system not able to send mail to external address

Doran L. Barton fozz at
Sat Feb 7 09:36:45 MST 2009

Wade Preston Shearer wrote:
> Does anyone have any idea why mail sent to root from the command line
> mail client would be forwarded ("expanded") to the alias email address
> and delivered successfully while email messages generated by scripts
> (such as LogWatch and Mailman) are not forwarded ("expanded")? Also,
> here's the other thing that is boggling my mind: why do I get the
> failure email but not the original email?

My initial thought is that the system you are sending mail to has more
strict relaying restrictions in place and is refusing to deliver your
message for reasons such as (a) your system does not have a reverse DNS
entry or (b) your system doesn't have SPF credentials for the domain the
message says it's coming from. Something like that.

The best way to determine the problem would not be to look at the
delivery failure messages, but to look at the mail logs.

I would suggest setting up authenticated SMTP to what Sendmail calls a
"smart host," maybe even the system you're trying to send to, but just
make sure you're authenticating so that you can possibly bypass any
relaying restrictions that are in place.

Doran L. "Fozz" Barton <fozz at>
Open-source developer, sysadmin, consultant, and all-around geeky dude
 "We are enjoying our pleasant life with vigor."
    -- Seen on a Japanese notebook

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