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3.4 Apple Mail enforced on Simon Platinum

After carefully reading the release notes and paying special attention to the changes in the mail transport which where all marked (Standard edition only) I decided to upgrade our Simon Platinum installation as the fixes mentioned had all bitten us.

Apparently everything went well Simon 3.4 loaded and seemed to be function fine.

Unfortunately at 3am this morning a server went offline and we didn't get notified (we have for years used the E-mail notifier to trigger SMS's). When the issue was discovered this morning (thanks to the continuous audio notifier we've setup) the monitoring server had launched Mail and it was asking to be configured... we don't use Mail on our severs - who does?

Meanwhile no email notifications had been sent out for any activity - I've quit Simon, tried flipping the hidden preference defaults write com.dejal.simon EmailUseLegacyTransport YES but on relaunch it appears that our 246 Email notifiers have all been changed to the "Apple Mail" transport.

The problems with this are:

      • The automatic option is no longer presented as an option
      • The old settings either aren't visible or have been lost (trying to run notifiers in this state just locks up Simon)
      • Entering some of the old settings now fails silently after locking up the application until the transport times out. (We have determined that these are accounts where the certificate name of the server doesn't match the mail server name.)
      • Mail is not configured on this Lion Server — in-fact it's not configured on any of our Lion Servers because they are servers
      • We have nearly as many 'from' accounts for email notifiers as we have destination addresses that we notify, all of which we are having to re-enter manually
      • It takes a long time to recreate and test that many mail notifiers... thankfully thats now done
David Sinclair's picture

Re: 3.4 Apple Mail enforced on Simon Platinum

I'm sorry that this update has caused problems for you.

Toggling that hidden preference should make the notifiers work the same as they used to. The notifier settings won't be changed unless you edited the notifiers after upgrading to 3.4 (in which case you'd need to edit the ones you changed again to restore the old settings).

Ultimately I will be removing the legacy Automatic transport, though, as it will not be compatible with future versions of Simon. So I think the best solution would be to set up Apple Mail with at least one mail account, and change the hidden preference back to NO. Or, if you prefer, switch to using a manually-configured transport.

246 seems like a lot of Email notifiers — I assume you know that you can share notifiers between tests? And use variables to customize the content? Most people only need one, or a few if they need to send to different recipients. Note that Simon's data file is XML, so you could edit it manually to quickly change all of the notifiers, if you feel comfortable with that.

Re: 3.4 Apple Mail enforced on Simon Platinum

Hi David,
things are working fine now. My apologies I was a little wound up and short in my post.

I didn't explain myself properly for each client/sub-client we had setup smtp server details. These stopped working. My guys had to go in an recreate them all (the smtp servers) to get them to work. I guess what I'm saying is that the previously configured smtp details had to be recreated.

When I said "the old settings aren't visible" I meant that the only item in the "Transport" menu was "Apple Mail"

Most of the notifiers are using different servers, or different authentication values or different 'from' values as our particular type of clients need to have the notifications be seen as coming from specific addresses. I'm not aware of any other way to do this with Simon.

Cheers

Craig

David Sinclair's picture

Re: 3.4 Apple Mail enforced on Simon Platinum

Hi Craig,

I'm glad all is well again.

I don't have the source code in front of me at present, but I think the "Apple Mail" item would have worked like the old "Automatic" one with that hidden pref enabled.

Are you saying that you had set up custom SMTP transports in Simon, and they vanished? That wouldn't be expected. The custom transports use a different mechanism: the Pantomime mail framework. So they shouldn't have been affected by the change to the Automatic transport.

Re: 3.4 Apple Mail enforced on Simon Platinum

Hi David,
yep that's what I was expecting - since we were using the custom SMTP settings I wasn't expecting any impact at all on the notifiers.

We checked the console for simon log's and found lots of messages that had something like :
"No mail servers for domain <(null)>"

Also some entries about DejalMailHelper throwing an exception at 2:45am in the morning... which is about the right time for the server which blew a power supply.

Unfortunately one of my guys cleared the log before he restarted Simon so we now only have post the recreation of the smtp servers - I think these entries just relate to the couple of servers that had SSL Cert's that didn't match the domain we had on file. Since fixing those there's been nothing else in Console when filtered by 'simon'

27/03/12 8:32:28.461 AM Simon: No mail servers for domain <(null)>
27/03/12 8:48:02.764 AM Simon: Pantomime: Connected!
27/03/12 8:48:02.764 AM Simon: Now starting SSL...
27/03/12 9:07:16.984 AM Simon: Pantomime: Connected!
27/03/12 9:07:16.984 AM Simon: Now starting SSL...
27/03/12 9:07:20.264 AM Simon: Pantomime: SSL handshaking completed.
27/03/12 9:07:20.264 AM Simon: Pantomime: Available authentication mechanisms: (
PLAIN,
LOGIN
)
27/03/12 9:07:20.751 AM Simon: Pantomime: Authentication completed! Sending the message...
27/03/12 9:07:21.747 AM Simon: Pantomime: Sent!
Closing the connection.
27/03/12 9:07:21.983 AM Simon: Pantomime: Connection closed.

Simon's data is kept on a 16Tb Drobo Pro which we're currently running a disk check on to see if there are any issues but that will take another 10 hours or so to finish. Possibly there is an issue there but we haven't had one with any of our Drobo's to date.

Apart from Simon all this one does is receive remote website backups through OS X Server accounts using WebDav.

Long story short it's working and in all the time we've used Simon this is the first time it's ever had an issue.

Cheers

Craig

David Sinclair's picture

Re: 3.4 Apple Mail enforced on Simon Platinum

Most curious! I don't know why those notifiers would have spontaneously changed transports. I suppose disk corruption is possible, but pretty rare nowadays.

The "No mail servers for domain <(null)>" message comes from the legacy mail transport, whereas the Pantomime ones come from the manual transports (and all the 9:07 entries look fine; Pantomime is a bit chatty in the log).

So as of 8:32 you had at least one legacy transport.

Anyway, I'll keep an eye out for any other similar reports, but I'm glad all is well now.