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Old 12-02-2003, 03:48 PM   #1
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Registered: Sep 2003
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manual sendmail commands

Does anyone have a listing of manual commands that can be passed to sendmail in order to send more elaborate "apparently anonymous" emails...

Just yesterday I ran into my uncle near where he works, and he asked me to send his three kids each their own email from santa again... (one older son, and identical twin sons)

Well, in the past two years I've been using Sendmail on my computer to send Emails to my three little cousins, and I've been sending them from the false address of SantaClaus@TheNorthPole.Net. (and I also mention that the address is secret, so they cannot reply to that address, and should tell their parents whatever they want to tell me [santa])

I usually tell them that I'll hear from their parents if they've been naughty/nice, and their parents will let me (santa) know what they'd like for christmas, and to pass their parents a list of what they want... Their parents know it's me doing it (as I've told them santa would send them an email), and they appreciated it these past 2 years (the children are all now 4 yrs old but still believing in Mr Kringle, and have their own email addresses). The past two times, my cousins have found it to be SO COOL to get an anual email from Santa. I only know sendmail's command for message title, body, and "from" address field...

What I want to know is whether or not there are other commands I can pass to my sendmail for this year's christmas letter to the munchkins?

BTW, I know these emails aren't truly "anonymous", and these are not intended to be used in any malicious way. Well... That is unless you believe the perpetuation of a mythical character whose creation seemingly is only to further the growth of our economy to be malicious... Well... I guess you could say contributing to a young child's belief in Santa to be considered "Malicious", but I have their parents' consent!
Old 12-02-2003, 04:34 PM   #2
Registered: Feb 2002
Location: Grenoble
Distribution: Debian
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You can read this:
Note that the mail you send isn't 100% anonymous. It's possible to get the host it was sent from from the headers (but children rather won't be able to do it).
Old 12-02-2003, 04:45 PM   #3
Registered: Sep 2003
Posts: 382

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I'm not quite sure what you mean by sendmail commands. Just to make sure
that we're all on the same page, so to speak, sendmail tends to be
used as an MTA, a Mail Transfer Agent, that often runs in the "background". That is,
it *generally* doesn't interact with a User. Sendmail implements SMTP, the Simple
Mail Transfer Protocol. Often, some sort of MUA Mail User Agent, such as Eudora,
Pine, KMail, etc., interacts with a User, and may pass mail it collects from the User
to sendmail. Sendmail has configuration files, which I suppose you could say
contain commands, that affect the way sendmail processes mail. The "DATA
section" of the SMTP protocol can contain headers, such as "Subject". The sendmail
program itself has command line options/switches/flags. In some versions of
sendmail, there are command line switches that allow it to take information on
recipients and such, from the message.

In that context, if you are talking about sendmail command line switches, they are
explained by the the manuals, available either by typing "man sendmail" or
"info sendmail" or both ( without the quotes ). If you are using an MUA, what's
easily available to you may depend on which MUA you use. I doubt that you
are talking about commands per se, within the SMTP protocol, but if you are,
you can find those at If you are talking about
other message headers, which I'm guessing you are, they can be found in Some attempts have been made to update
those documents, but the updated versions may not have been accepted as
standards. That same site, has an index with the status of the various so
called "RFC's", as to whether they are currently standards, whether a given
document has been replaced with something newer, etc. But again, if you are using
an MUA, and are simply aware that sendmail may be involved, some of what's
in "822" may not be available to you if that MUA doesn't support the headers
you want. At one time, things such as "Subject:" were treated virtually as just
ordinary text within the message. So some MUA's may just ignore anything
they don't understand. If you want a much simpler list of potential mail
headers, I would suggest a document such as:

It's a lot easier reading if you are not familiar with RFC's, and things

Hope this helps.
Old 12-03-2003, 02:37 AM   #4
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Thumbs up THANKS!!!

THANKS!!! When sending these, I don't use MUAs... I don't have one that would allow me to easily change any configurations to my "apparent" or false source email address such as Santa...

Its the switches I wanted to learn more about, as I wanted to learn more switch names, and their functions. This is really pretty interesting to learn how the actual transfer agent works!

Yes, I gathered there's a high liklihood of people tracking such a thing through a header. I doubt my cousins are smart enough to check detailed header information, and I can pretty much guarantee they wouldn't know how to track me down if they did find the info. 4 year olds aren't that smart...

Thanks again for the information!!!! Your forums are certainly first-rate!!!

Looks like I've got a bit more reading to do!!! Thanks for the links!
Old 12-03-2003, 10:43 AM   #5
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Are you sure the guy who actually owns that domain doesn't mind you forging email to be from him? Why not just visit one of the many Christmas sites that offer this as a free service?
Old 12-03-2003, 12:35 PM   #6
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Because I didn't know such a service actually existed? Does such a thing exist? If so, which website does this? I'm going to continue searching domains until I find this service, as it's pretty interesting.

