Using msmtp with Rackspace Email

When using mutt on my Mac, I use msmtp to continue the alliteration as an SMTP agent, to send mail through an actual authenticated SMTP server versus trying to connect from my laptop, which not many mailservers will accept.

I’m either missing something, or it’s a real pain with keys when using TLS, especially on the Mac, where the CA certs aren’t present except in the Keychain. I found some guides to getting this working with Gmail, but not Rackspace’s email service.

This is the .msmtprc file I ended up using:

account default
port 587
tls on
tls_starttls on
tls_fingerprint CD:E1:CD:60:FC:8C:8F:3B:6F:17:62:70:61:51:75:3D
auth on
user "[email protected]"
password "maybe you do not want it here"

Don’t trust me on the tls_fingerprint line. (I’m not up to anything, but you don’t know that.)

This page documents their SMTP settings, including the hostname. It doesn’t give you TLS fingerprints or a CA cert file, because no one on the Internet does that.

Following this advice concerning Gmail, I adapted it to find the fingerprint for Rackspace:

echo -n | openssl s_client -connect \
 -starttls smtp -showcerts > x.tmp

That will save the exchange, which includes the key. You could probably extract it from there, but it was easier for me to go on and just get the fingerprint:

openssl x509 -noout -fingerprint -md5 -in x.tmp

Take the bit after MD5 Fingerprint= and drop that into .msmtprc on the tls_fingerprint line.

There’s got to be an easier way…

Not quite knowing what you are doing

I retweet a lot of stuff I find interesting, but sometimes there’s something that really sticks with me which deserves more than a retweet. Here’s one of them:

Work is most fulfilling when you’re at the comfortable, exciting edge of not quite knowing what you are doing.


It reminds me of the advice to Be the Worst, where musicians found that the “worst” person in an orchestra would kind of automatically adapt and play up to the level of his peers. Thrust yourself into situations where you’re “at the comfortable, exciting edge of not quite knowing what you’re doing,” surrounded by people above your level, and you’ll have a hard time not growing.

Half a Petabyte in 4U

OK, so first up, I flat up lied; it’s only 480TB. But that’s how storage marketing goes, right?

I just caught mention of Dell’s MD3060e Dense Enclosure, an insane 4U storage enclosure that accommodates 60x 3.5″ hard drives. (Five trays of 12 disks each.)

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 11.39.02 PM

Here’s one on eBay, with 60x 4TB disks for a mere $38,999.

I also learned in the past week about shingled magnetic recording, a new technology for spinning magnetic disks that allows much greater density, at the cost of some stranger semantics on how data is written. It’s how Seagate already has an 8TB drive on the market, at an oddly low price.

I’ve also been playing around with ZFS (on Linux) lately. I’m building a file server with 3x 6TB drives (RAIDz1, akin to RAID 5), and 2x 512GB SSDs for cache/ZIL. I have a lot of kinks to work out still, but the idea is that ‘popular’ content will get auto-cached on the SSDs, backed by magnetic storage. A modest bit of SSD space is set aside for ZIL, where writes forcing a sync can be written to SSD and then later written to spinning disks. I suspect that the “SSD as cache in front of slower magnetic storage” paradigm will grow in popularity until SSDs become cheap enough that magnetic storage is entirely obsolete. Things like shingled drives would seem to make that even more important.

I feel like this would be a really exciting combination to play around with, if only I had the money and the need for almost a half-petabyte of storage.