Miscellaneous Ramblings

Low-end Macs and Email Authentication

68 K Macs and SMTP Authentication Revisited

Charles Moore - 2001.07.16 - Tip Jar

One of the great things about the Mac Web is that if you need information about something related to Apple computers or their use, you can usually get it quickly.

Last Monday I posted an article, Anti-spam Measures Marginalize Low-end Macs, explaining how my local ISP is going to introduce SMTP authentication as an anti-spam measure, but they were not able to suggest any POP3 email clients that will support SMTP authentication on 68 K Macs.

Appearances were that subscribers with non-PowerPC Macs would be out of luck as far as POP email is concerned. I phoned the tech support desk at the competing ISP in my area and was informed that they had introduced authentication some time ago. They couldn't suggest any 68K savvy email software that supports SMTP authentication either.

Of course, in both cases the tech support is essentially Mac illiterate, and the person at the other end of the line usually has to refer to a crib sheet in order to discuss Mac issues at all. Happily, I had much better luck with Low End Mac readers, several of whom wrote with helpful and informative suggestions.

On the basis of what I have learned from the reader letters and my own research, Mulberry appears to be the all round best bet for 68K Mac users who need an email client that supports SMTP authentication. Mulberry supports 680x0 processors and System 7.1, which should cover virtually all Macs still in use. (More about Mulberry at the end of this article.)

One of the letters mentioned success using Bare Bones Software's MailSmith, but MailSmith 1.7, released last week, has dropped support for 68K Macs.

Another solution for machines that can support Mac OS 8.1 ('040 and later) is Green, the nice little freeware email client from France, which also reportedly supports SMTP authentication. (More about Green at the end of this article.)

More information on Mulberry and Green appears after the letters below.

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to write. The information was very helpful. Where applicable, I have forwarded the information about authenticating email clients that will work with 68K Macs and other comments to my ISP, which, at this writing, appears not to have been implemented the SMTP authentication protocol yet, because Eudora Light still works. I'll let you know how things turn out.


From Brian and Vickie Wong

From Larry Rosenstein

Subject: Anti-spam Seasures Marginalize Low-end Macs

You didn't mention whether this was a dialup account or not. There's no technical reason why a dialup user should be required to use SMTP AUTH, since dialup user would have already been authenticated while establishing a connection. (I think the same would apply to DSL users that connect via PPPoE.)

I found that <http://www3.innosoft.com/~chris/smtpauth_client.html> discusses SMTP AUTH clients and says that Mulberry supports SMTP AUTH. I didn't try it out, but it appears that the 2.0.8 release supports 68K Macs and SMTP AUTH.

It would be technically possible to write a relay program that ran on the Mac. Your preferred email client would send the mail through the relay program, which would then take care of the SMTP AUTH, but I don't know of such a program.

Larry Rosenstein


Subject: Email clients for low-end Macs

Mr. Moore,

I read with interest your article "Anti-spam measures marginalize low-end Macs." I ran into this problem when the ISP I was using was sold to another ISP. As I was getting addresses and other things straightened out, I found that I could not send email and eventually found out that the new ISP was using SMTP authentication to prevent spamming.

I am on a Centris 610 with 68040 CPU and used Eudora Lite. I, like you, learned that Eudora Lite didn't support SMTP authentication, and the Eudoras, Netscapes and IEs that did, did not work on a 68040 with System 7.5.5. I searched around and found that Mulberry 2.0.8 and MailSmith claimed to support SMTP authentication. I decided to try Mulberry because it was cheaper and had a 30 day trial period.

Mulberry does work on my 68040 and does support SMTP authentication. I am up and running email now. Unfortunately, I find that Mulberry is not as easy or intuitive to use as Eudora. I not sure how it handles attachments (when you get an attachment, it tells you - but when you click on it, it then downloads it/converts it?) I am not a techie, so I haven't tried to find out if I can import my old Eudora address book, either. However, it works. I can send and receive email, and I don't have to change my computer. I would recommend that your low-end Mac users needing SMTP authentication look into Mulberry.

Brian

From Peter Gøthgen


Subject: SMTP Green

With Green, you're home free. It does support SMTP authentication. This email is being sent through mac.com using the PPC version of Green.

