[O/T] Re: MailScanner/Sendmail for Dummies??

Mariano Absatz mailscanner at LISTS.COM.AR
Fri Apr 4 23:24:56 IST 2003

El 4 Apr 2003 a las 13:45, Joshua Pickering escribió:

> All,
> I realize that asking for a little help with Sendmail is slightly
> off-topic for this mailing list.  However, I think MailScanner is an
> excellent product (*big* props to you, Julian) and I see the fact that
> you have to wrap your head around Sendmail prior to being able to deploy
> it as being a real Achilles heel to it.  I was born in a Windows world
> and have been steadily making inroads into the land of OpenSource (even
> deploying my first Samba printserver last week).  However, sendmail is a
> beast - a beast that requires a tremendous amount of knowledge to
> configure.  The guy who wrote Sendmail wrote in the forward to the
> O'Reilly book that Sendmail is complicated because 'life is
> complicated.'  With all due respect to him, I see that mentality as
> being one of the biggest obstacles to the OpenSource community.  There
Well... with all due respect to sendmail _and_ Eric Allman, you shouldn't 
take it as an open source reference...

The problem with sendmail is not that it's open source... the problems are 
that 1) it's _very_ old, 2) it tries to do awfully many things... In fact, as 
he says in the bat book preface, he made the configuration flexible to adapt 
to the rapidly changing protocol scene of the 1980's...

Well, for about a decade, the mail protocol scene has calmed down... there's 
little inter-domain mail away from SMTP/ESMTP, so, unless you are still using 
islands of UUCP, BITNET or some other archaic mail protocol/infrastructure, 
you should choose another mail server... or be prepare to study.

I myself use another old (but not-so-old) mail server that also handles UUCP 
and other protocols (http://ZMailer.org), but I wouldn't recommend it to 
anyone that doesn't want to study a lot (even read C code).

If you are up to using an open source mail server, I would suggest either 
Postfix or qmail. If you are in a plain SMTP world (as most of us are), both 
are really powerful, better engineered than sendmail (learnt from its 
mistakes), faster and _really_ easier to learn.

I guess Exim also falls in this category, but I never used it... in fact, it 
_has_ to be easier than sendmail... almost _any_ server is easier to 
configure than sendmail...

The fact that "life is complicated" is a problem if you want to model life... 
but modelling a mail environment (given you don't live in the 1980's) is 
usually easier than life :-)

If you want to use MailScanner you should either use a plain vanilla rpm 
sendmail configuration or opt for Exim...

If you want to see good, clean, open source software, stay away from sendmail 
(or bind, for that matter, another old beast).

> are plenty of people in my position who would love to be able to work
> more with OpenSource Technologies, but are significantly hampered by the
> level of complexity of some of this stuff.  The MailScanner.conf file is
> great - well commented, easy to understand variables and parameters
> (another tip of the hat to Julian).  But the configuration of Sendmail
> is so convoluted that the configuration file has configuration files
> (M4)!  It's like Vi or Emacs - so arcane!  I realize that this type of
> technology is complicated, but configuring it shouldn't have to be.  I
> wish I wrote code so I could contribute more.  However, I think getting
> the configuration of this stuff to the point so that it's manageable to
> someone who doesn't have the bandwidth to learn Sendmail will be the key
> to more widespread adoption of it.
> I am looking to build a RedHat-based
> MailScanner/Sendmail/SpamAssassin/VirusScan box that would sit between
> my T1 and my Exchange server.  For those familiar with it, I would be
> replacing an existing Windows 2000 Server running GFI MailEssentials.
> All email comes in through the T1, is processed by the MailEssentials
> box (virus scanning/content filtering, etc.) and is then passed on to
> the Exchange server.  All outgoing mail is passed to the MailEssentials
> box and delivered from there.  I would imagine this to be a fairly
> common type of configuration, with one of the only major deltas being
> multiple mail servers.
> I would like to propose the following (and will even donate webspace to
> that end) - let's create a repository of common Sendmail configurations,
> MySQL configurations, MTA configurations (e.g. Exchange Server tips)
> with the specific goal of facilitating MailScanner deployments.  I know
> this is not a Sendmail list, but I think there must be plenty of people
> like me who would want to deploy MailScanner but are stopped in their
> tracks by the formidable task of configuring Sendmail.  I would even be
> open to writing and hosting a 'MailScanner for Dummies' type website.
> The docs on the MailScanner site are a great place to start but, IMHO,
> have some holes that need to be filled.  I'd like to help out for the
> common cause in any way I can.
> Anyway, it's just an idea.  I'm not trying to make any enemies here - I
> genuinely want to help out.  Your comments and thoughts are welcomed.
> And, if anyone has any good recommendations for books or sites that help
> simplify the configuration of Sendmail, I'm all ears (or eyes).
> Thanks,
> Joshua Pickering

Mariano Absatz
El Baby
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