just something that came up while setting up a monitoring script using mailx, figured ill note it down here so i can get it to easily later when I need it 😀

Important prerequisites

  • You need to enable smtp basic Auth on Office 365 for the account used for authentication
  • Create an App password for the user account
  • nssdb folder must be available and readable by the user running the mailx command

Assuming all of the above prerequisite are $true we can proceed with the setup

Install mailx

RHEL/Alma linux

sudo dnf install mailx

NSSDB Folder

make sure the nssdb folder must be available and readable by the user running the mailx command

certutil -L -d /etc/pki/nssdb

The Output might be empty, but that’s ok; this is there if you need to add a locally signed cert or another CA cert manually, Microsoft Certs are trusted by default if you are on an up to date operating system with the local System-wide Trust Store

Reference – RHEL-sec-shared-system-certificates

Configure Mailx config file

sudo nano /etc/mail.rc

Append/prepend the following lines and Comment out or remove the same lines already defined on the existing config files

set smtp=smtp.office365.com
set smtp-auth-user=###[email protected]###
set smtp-auth-password=##Office365-App-password#
set nss-config-dir=/etc/pki/nssdb/
set ssl-verify=ignore
set smtp-use-starttls
set from="###[email protected]###"

This is the bare minimum needed other switches are located here – link


echo "Your message is sent!" | mailx -v -s "test" [email protected]

-v switch will print the verbos debug log to console

Connecting to . . . connected.
220 xxde10CA0031.outlook.office365.com Microsoft ESMTP MAIL Service ready at Sun, 6 Aug 2023 22:14:56 +0000
>>> EHLO vls-xxx.multicastbits.local
250-MN2PR10CA0031.outlook.office365.com Hello []
250-SIZE 157286400
220 2.0.0 SMTP server ready
>>> EHLO vls-xxx.multicastbits.local
250-xxde10CA0031.outlook.office365.com Hello []
250-SIZE 157286400
334 VXNlcm5hbWU6
>>> Zxxxxxxxxxxxc0BmdC1zeXMuY29t
334 UGsxxxxxmQ6
>>> c2Rxxxxxxxxxxducw==
235 2.7.0 Authentication successful
>>> MAIL FROM:<###[email protected]###>
250 2.1.0 Sender OK
>>> RCPT TO:<[email protected]>
250 2.1.5 Recipient OK
>>> DATA
354 Start mail input; end with <CRLF>.<CRLF>
>>> .
250 2.0.0 OK <[email protected]> [Hostname=Bsxsss744.namprd11.prod.outlook.com]
>>> QUIT
221 2.0.0 Service closing transmission channel 

Now you can use this in your automation scripts or timers using the mailx command


recipient="[email protected]"
subject="Log file from /etc/app/runtime.log"

# Check if the log file exists
if [ ! -f "$log_file" ]; then
  echo "Error: Log file not found: $log_file"
  exit 1

# Use mailx to send the log file as an attachment
echo "Sending log file..."
mailx -s "$subject" -a "$log_file" -r "[email protected]" "$recipient" < /dev/null
echo "Log file sent successfully."

Secure it

sudo chown root:root /etc/mail.rc
sudo chmod 600 /etc/mail.rc

The above commands change the file’s owner and group to root, then set the file permissions to 600, which means only the owner (root) has read and write permissions and other users have no access to the file.

Use Environment Variables: Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords directly in the mail.rc file, consider using environment variables for sensitive data and reference those variables in the configuration.

For example, in the mail.rc file, you can set:

set smtp-auth-password=$MY_EMAIL_PASSWORD

You can set the variable using another config file or store it in the Ansible vault during runtime or use something like Hashicorp.

Sure, I would just use Python or PowerShell core, but you will run into more locked-down environments like OCI-managed DB servers with only Mailx is preinstalled and the only tool you can use 🙁

the Fact that you are here means you are already in the same boat. Hope this helped… until next time

Use Mailx to send emails using office 365

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