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netqmail execute before qmail-remote patch

This patch was extracted from the upcoming eQmail-1.09 realease to find a lowest common denominator - netqmail-1.06 in our case. It allows to execute command(s) before qmail-remote will be invoked. Command can be a program or script. So it changes the pipe qmail-rspawn –>qmail-remote to:

qmail-rspawn   –>  qmail-bfrmt  –>  qmail-remote                        

by plugin. The functionality can be compared a bit with the  qmailqueue.patch  by Bruce Guenter. The software comes WITHOUT WARRANTY of any kind. It works fine with eQmail-1.08.1, unfortunately is was not extensively tested with netqmail-1.06. The patch may be conflicts with other patches.

Download: netqmail-1.06-before-remote.patch (sha256sum)

The patch will be discussed at the openqmail mailing list.

I will use the term $QMAIL below, which stays for the basic install folder of qmail - usually “/var/qmail” by default.

How it works

Before  qmail-remote  will be invoked,  qmail-rspawn  checks if  $QMAIL/bin/qmail-bfrmt  exists. If it doesn't exists  qmail-remote  will be invoked. Otherwise  qmail-bfrmt  checks for its config file  $QMAIL/control/beforemote  and tries to execute the commands given in there. In case an error occurs or the config file doesn't exists,  qmail-remote  will be called.


Assuming a complete fresh installation, apply the patch to netqmail-1.06 source code and follow the install instructions. Run  config-bfrmt  to create the config file. Afterwards edit  $QMAIL/control/beforemote  according to the Configuration section above.

It may be would sometimes be an option to do a

Manual upgrade

Follow these steps (ignore unneeded ones):

cp qmail-rspawn $QMAIL/bin
cp qmail-bfrmt $QMAIL/bin
cp qmail-rspawn.8 qmail-bfrmt.8 $QMAIL/man/man8
cp qmail-rspawn.0 qmail-bfrmt.0 $QMAIL/cat/cat8
chgrp qmail $QMAIL/bin/{qmail-rspawn,qmail-bfrmt}
chmod 711 $QMAIL/bin/qmail-rspawn
chmod 755 $QMAIL/bin/qmail-bfrmt
chgrp qmail $QMAIL/man/man8/*
chgrp qmail $QMAIL/cat/cat8/*
chown 644 $QMAIL/man/man8/*
chown 644 $QMAIL/cat/cat8/*


I will use as an example  qmail-sdkim  , which is part of my qmail-xdkim package and does insert DKIM signatures. It is the way I use this patch and initially it was created for. The whole thing is quite simple, edit  control/beforemote  to your needs, which looks by default like:

export DKREMOTE="$BINDIR/qmail-remote"
np="qmail-sdkim" ; exec $np "$@"

As you can see I inserted a line with  qmail-sdkim , which calls  qmail-remote  by itself. The $BINDIR variable comes from  qmail-bfrmt  and has as value the path to the $QMAILHOME/bin directory (usually “/var/qmail/bin”). Make sure that  qmail-remote  will be called with the needed parameters (“$@”) and  beware to not break the pipe! 

May be it will be more clear with another example. Edit  control/beforemote  like:

printenv > /tmp/envars
printf "$1\n$2\n$3\n" > /tmp/params
export DKREMOTE="$BINDIR/qmail-remote"
if ["$DKREMOTE" ] ; then
   $DKREMOTE "$@"
   np="qmail-remote" ; exec $np "$@"

At least  qmail-remote  have to be the last program of the pipe. Check out the newly created files in  /tmp  to see what was happen.

Troubleshooting Hints

  • if  qmail-bfrmt  doesn't exists or  $QMAIL/control/beforemote  contains an error,  qmail-remote  will be invoked directly
  • a log entry shows which program was invoked by  qmail-rspawn 
  • temporarily add some commands into  $QMAIL/control/beforemote  for debugging
  • it is important that  qmail-remote  will be called with the parameters from  qmail-rspawn  (“$@”)


  • at the time  qmail-bfrmt  will be invoked, the actual directory is $QMAIL/bin
  • make sure that given commands in  $QMAIL/control/beforemote  are correct




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