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#autorespond-2.0.6 Copyright 1998 Eric Huss
Copyright 2000 Matthias Henze
Copyright 2001 Brad Dameron

EH 02/13/98 - First release.
EH 02/14/98 - Fixed file descriptor bug (wouldn't work on BSD/Linux)
MH 07/2000 1.1.0 added message handling
MH 07/2000 1.1.0 added from adrees commandline option
MH 07/2000 1.1.0a changed back to 1.0.0 compatibility
the new commandline options are optional by now
MH 08/2000 1.1.0b if DEFAUTL_FROM is set to $ the addres in the To:
header will be used as From: of the autoreply.
MH 03/2001 1.1.0b switched * to + in DEFAULT_FROM syntax fixed from header
BD 06/12/2001 2.0.0 Removed some of Matthias's additional command lines
and cleaned up some code.
BD 11/24/2001 2.0.1 Removed binary and added a Makefile
Cleaned up README
BD 11/30/2001 2.0.2 Fixed segfault with no command line options
KJ 08/24/2003 2.0.4 From Woody Security team

  • Non-maintainer upload by the Security Team
  • Fix buffer overflow with EXT and HOST environment variables (CAN-2003-0654)

JK 09/18/2003 2.0.5 fixed invalid exit codes in several places that cause qmail to bounce messages wrongly.
Thanks to Flavio Curti for identifying further invalid exit situations.

JKA 24/4/2016 2.0.6 Fixed the message-id's to comply with RFC to prevent from getting catched in spam filters due to .blah in message-id.

Simple autoresponder for qmail:

Mail is sent to An automatically generated response is sent back to the user with an address of "". You can set the envelope sender to an empty string. However, some programs will parse the message for the "From:" field and send an autoresponse back to it. It is received at your autoresponder, and you now have a mail loop.

This autoresponder also catches some other simple situations such as mail from a mailer-daemon, empty envelope sender, bulk precedence headers, etc.


First thing, if your qmail distribution is not in /var/qmail, then edit autorespond.c and change QMAIL_LOCATION to point to the correct directory. If you do not want to make use of the 2 optional commandline options edit the 2 defines:

DEFAULT_MH -> corresponds to the "flag" optional parameter DEFAULT_FROM -> connesponds to the "arsender" optional parameter

There shouldn't be anything else to configure. Compile:

make make install


Usage is as follows:

autorespond time num message dir [ flag arsender ]

 time - amount of time to consider a message (in seconds)
 num - maximum number of messages to allow within time seconds
 message - the filename of the message to send
 dir - the directory to hold the log of messages

 optional parameters:

 flag - handling of original message:

   0 - append nothing
   1 - append quoted original message without attachments <default>

 arsender - from address in generated message, or:

   + = blank from envelope ! 
   $ = To: address will be used

For example, in your ~alias directory, create a .qmail-help file with the following:

|autorespond 10000 5 help_message help_autorespond 1 &

This will allow up to five messages from the sender within about 3 hours and include the original message as a quote.

|autorespond 10000 10 help_message help_autorespond 0 + &

This will allow up to ten messages from the sender within about 3 hours and will NOT include the original message as a quote and will leave the from field blank.

Create a file in your ~alias directory called help_message. It should say something like this:

From: Support Subject: Help Response

This is a response to your help request.

Below is a copy of the message we received.

Make sure that "From:" is the first line of the file. You should probably include the dashes to separate your help message from the user's message. An example is included with this package.

Create a directory called help_autorespond in your ~alias directory. This is where the log of messages goes.

That should be it.



  • If the maximum count has been reached, the autoresponse doesn't get shipped out, but the message is still processed as usual. This is a change from older versions because it didn't make sense before.



Qmail autorespond 2.0.6






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