Postfix and network biopair interop: error reading x bytes from the network: connection reset by peer

Lately I have been getting “network biopair interop: error reading x bytes from the network: connection reset by peer” in my mail server logs, and my email client unable to send. My email client is Thunderbird configured to send via TLS. Googling the error doesn’t reveal very much other than it’s probably a transient network error/problem, or a broken TLS implementation at the client end, and that developers can be snooty. This is the second time I’ve had the problem. The first time I just disabled TLS and enabled CRAM-MD5 password authentication, so at least the password is sent encrypted. Today I decided to get serious, and find an ultimate answer to the problem.

Trawling through the various mailing lists reveals that “network biopair”, whatever that is, has been removed from Postfix as of December 2010, v2.8. Admittedly a bit of a long shot, I decided “what the hey” upgrading to Postfix 2.8 isn’t going to make things any worse, and it may sort the problem out.

The next problem then was how to upgrade to version 2.8, my mail server runs as part of an LXC container. Upgrading LXC containers is difficult because new versions of upstart, udev, ifupdown et al like to recreate device nodes, change init scripts and what not. Assuming you’re able to successfully complete the upgrade you will still probably be left with a container which doesn’t boot properly, or at all. I was hoping to stay with Lucid Lynx in the container, until support runs out, in the hope that the LXC boys would have made upgrades smoother by then, but how could I easily update to version 2.8 without either running from source, or running the gauntlet of the container upgrade? Further googling revealed that version 2.8 is available via backports so in /etc/apt/sources.list I added the following line and upgraded:-

deb lucid-backports main restricted universe multiverse

It’s too early to say whether the problem is completely fixed. If it isn’t I will remove this post!

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