus Torvalds has published a scathing open letter to Google's Gmail team after discovering that the service had incorrectly marked hundreds of his incoming email threads as spam – including ones containing kernel patches. "Something you did recently has been an unmitigated disaster," Torvalds wrote in …

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Facepalm

I guess they picked the wrong guy to test the spam algorithm on.

<see title>

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I guess they picked the wrong guy to test the spam algorithm on.

At least they were not discarding it altogether as they do with mail being sent to domains which have both v6 and v4 MXes.

If gmail starts trying to deliver via v6 it _NEVER_ falls back to a v4 MX. So if the v6 MX has an issue, well you just lost your mail. So effectively, there is no MX order fallback.

So, looking at that, do you expect antispam to work in a company which has degenerated to a point where the mail team does not understand the concept of an MX how mail delivery should work? I would not. I guess I am not the only one too as I have just noticed that comcast has removed the v6 MX off their DNS records.

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Happy

Re: I guess they picked the wrong guy to test the spam algorithm on.

Cheap shot at systemd... Have an upvote.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I guess they picked the wrong guy to test the spam algorithm on.

Cue the Torvalds Profanisaurus.

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Re: I guess they picked the wrong guy to test the spam algorithm on.

No, they picked exactly the right guy. The object of testing is to find the problems.

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Re: I guess they picked the wrong guy to test the spam algorithm on.

Uh? systemd != kernel

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Vic

Re: I guess they picked the wrong guy to test the spam algorithm on.

systemd != kernel

...yet.

Vic.

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artificial neural network

And before they were using a real one ......

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It's because of how many mailing lists don't really work with DKIM

Basically, Google's enforcing DKIM from certain domains, and if a message is "from" someone whose e-mail host provides proper DKIM, but it's missing it, Google (and Yahoo) servers reject it. Mailing lists aren't usually set up to properly handle DKIM (being, effectively, a relay), and therefore get rejected.

The workaround that I saw one mailing list use was to resend the e-mail from the mailing list's address, append "via (mailing list name)" to the name on the from field, and just have both the mailing list and the original author in reply-to.

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DMARC, not DKIM

It's DMARC that's to blame (being a broken solution). DKIM itself is fine.

It's also the obnoxious "conversation view" I suspect. Switch that off and only the actual spam ends up in the spam box. I probably get less mail than Linus, but I do get 100 or more per day on gmail, and the false positives are rare. But come on, if you care about this, you need to eyeball the spam folder a couple of times a week. I see less than 1% false positives and they are almost all from user@yahoo.com via mailing lists, and caused by DMARC.

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FAIL

Re: DMARC, not DKIM

DMARC is massively broken, because it mandates an SPF test on the From header, even if a Sender header is present. What it should do is to test the Sender if present, else the From, but it doesn't.

Most mailing lists work completely RFC-compliant by adding a Sender header (known as the 'secretary scenario'). However, to get past DMARC tests, they have to violate the RFC and rewrite the From header instead, concealing the originator of the mail.

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I have had a number of mid-conversation messages end up in spam this last two weeks or so. Do I win a prize?

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I've been seeing a lot of it as well, annoyingly combined with stuff that's obviously spam making it into my inbox.

I don't quite get how a thread I've replied in can get marked as spam, whilst "I'm a 21 years old, so I desire 2bang you" gets an A-OK.

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Anonymous Coward

"I don't quite get how a thread I've replied in can get marked as spam, whilst "I'm a 21 years old, so I desire 2bang you" gets an A-OK."

The artificial intelligence has determined that you wish to be banged by a 21 year old, but it doesn't like the discussion thread.

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Needs And Wants.

"I don't quite get how a thread I've replied in can get marked as spam, whilst 'I'm a 21 years old, so I desire 2bang you' gets an A-OK."

You know what you need, but Google knows what you want.

Google is everywhere, all the time! Google sees all, reads all, knows all!

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Re: Needs And Wants.

"Google is everywhere, all the time! Google sees all, reads all, knows all!"

Remember, Mundanes: "Google is Mother, Google is Father!"

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Re: Does not compute!

Wow even Torvalds falls for the pretty Google trinkets in exchange for them knowing oh everything about you. Sad.

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Facepalm

Re: Does not compute!

Betacam, asdf, you beat me to it. It's astonishing that Torvolds uses gmail.

it would be almost as shocking as SatNad or Tim Cook using gmail.

Hasn't he heard of eating your own dog food?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does not compute!

Linus works for Linux Foundation and their MX records seem to point at Google.

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Re: Does not compute!

Who's this Shirley you're talking about? Surely Shirley should have been surely.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does not compute!

"Hasn't he heard of eating your own dog food?"

He is. Google runs on Linux.

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@asdf

The kernel mailing lists are not in any way secret. For all we know, Linus has some other address for person email. I can understand Linus picking something where someone else has to defend against a DDOS so he can concentrate on other things.

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Re: Does not compute!

Surely, surly Shirley surely should;but somehow, sadly Shirley shied.

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Re: Does not compute!

That carries the issue to the level of absurdity.

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Holmes

Re: Does not compute!

Who's this Shirley you're talking about? Surely Shirley should have been surely.

Fur Shir

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Re: Does not compute!

He probably uses it because:

1) Volume - The quantity of general mail he gets and the amount of spam he might get be vast, so he needs something that can handle the GBs of email smoothly. His inbox size could be huge and difficult to not only maintain but search. Bet he doesn't "Inbox Zero" at the end of the day.

