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Strange Conclusion

Strange Conclusion

Posted Aug 31, 2006 6:22 UTC (Thu) by ctg (guest, #3459)
Parent article: A comparison of Mail Transfer Agents - Part Two

From reading the article, particularly the scoring system; I found the conclusion to be a bit counter intuitive.

For what it is worth:

[I've used sendmail, postfix and qmail extensively. I no longer use sendmail, but still use postfix/qmail depending on the application.]

qmail - qmail isn't that hard to set up and manage. It is a bit different, but the are plenty of resources to help you get going, plus some simple installation scripts. I would give it a 2 or 3 on that score.

qmail's downfall is also its strength. It is very very simple, and almost simplistic. It can't do all the magic things you might need to do - but its simplicity makes it good from a security point of view - simple set of well defined functions, nicely broken down into separate processes. My "use case" for qmail is a front line email server, attached to the internet, doing simple relaying - into which I add AV and anti-spam. My qmail setups always relay on to another machine on the internal network.

For this mode of use the qmail install/config is completely trivial - the only changes to be made is a one line entry to the file which contains the list of "Known" domains, and the one which tells which internal server to route those domains to. In use qmail just gets on with it.

sendmail - sendmail is really hard to manage - unless you stick to cookbook examples - working with the m4 files is hard enough, but to directly manipulate the .cf file is something else.

postfix - postfix has a rich set up - and is very comprehensive, so you have to study the manual too. I think a 2 or 3 for postfix - certainly it is a bit more complex to maintain than qmail - which becomes trivial after it has been installed.

I use postfix were qmail doesn't have the necessary features - typically on an internal network, in conjunction with cyrus-imapd - at the point where the email system needs managing (defining aliases, routing rules etc, controlling the queue).

I've looked at exim, but never seen a compelling reason to switch from postfix.

Conclusion
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The tools are different, and apply themselves to different situations - it's great to have the choice and to use the best tool for the job.


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Minor corrections...

Posted Aug 31, 2006 7:38 UTC (Thu) by nigelm (subscriber, #622) [Link]

Damn exim got there fast as a sendmail replacement... or maybe it didn't start in 1982 after all. [1995/6 would be a better timeline - in fact all of the sendmail replacements here started within 2 years of each other].

Personally I would ignore qmail due to licensing/maintenance issues. Postfix and exim are both good systems. I happen to have worked on exim for a long time including serious multi-million user installations, so know it better than Postfix, so I am biased by what I know.

If you want to work on personalities, both Wietse and Philip are great people - courteous, helpful and willing to give good explanations as to how and why. Unfortunately that does not hold for some of the other systems.

My experiences of sendmail are biased by sendmail 5.x


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