Peter Andreas Gøthgen


From: Dave Hamilton - The Mac Observer

Subject: POP/SMTP potential solution

Greetings, Charles -

I read your article today about SMTP authentication. While I don't know of any 68K email clients that support it, I do know that even older versions of Eudora use POP's XTND/XMIT commands, which allow you to send mail through a POP server. Get the "Esoteric Settings" plug in for Eudora, put it in the plug-ins folder, and you should have an option to enable XTND/XMIT in one of the new settings panels that the Esoteric Settings plug-in provides. It should come with Eudora, typically in the "Extra Plugins" folder.

-Dave


From V Silly

Subject: SMTP Auth :-(

Hi Charles,

I don't have any other programs to suggest but wanted to share my own experience.

My ISP switched to SMTP auth, and Eudora could no longer send email even though we were using a version that allowed SMTP auth. We tried all the versions from 4.3 through most recent, no go.

I have a Web site hosted elsewhere that allows us to use their relay server for outgoing mail, so I tried that as an alternate solution, but we were unable to connect to it any longer once our ISP switched to SMTP auth.

We tried MailSmith, and it worked flawlessly. However there was a bug in the import filters for address books which made us unable to import a massive collection of contacts that would have been too much work to transfer over by hand.

So eventually we ended up switching ISPs.

Which was too bad, since the old one was great, and the new one constantly disconnects me at any random moment!

This is not on a 68K Mac, so these problems extend to other Mac users as well.

I'll be interested to read whether you find any solutions.

Best, -V


From: Ben Scent Subject: Re: Anti-spam measures Marginalize Low-end Macs

Hmm...sounds like you may be out of luck on a 68K Mac if they are using this authentication method. Open relays - mail servers that do not do any kind of authentication before passing on your mail - are a serious boon for spammers. There are other methods of authentication, however, that won't lock out 68K Mac users or users on other systems whose clients don't support the latest protocols. Here are some ways:

  • POP before SMTP. In this method, you have to check the POP account you have with your ISP before you can send mail using their SMTP server. There is usually a window of 15-30 minutes after checking your POP account in which you can send mail. If you are always connected to the Internet and leave your mail client open checking your mail every x minutes, you won't even have to do anything special when you want to send mail.
  • IP address authentication. Using this method, the SMTP server checks your IP address before passing along the mail. If the address is in your ISP's bank of addresses, it passes the mail along. Basically, this checks that you can only use the ISP's SMTP server when you are connected to the Internet with their service.

I don't know how much they will heed it - probably not much - but you may want to suggest one of these methods to your ISP as an alternative to their current SMTP password authentication scheme.

I hope I was able to be a little bit of a help. Please tell me how things work out.

Ben


From John Konopka

Subject: SMTP authorization

Dear Charles,

I use AT&T Worldnet based in Japan. Some time ago they initiated something similar which they call POP before SMTP. In our case they require that we read mail before sending mail to accomplish the authorization function. Once authorized we can initiate mail sending for ten minutes.

This is only required when we are sending mail from outside the ISP. That is, if we log onto the Internet through AT&T they already know who I am. If I am on the road outside Japan and get access to the Internet another way then sending through their server requires authentication.

This might not be the same, but it is an easy thing to try. By the way, my wife and I are using Musashi 3.2.4.

Regards, John Konopka


From: Marcel Brown

Subject: SMTP Auth & 68K Macs

I administer a small ISP (FYI, I use Eudora Internet Mail Server on a Macintosh as our email server). What I have done is enable SMTP Auth for our users that want to send email from outside our network. For users that dial up (or our broadband customers that we allocate IPs to), we do not require SMTP Auth, as we verify via IP address. Perhaps your ISP could do the same? That way, spammers who try to use their server as a relay point, could not do so, yet legitimate customers on their network wouldn't need to use SMTP auth.

Just a thought, Marcel


From Alex Morando

Subject: SMTP authentication and low-end Macs

"Perhaps there is a solution to this problem that I'm not aware of, and, if so, I'm eager to hear about it, but if my provisional surmise is correct, this sucks. Another way that the scum-sucking, bottom-feeding spammers are ruining the Internet for the rest of us."

I'd agree with the "spammers ruining the Internet" part, but I'd say that part of the problem is with the ISPs themselves.

They can easily limit access to their SMTP servers to those IP addresses they control. Then they can easily figure out who spams their mail servers. As an example, EarthLink will not let you send email if you are not using one of their IP address blocks. However, in this age of large ISPs with thousands of new customers per week, this can be a problem.

Regards, Alex


From: George Mogiljansky

Subject: SMTP authentication, etc.

Hi CW,

The darn thread I lost on Google/Mac - anyways, check out http://www.macemail.com. From there, check out a suitable search string on google/mac. Truly awesome!