2) Conversation View - Yes I know that Thunderbird or other tools do provide conversation view but Thunderbird is increasingly less performant especially on larger mail boxes (in my experience).

3) Spam - This is the controversial part of the mix because it is the bit that failed, but good spam filters are rare.

I spent many years running my own mail server, dealing with spam filters, I've moved to a hosted solution mainly because I can't be bothered with the hassle any more. My IMAP host isn't google which means it is relatively slow and has terrible webmail, but at least I don't have to worry anymore.

Anyone have any suggestions of good value hosted IMAP providers with decent webmail (e.g. Horde IMP not just Squirrel Mail) and configurable spam filters?

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Perhaps Hillary Clinton could offer some useful advice?

It's a shame that Torvalds couldn't find a reliable email server that runs under Linux.

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Re: Perhaps Hillary Clinton could offer some useful advice?

You know, that's probably exactly what gmail runs on (:

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Re: Perhaps Hillary Clinton could offer some useful advice?

You know, that's probably exactly what gmail runs on (:

ftfy

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Re: Perhaps Hillary Clinton could offer some useful advice?

Google has legal right to keep and analyse every single mail that comes in or out. Also being an American company it can create major international problem for hackers.

NSA probably runs a cooler Linux (SELinux) too, why doesn't Linus get linus@nsa.gov next time? They probably have better anti spam filters.

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LDS
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Devil

Re: Perhaps Hillary Clinton could offer some useful advice?

Is GMail code open source?

I know it doesn't violate the GPL because it's never transferred to anyone, making it even more closed than non-open source code released as binary only.

Thereby, the fact it runs on some variant of Linux is close to irrelevant. Google does whatever it likes and you have to accept it.

If I where Linus, I would run the mailing list out of standard, well known mail applications, without Google-in-the-middle.

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Re: Perhaps Hillary Clinton could offer some useful advice?

Is GMail code open source?

I know it doesn't violate the GPL because it's never transferred to anyone, making it even more closed than non-open source code released as binary only.

Torvalds != Stallman

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Orv
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Stallman doesn't believe in graphical email clients or attachments. He doesn't even use a graphical web browser. GUIs have no place in his free software utopia.

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Re: Perhaps Hillary Clinton could offer some useful advice?

Yes for all his rants Linus is a practical man methinks.

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Anonymous Coward

Stallman

He doesn't believe in showers either (anon so not to get the person who has dinner with him and passed on that nugget in to trouble)

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Anonymous Coward

This seems too obvious

Like an April Fool gag. You're ready to post "Really!! He uses Gmail??" - then you remember what day it is.

(Notice, I'm hedging my bets, here!)

Nb. So, what, he uses Gmail because it's free?? My superior provider charges me ~£5 a year. Runs a tight ship, does ol' Linus?

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Re: This seems too obvious

"Nb. So, what, he uses Gmail because it's free?? My superior provider charges me ~£5 a year."

Gmail may not necessarily be free, depending on how Torvalds and/or the Foundation use it - for UK pricing, I'll they'll see your £5 per year and raise it to £3.30 or £6.60 per user per month.

I haven't checked those prices for myself - I've no intention of farming the email for any of my domains out to Google - but because of clients who seem to think Google's arse is the source of our sunshine.

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Joke

Gmail users

don't know what they're missing

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gmail users

Gmail users

don't know what they're missing

Privacy?

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Re: Gmail users

"Gmail users

don't know what they're missing"

You'r right, I've just looked in my Spam Box and along with 18% falsies I found all sorts of interesting offers from "Marie"

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Anonymous Coward

Thank you, Linus!

Maybe now Google will fix this crap. Me yelling about it doesn't cause any publicity so they just ignore it. Now Linus on the other hand, he's a professional yeller!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thank you, Linus!

I wonder if he can do anything about Google Inc. seizing the accounts of TOR users and refusing to release them unless provided with the victim's verified telephone number? All under the ruse of them protecting us. Disingenuous twats.

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DIY

He can write his own OS, his own version control system (Git), why can't he write his own spam filter? Or at least bother to setup his own LINUX server with a nice FOSS mail server and spam filter.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DIY

There is something *soul sucking* about having people, some very clever indeed in their anti-social way, making your job harder on purpose...and it's every day. It rarely slows down and it never ever stops. After 20 years of Spam (I had been running a mailserver for some years by 1994) it was just too depressing.

Antispam tends to be a grind job and I, for one, don't want Linus Torvalds having to deal with it. He has plenty of necessary grind in his life already without adding to it.

The day I stopped running a significant mail server was a bright and wonderful new chapter in my life.

I am in no way exaggerating.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DIY

Read your first sentence and couldn't tell if you were talking about Torvalds or not... because nothing makes a customer popular like (the internet's equivalent of) CCing the CEO in your complaint.

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Happy

Re: DIY

GITMAIL

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Re: DIY

> Antispam tends to be a grind job

Yes and unfortunately our continued use of ever-fancier methods of looking for it after it has arrived only serves to mask the problem so the end users (and NB higher-ups) don't understand the scale of it except for some stats and using it to pretend they never got that email.

There are easy ways to reduce the quantity of it (and I'm as guilty as anyone of posting that 'your spam solution does not work' list) but require several things to happen and the fact that any one thing won't kill all of it at once shouldn't be the reason not to bother but there's a huge amount of money (as well as our time and efforts) tied up in this 'filtering technology' so nobody wants to try anything different.

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LDS
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Re: DIY

You mean that there's no one among the LF supporters willingly to setup a real mail server and spam software?

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