Using the spamassassin URIBL check on a primary nameserver

Usually on a primary nameserver for a number of domains, you shouldn’t be using the local nameserver for your DNS lookups. The reason for this is that if a domain is transferred away from the nameserver without your knowledge, any local lookups for that domain will continue to give the old results and this could end up sending email to the wrong server or worse.

One option is to set /etc/resolv.conf to point to some public nameservers such as Google’s and, Cloudflare’s or IBM’s This works fine until you want to use the same server to provide email services using spamassassin. At this point, spamassassin will use /etc/resolv.conf to determine which nameservers to query for things like URIBL (the URI block list at Unfortunately if you are using the same nameservers as a lot of other people, the IP that queries the block list will be blacklisted due to query volume and you’ll end up with an error like the following:

ADMINISTRATOR NOTICE: The query to URIBL was blocked.
for more information.

Running spamassassin and processing emails will result in a URIBL_BLOCKED rule showing in the headers with the other rules that were triggered.

A simple workaround that doesn’t involve too much of a change is to install a lightweight resolver, bind it to an internal IP such as and set this as your default nameserver in /etc/resolv.conf

The following instructions apply to CentOS 7 but something similar should work for other Linux distributions. First install the PowerDNS Recursor. It doesn’t matter what your existing nameserver software is, I have BIND running but it could easily be something else.

[root@server ~]# yum install pdns-recursor

Now edit the configuration file /etc/pdns-recursor/recursor.conf to change the IP address that it binds to. Simply find the part of the file for the option local-address, uncomment it and change to read:

# local-address IP addresses to listen on, separated by spaces or commas. Also accepts ports.

Next create a new loopback alias for the IP by creating the file /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-lo:0 with the following content:


Bring the interface up and then start the PowerDNS Recursor daemon.

[root@server ~]# ifup lo:0
[root@server ~]# systemctl enable pdns-recursor
[root@server ~]# systemctl start pdns-recursor

If it’s configured correctly, you should be able to query with the following command:

[root@server ~]# host -t TXT
Using domain server:
Aliases: descriptive text "permanent testpoint"

If this works, the final step is to change your local resolver to use instead of whatever it’s currently set to. Any queries for domains hosted locally will go to the PowerDNS Recursor which will then query the root nameservers and then the original nameserver software on your local server. If the domain has been moved away but you still have the zone locally, the PowerDNS Recursor running on will simply query the new nameserver instead of your local one.

Edit /etc/resolv.conf – comment out any existing nameserver lines and add one that reads:


It’s possible that you might need to restart spamassassin for it to take effect. This can be done using:

[root@server ~]# systemctl restart spamassassin

Linux Programming

cpan2rpm for CentOS 6.5

I’ve been attempting to build all the dependencies for Dancer on CentOS 6.5 and things just kept going wrong. Several of the modules complained about needing perl >= 5.006 even though CentOS 6.5 comes with Perl 5.10.

[mockbuild@build6 ~]$ cpan2rpm Test::Simple

-- cpan2rpm - Ver: 2.028 --
Upgrade check
Fetch: HTTP

-- module: Test::Simple --
Found: Test-Simple-1.001002.tar.gz
Retrieving URL
Metadata retrieval
Tarball extraction: [/home/mockbuild/rpmbuild/SOURCES/Test-Simple-1.001002.tar.gz]
Unable to build module, the following dependencies have failed:
  perl >= 5.006
Stopped at /usr/local/bin/cpan2rpm line 491.

Despite there not being a newer version of cpan2rpm than 2.028 obviously available, there is a development version 2.028_02 which makes it compatible with Perl 5.10.  You have to download it directly from CPAN at and then use cpan2rpm to build it!

[mockbuild@build6 ~]$ cpan2rpm --no-prfx --no-sign ./cpan2rpm-2.028_02.tar.gz

Once it’s built the new cpan2rpm rpm, install it using yum localinstall which will remove the old version at the same time. This new version is able to build the packages for more up to date versions of Test::Simple and URI.

Update: Test::Simple builds but doesn’t pass all the tests, URI is ok.


cpan2rpm on CentOS 6.4

I’ve just been building up a new server with CentOS 6.4 and noticed that cpan2rpm wouldn’t work for some Perl modules. The error you get is as follows.

Metadata retrieval
Can't locate object method "interpolate" via package "Pod::Text" at
/usr/bin/cpan2rpm line 522.

Turns out it’s because Pod::Text changed between the version that comes with CentOS 5 (2.21) and the version with CentOS 6 (3.13) and the interpolate method disappeared.

