Sat Jul 8 15:04:43 PDT 2000 — To improve performance of our mail server array, we’ve turned off GCOS matching for incoming email. Previously, if an email came in for an address that was not a Sonic.net username, the mail servers would attempt to match that username against the GCOS, which contains the user’s full name. So, for every SPAM or misdirected email, the mail servers would search the entire passwd’s GCOS looking for that name. During times when we’re bounding piles of SPAM, this was a significant impact on the mail servers. This impact was causing rare cases where YP would fail, and we’d bounce some legitimate customer email back to the sender as ‘user unknown’.
Our concern was that turning off the GCOS matching would break firstname.lastname@example.org delivery addresses which customers might have been using. Users could previously receive email as John.Doe@sonic.net for example. An analysis of the few million emails we’ve processed here in the last 10 days was done by Nathan and shows that no one uses this feature, so we’ve turned it off to eliminate the impact on the servers. If you’d like an alias for email@example.com, or any other email alias, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to set one up for you. -Dane, Scott and Nathan.