I always tried checking with a browser to see if was website in use. I simply forgot to check whois domain registry... Apparently it IS owned by someone, but he simply doesn't see any point in creating a website for it. Guess I'll have to find something else this year.
Old 12-03-2003, 02:25 PM   #7
Registered: Sep 2003
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Meaning no offense to bannie, but *IF* bannie is a spammer, and he got this
far, then he already had enough to send spam. The rest is just icing on the
cake, which he'd figure out sooner or later on his own; spammers, like
terrorists, are nothing if not persistent.

*IF* bannie is not a spammer, then using just about any sort of forged address
can be a tiny bit of a problem, even if the domain he "invents" isn't in use at
the time he sends his E-Mail. Domain name space is at such a premium, that the
moment after he sends his E-Mail, the domain name he chooses might pop up on a
name server, and the new owner might object to bannie's using it.

But as long as bannie is not a spammer, and is actually only sending three
pieces of E-mail to relatives, it's more a matter of courtesy ( and avoiding a
law suit :-O ) than preventing a DOS situation over all the complaints/bounces
that might result if he were a spammer trying to send lots of E-mail with a
forged address.

Some MTA's/MUA's have been known to accept text which is not valid as an E-Mail
address in the "Reply-To:" or "Followup-To:", or similar forms for specifying
the E-Mail address where a response is to be routed. Some even honor those
addresses if they are filenames, such as "/dev/null" or "NUL:". So if bannie
could determine what sort of headers are honored by whatever E-mail environment
his relatives use, that might be a possibility. However, some such header
forms are not considered standard, some MUA's don't honor them, and they only
apply if someone is replying to E-mail; if someone originates E-mail to a
forged "From:" address, the problem still exists.

As to the free "electronic greeting card" sites, from time to time, I'll get
"electronic greeting cards" done through some of those sites; often they are
sent by people who don't have the resources to create the "cards" themselves.
A number of times after I received such a "card", I would experience an increase
in spam. Sometimes the spam came from the site, it's domain, or an associated
domain, or via some means such that, I could track it back to the site.
Sometimes the spam made blatantly untrue claims, such as that I opted in to the
spam. Or, they just tried the excuse that my E-Mail address was obtained via
publicly available means, as though that made spam OK. So I try to avoid such
sites, and I ask people I know to avoid such sites, because a number of those
sites seem to either cull the E-Mail addresses for their own spamming purposes,
or present the E-Mail addresses to others to facilitate spam.
Old 12-03-2003, 06:12 PM   #8
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Thanks for still considering the fact that I'm not a spammer!

Today I've searched with whois to check registered christmas themed domains, and all seem to be owned. This wasn't the case two or three years ago when I first did this...

I clearly don't want to get into any legal hassle, so I called my uncle on the phone & told him that I no longer can send the emails like in the past. I'm just a poor college student, and couldn't afford a lawyer even IF I went to court over something to trivial and stupid.

I'm DEFINITELY not a spammer, as I cannot stand getting all those B.S. emails clogging up my box with cr@p about some poor little female leper with only one arm who will put a curse on me if I don't forward her falsified sob story to 30+ people in my address book!

I'm just somebody who wanted to learn how to send an Email like I have done in the past (I've only sent two emails like this before, they were VERY short ones too), but make it more elaborate in content... There are only so many manual command switches that can be used, and often times the slightest typo will kick you out of the sendmail MTA... So I don't know how someone would manually use sendmail for spamming purposes though... It'd seem easier to spam if you could input a huge LIST of recipients into it. When you're MANUALLY TYPING in commands into sendmail, THERE'S NO WAY anyone would want to MANUALLY type in 30 to 50+ recipient addresses, THEN the message/sales-pitch/young-poor-leper story... That would take WAY too much time in my opinion.

I've checked out the various "Santa Email" sites online, and have come to the conclusion that they're a waste of time/money. Some of them will CHARGE YOU $7.00 to send an email FROM a LOGIN name of "Santa", but the domain name is something COMPLETELY UNRELATED to christmas... What a WASTE of $$. There are also some that do the same thing, but for free... If that's the case, I should just login to my PC as Root, setup a "Santa Claus" login, and send something from "Santa@my.i.p.address", but that's almost just as lame as sending it from one of those commercial santa-related Email sites!

Another one out there says that they'll take your input text, convert it into a PRINTED letter with a "Hand Signature" of santa on christmas stationary, and will mail it to your children! They charge you almost $10 for that B.S. service!!! Any idiot with a color printer and a little imagination can come up with that!

Oh well, "The Munchkins" will have to go without a Santa Email this year.

But thanks for the information regarding further use of Sendmail command switches though. At least I'd know how to do it if I ever wanted to...


PS. Christmas has become WAY too commercialized over the past two decades...


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