So far, my ISP (sympatico) only recently declared "you must use your Sympatico email address if using smtp#.sympatico.ca server." I dunno, but SMTP authentication probably affects Windoze more than 68K - so again the proverbial shaft. Anyways, there's a few more email clients at macemail to check out. I'll keep an eye out.

No free ISPs either, eh? Even the Canadian taxpayer-subsidized 3Web (no Mac support) is fini, hah!

George (Montreal)


From Etienne Michaud

Subject SMTP authentication

Hi,

I've read you piece about your ISP forcing SMTP authentication to prevent spam.

IMHO, this is a way more sensible solution than blocking access to the SMTP to the ISP's address block (what my ISP does) as it allows you to access their SMTP servers using a computer at work, for example. On a philosophical point of view, I totally support SMTP authentication. It's a smart solution to spamming, and I would support any ISP that implements this instead of other weird anti-spam mechanism.

That said, it sucks if you have a 68K machine. The easy solution would be to use an internal SMTP server (that supports SMTP auth) on your LAN to relay all your mail to your ISPs mail server. I think the free Stalker Internet Mail Server (SIMS) allows you to do this nicely. There are a few tutorials about it in LEM.

If SIMS does not do authentication, which is not quite clear from their Web page, I know there are a few BSD distributions available for low-end Macs that could run one of the gazilions mail packages available for those OSes that could do SMTP relaying in a pinch. But then you need a LAN.

Good luck. Etienne Michaud


From Kenneth Winstead

Subject: SMTP Authentication

I've used Eudora 5.x for a while now on my 8100/110.

I've checked the box for SMTP authentication and tried the various authentication configurations in Eudora, but I have never been able to send SMTP/POP mail through mac.com or yahoo.com.

With mac.com I just get a bounce message that advises me to "try authentication."

Good luck.

Mulberry v2.1b1

Mulberry uses the IMAP (IMAP4rev1, IMAP4, and IMAP2bis) protocol for accessing mail messages on a server, the standard SMTP protocol for sending messages, and does lots and lots of things with MIME parts for mixed text and "attachments" of many different types of files and data. Mulberry Version 2.0 introduced support for POP3 and Local accounts, full disconnected IMAP support, PGP, SSL and much more.

Mulberry is also one of the handful of Mac email clients that still supports 68K Macs and Mac OS versions as old as System 7.1, and one of even fewer that support SMTP authentication/authorization for those machines.

Two Mac Email Clients That (Reportedly) Support 68K and SMTP Authentication

The Mulberry v2.1b1 release is now available for testing. This version also includes a Mac OS X 'native' version for early adopters of Apple's new OS. Mulberry 2.0.8 is the current final release.

System requirements:

  • Any 68K or PowerPC Macintosh (PowerPC-accelerated), or compatible emulation environment
  • 2500K available RAM (4 megabytes total system memory for 68K and 8 megabytes for PowerPC recommended)
  • 5.3 megabytes of disk space (full install) 3.8 megabytes (minimal install)
  • TCP/IP under Open Transport 1.1.1or later or MacTCP 2.04 or 2.06 (Open Transport is recommended)
  • System 7.1 or later recommended
  • NB The Mac OS installer now works natively on Mac OS X (as well as Mac OS classic) and will automatically install the Mac OS X version of Mulberry as required.

For more information, visit <http://www.cyrusoft.com/mulberry/mulbinfo.html>.

Green 1.0b12

Green is a freeware email client from France that

  • Allows you to create contacts, which make sending mail to frequent correspondents or groups of people easy, (although it only supports groups of up to six names)
  • Lets you create hierarchical mailboxes to easily organize your mail
  • Allows you to import mailboxes from Outlook Express (pre 5.0 versions), Netscape, and Eudora
  • Allows you to define mail rules that will automatically reply to incoming mails, print a paper copy of a mail, or forward the mail to someone else, and even start an AppleScript, all at the same time
  • Allows you to share one machine with other people without each person needing a private copy of the program. Each person can define a personal mail environment, and password protect it against unwanted access from others

Green comes with a comprehensive online and integrated help system, making it easy to get any information on how to use Green or eMail in general.

Green is Appearance savvy, and one of the smallest (and hence fast) Mac email clients at the same time, and is freeware for personal use

System requirements:

  • Any Macintosh with System 8.1 or more recent.
  • QuickTime needs to be installed if you want to view and hear enclosures inside mail windows.

For more information, visit <http://www.eware.fr/dev/index.html>.

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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