I found a patch attached to this ticket and when applied to cpan2rpm, it works once more.

Linux Personal

DigitalOcean – first impressions

A couple of friends mentioned they were having a look at as a VPS provider so I thought I’d take a quick look myself.

The signup process is painless, just an email address and a password required and you’re into a control panel that is relatively uncluttered. Just a few important options down the left side and as you click each one, the top right has a large button with what appears to be the most commonly selected option. For example, click “Billing” reveals “Manage Payments”, “Droplets” (their name for a VPS) results in a “Create” button and “Support” gives “New Ticket”.

There is plenty of space around the various options so no danger of accidentally clicking the wrong button and most of the icons have a tooltip pop up to say what they are (although it’s generally fairly obvious anyway).

There’s a well documented API available – just a couple of clicks to create an API key and you can do anything from create a new droplet to add a domain to their DNS. All the API functionality can be accessed from simple HTTP GET requests and results are JSON formatted so you could easily write a Javascript page to perform sequences of the common actions.

Support tickets get a fast response and there’s an active IRC channel (#digitalocean on Freenode) with plenty of helpful people and even some DigitalOcean staff.

Creation of a droplet takes just a couple of minutes. It says less than 55 seconds, but it took just over 2 minutes for mine – I guess there’s a certain amount of dependency on the load of the host servers. If you upload an SSH public key, it can be pre-installed on the server.

The billing is hourly and you can put some credit on your account with PayPal or add a credit card and then just create/destroy droplets as required. The control panel has a clear amount that the current month has cost you and it’s possible to create a snapshot, destroy the droplet and not incur any more costs until you restore the snapshot to a new droplet (this is apparently changing and snapshots will cost a small amount per month).

A couple of things I’ve noticed so far that aren’t so good:

They have datacentres in three locations: NYC (North Bergen, NJ), San Francisco, and Amsterdam, but only San Francisco is available for new droplets at present due to capacity issues in NYC and Amsterdam. This is supposed to be resolved soon and it’s possible to move droplets between locations by creating a snapshot and then recreating a droplet at the new location from the snapshot. I would imagine there will be limitations such as IP address changes and some downtime whilst the snapshot is made.

I created a CentOS 6.4 droplet and upgraded all the packages – when it rebooted, the kernel was still using an older one and not the one that just got installed. It turns out that you can’t boot a custom kernel, although there is a selection to choose from within the control panel (just not the most recent CentOS kernel).

Overall though, quite a nice system and not a bad price either!

Linux Programming Shartak

IPv6 and Shartak

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to figure out IPv6. Having worked through some of the IPv6 certification at I now have an IPv6 enabled web server and mail server as well as IPv6 connectivity at home via

I thought I’d update Shartak to allow access via IPv6 as well as IPv4 – mostly nothing needed to be changed, however…


ip6tables and CentOS 5.6

Having just recently obtained an IPv6 address for my server, I figured it would be a good idea to setup a firewall on the IPv6 address. Although most services are bound to the main IPv4 address only, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.


Compiling on a 64 bit Linux

I’m currently in the process of upgrading my old server to a nice new 64 bit CentOS 5 install and came across a few issues rebuilding some of the packages.
In general I try not to use customised versions of packages since it makes updating the machine so much easier when there’s nothing to rebuild, however some things I do customise slightly such as Apache and Exim.
Whilst rebuilding the Exim RPM I came across some strange errors which I assumed (correctly) were to do with the fact that it was a 64 bit OS not 32 bit.


Upgrading CentOS4 to CentOS5 – rpm error

After a recent upgrade of a server from CentOS 4.4 to 5.1 using yum, I ran into a bit of a problem with rpm.
Pretty much any rpm command would result in the following error:
rpmdb: Program version 4.3 doesn’t match environment version
error: db4 error(-30974) from dbenv->open: DB_VERSION_MISMATCH: Database environment version mismatch
error: cannot open Packages index using db3 – (-30974)
error: cannot open Packages database in /var/lib/rpm


SMF and the case of the missing pound signs

I’ve been helping a friend setup a new forum using Simple Machines Forum (SMF) and even though it worked fine on a previous installation I’d done, the pound signs (UK currency, not a #) just wouldn’t show up as anything but a ? once they were posted.


yum reports bad marshal data

I’ve been trying to check for updates on one of my CentOS machines using yum and got the following error.
root:~# yum upgrade
Loading “installonlyn” plugin
Options Error: bad marshal data