Today in "Google broke email".

Dear Lazyweb, how do I forward my employees' email to their gmail accounts and have it get there?

To recap, my domain hosts its own SMTP server running Postfix, and /etc/postfix/virtual contains a bunch of entries forwarding "" to whatever their actual email address is, usually gmail.

This has been mostly working fine for a decade or so, but lately there have been more bounces due to "strict SPF". For example,'s SPF record includes "-all" (dash instead of tilde) which means that when tries to mail, we forward that along to, and then Google rejects it with 550 "SPF hard fail".

So, I don't know whether it has recently become more common for people to use dash-all instead of tilde-all, or whether Google recently started actually enforcing dash-all in a way that they didn't before, and while I am curious about that answer, it doesn't really matter.

Another thing that doesn't matter is that SPF is bullshit that solves no problems and should not exist. Let's just take that as a given and move on.

What does matter is, what the fuck do I do about it?

Telling all of these people, "Hey dummy, use tilde-all instead of dash-all" is obviously not practical.

"Provide an IMAP server for all of my employees" is a terrible answer, in terms of both maintenance headache and disk space.

"Turn over your MX record to some third party service" is an even more terrible answer, because so many of our custom internal systems touch email. Order confirmations. Shipment notifications. Calendar mailings. Sales reports. Bounce and unsubscribe handlers. Address verification and password resets.

Is there a third option?

Finally, here's a concrete question: let's say I desired to have a filter plugged into my Postfix that looked at a message, identified it as one that Google is definitely going to reject because of strict SPF and then... did something else with it. Like, say, forward it as an attachment instead. (This would obviously be insane and terrible, and yet still better than bouncing.) Is that a doable thing, or should I just stick forks in my eyes right now?


    My current approach is to provide a POP3 server for all of my employees. It turns out that POP3 is a thing that still exists in the Twenty-First Goddamned Century. Gmail provides an option to download mail from external POP3 servers, if you trust them with your password. As far as I can tell so far, Google doesn't penalize my server for spam that is relayed that way, they just process it normally.

    But, every now and then, instead of downloading a message, they deliver a message to the recipient that says "The message [...] contained a virus or a suspicious attachment. It was therefore not fetched from your account and has been left on the server." And in that case they leave it on my server forever, which is annoying.

Previously, previously, previously.

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