Richard, you make some excellent points, some of which I'll respond to,
below... to make this post small and easy to read I'm going to cut out a
lot of your post; I hope you don't think I'm doing it just to quote out
of context; I'm not...
Richard Welty wrote:
> in another posting, Dan Liston makes some comments of his own on qmail vs.
> sendmail. in a different posting, he recommends learning sendmail first.
I also recommend learning sendmail first, but only for users who find it
installed by default in their selected distribution. Why? Simply
because new users need all the documentation they can get, and their
distribution and it's documentation, even thirdparty documentation, will
almost always be for the default MTA.
> Eric Allman, is a smart guy, but that was an early very experimental
> period, and Eric has admitted he didn't expect the program to last 20
> years in the field. he has also said he would have written it
> differently if he'd had any idea (but this is one of those hindsight
But if he truly means that, now that he has a commercial company around
sendmail, why doesn't he <smile>?
> postfix is an attempt to produce a high performance mailer
> with qmail's good features (high speed and sound security model) while
> providing sendmail compatibility that qmail lacks.
Imho, postfix does a good job of it. Unless my memory is faulty,
postfix was/is written/maintained by an IBM employee on payroll, and IBM
knowing supports him and his efforts.
> otherwise, i install exim.
Ah, an exim zeal^H^H^H^Huser. No wonder you're "religious" <wry grin>.
> here there's a tradeoff -- it is often easier to maintain the native MTA,
> as patches and updates will include patches and updates for the MTA. those
> of us who switch have chosen to accept the extra work. some may well prefer
> not to.
Certainly the RH Network will keep sendmail uptodate for you, but every
other MTA I've seen has it's own update "channel" as well.
> 3) what anciliary programs am i interested in running?
> here the issue usually boils down to qmail compatible vs sendmail
> compatible (exim and postfix fall here.)
As you pointed out elsehwere, postfix is quite sendmail compatible.
> 4) how sharp a learning curve do i want?
> if you start with sendmail, and don't have access to a wizard, then you
> need to buy a copy of the bat book, and must expect a steep curve.
Most of us never need the bat book to run sendmail. Another good book
(much easier to read and follow than the bat book) is "Linux Sendmail
Administration" by Craig Hunt, published by Sybex. That's if we're
using linux, of course <smile>.
> the thing is, there's an SMTP learning curve, and an MTA learning curve.
> they should not be confused, although they are necessarily traversed at the
> same time. "sendmail first" is making this curve steeper and additionally
> implies a second MTA learning curve later on, should a person choose to
While there's some truth to this, the fact that most distributions and
most documentation implies sendmail, helps to overcome the curve. If a
newcomer starts with exim it's up to her/him to figure out where the
books are "wrong" and where to look to the exim support community.
> qmail and sendmail are decidedly different in structure and approach. qmail
> is more than a little controversial, not the least of which because its
> author, djb, doesn't particularly care if people like him or not.
> qmail does indeed do very fast delivery. exim and postfix are capable of
> similar delivery rates (exim with minor tweaking, postfix i'm not so sure
> about.) the only hard data i've ever seen shows nearly identical delivery
> graphs for these three mailers. as for sendmail...
How come you didn't finish this sentence? Can you show us any recent
documentation? I agree that the other MTAs have a reputation for being
faster, but I haven't seen them tested lately. In fact, I HAVE
recommended/installed postfix when I felt speed and "lean-ness" were
important, but agian, I'd like to see the "proof".
> djb eschewed certain ESMTP features in qmail; in particular, he doesn't use
> the multiple RCPT TO:<> feature, and if you have 200 different hotmail
> addresses to deliver to, it will open 200 different sessions with hotmail
> to deliver to them. i don't especially like this, and there's an RFC that
> says not to do it, but djb is quite insistent that this is the "one true
> way" to deliver email. YMMV.
Not just my opinion, but a lot of people... the RFCs are more important
than djb. Nevertheless some of my servers run qmail, because they're
running Plesk PSA, which includes qmail.
> djb's MailDir format has some advantages over traditional mbox format for
> delivery of local email.
And some would add make for a more integrated data store for people
> however, for very large installations, an
> integrated mail store like cyrus may be the best approach. note that exim
> and (probably) postfix can deliver to MailDir, and i'd be suprised if
> modern sendmail didn't support it by now.
As Dan has pointed out, sendmail is agnostic when it comes to mail
I really am just a tool user and I try to not be "religious". I've
installed postfix, I currently use both sendmail and qmail, and until
about a year ago I was the Western-Hemisphere distributor of one of the
But for the average beginner, starting with RHL, I'd definitely
recommend staying with sendmail.
Jeff Lasman, nobaloney.net, P. O. Box 52672, Riverside, CA 92517 US
Internet & Unix/Linux/Sun/Cobalt Consulting +1 909 778-9980
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