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Postfix 161

honestpuck writes "After many years bashing my head against sendmail in all it's gory details I had amassed a fair amount of knowledge and documentation on handling the Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) in Linux and Mac OS X. This caused a fair amount of teeth gnashing when I discovered it had gone the way of all flesh in OS X Panther to be replaced with Postfix." To un-gnash his teeth, honestpuck used Kyle D. Dent's Postfix: The Definitive Guide (published by O'Reilly); read on for his review of the book.
Postfix: The Definitive Guide
author Kyle D. Dent
pages 260
publisher O'Reilly and Associates
rating 8/10 - Excellent book, a little thin on details in a few places
reviewer Tony Williams
ISBN 0596002122
summary An excellent guide to installing, configuring and running Postfix

Fortunately, my first needs were simple and I came to realise that Postfix was a much easier system to install and maintain. Now that my needs are more complex, I was glad when this book hit my desk at exactly the same time as I started upgrading the corporate servers from Mac OS 9 to OS X Server.

Postfix: The Definitive Guide seems to fit the bill. It is a well-written and well-constructed guide to mail systems in general and Postfix in particular. (Oh, and speaking of definitive, could someone at O'Reilly provide a definitive answer to both reviewers and their own editors as to that colon? This is the second 'Definitive Guide' I've reviewed in as many months, and they are sprinkled with instances of each book's title, sometimes including that colon, sometimes leaving it out.)

The book starts with a good overview of the underlying technology in Chapters 1 and 2. I can't blame Dent for my slight confusion in the section on addresses and headers - having RFC822 superseded by RFC2822 was just a little too much coincidence for this particular "bear of little brain." He then follows it with a chapter discussing Postfix's architecture, important since Postfix uses a much more modular approach than the sendmail monolith, with each part of the mail handling process a different executable and the single queue turned into five.

Once the background is well covered, Dent then gets onto the nitty-gritty of configuring and administering Postfix. He has certainly covered everything I needed, including spam handling, multiple domains, relaying, SASL authentication and using LDAP. Once I'd finished grokking all that, and getting it integrated into my servers, I had a corporate email system up in three sites that replaced and improved upon a couple of thousand dollars worth of proprietary dreck. Happy is an understatement.

Dent's writing is sometimes a little patchy, though never bad. The technical detail does seem overpowering in places, though, and I occasionally found myself reading a section through more than once with a configuration file open in front of me. There are certainly spots where a little more hand holding and care with the writing would have been appreciated. (If you are a little more cognizant of the interstices of mail systems then you may not have the same problem.)

I did, however, appreciate the appendices enormously. The four appendices cover configuration parameters, Postfix commands, installation, and an FAQ. My system came with Postfix compiled and installed just as I required it so I didn't get a chance to thoroughly test out Dent's installation procedure (though it looks good); the other three continue to be useful.

If you want to have a look for yourself, then the usual O'Reilly page is complete with a table of contents and index, but this time no example chapter is provided (how come, O'Reilly?). You can also get an expanded version of the FAQ in Appendix 4 from Dent's website. A better example of Dent's writing style is an excellent article on troubleshooting with Postfix logs at O'Reilly's

This is an excellent book, Dent has explained the underlying methodology and use of Postfix well, taken the reader through all aspects of this MTA system and explained both the why and the how. I would recommend this book (and, as a result Postfix) to anyone looking for an MTA and a guide to configuring and running it.

You can purchase Postfix: The Definitive Guide from Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Comments Filter:
  • Postfix Enabler (Score:5, Informative)

    by momerath2003 ( 606823 ) * on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:15PM (#8401750) Journal
    Mac OS X users can find a cool, donation-ware (read: non-crippleware) GUI for the buil-in postfix server, Postfix Enabler []. It allows some advanced configuration of the postfix server.

    It has some handy instructions for setting up Mac OS X's to interface with the Postfix server as well.
  • by Chuck Bucket ( 142633 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:18PM (#8401782) Homepage Journal
    after admin'ing sendmail for two years, I switched to Postfix a month ago, and wow, what a difference. recommended, and I'd think a book would only be needed for someone that was deploying this in a large organization.

  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:24PM (#8401835) Homepage Journal
    ...but comparing how complex sendmail configuration is, and how simple is it to configure Postfix, does a guy who ate his teeth on Sendmail really need -a book- to learn something SO much easier?
    (while Sendmail config file reminds raw binary, Postfix is all easy, understandable and well commented options)
    • Does anybody edit directly?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Yes. I do.

        I tend to make a ridiculous number of changes to the .mc file, but inevitably I find one or two things that are just easier to change in .cf.

        • editting (Score:5, Informative)

          by MrChuck ( 14227 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @08:00PM (#8403200)
          I've made a LOT of money taking people's old sendmail configs and turning them into managable m4s. Esp when 4-5 system admins have passed through and just made "a little tweak."

          Postfix seems ok, I'd recommend it for folks setting up straightforward machines who didn't know sendmail

          But people whine that "sendmail is too complex" and at the same time they WANT complex things to happen.

          I had a guy come up to me at an event and shout:
          Guy: Sendmail is too hard.
          Guy: and is there any way to make it only send large (> 1MB) messages out after 7PM when my ISDN rates are lower?
          sure. 5 lines in your m4 file.

 is a binary. It is intended to be read and parsed quickly by a binary. Sendmail still runs on 4MB Sun 3 machines. You don't edit /bin/ls to effect a change there, you edit "ls.c".
          Similarly, you edit the .mc file to effect a change in the .cf.

          More, when sendmail changes major revisions (eg. you fianlly move from Sendmail 8.8 to 8.12), you regen your .cf and, barring some minor changes to remove defunct features or take advantage of new ones, you have a new working .cf file. You can't just move a 8.8 cf file to an 8.12 machine and expect it to work well and use new features.

          Having worked on HUNDREDS or THOUSANDS of config files (one set went onto 10,000 machines at a site), there's NOTHING you can do in the .cf that can't be done in the .mc.

          That said, the rule language is painfully ... complex? No, just the opposite. It's painfully simple. My experience with 6502 assm and a BASIC that had neither ELSE nor AND/OR options helped to make me really good at writing sendmail rules.

          Dealing with booleans (just to ruleset^Wsubroutine saving buffer, put time in buffer.
          Is message less than 1MB? then return
          is time after 1900 hrs? Yes? return dsmtp.
          Is time < 700 hrs? Yes? return dsmtp.
          Otherwise just return.
          In calling routine, look for return value and if it's dsmtp, put the saved buffer to the dsmtp mailer. Otherwise continue with the saved buffer.

          Hard? No, not really.

          Painful? You betcha. I'd love to have variables and ANDs and ELSEs. I've taken to putting complex logic in a perl milter at the RCPT TO phase and calling it a day.

          sub choosemailer {
          if ((($time > 1900) || ($time < 700)) && $size > 1MB) THEN $mailer=dsmtp

          But the rulesets are just read by a parser. It's not rocket science (just computer science).

          It would be nice to have (perl) regex's and such built in.

          And that's where Postfix starts to have an advantage. I can live without UUCP for that. I'd just hope that new sendmail versions might rethink the whole language for processing mail. It's good to have competition. (qmail2 also looks promising to raise the envelope).

          But lets just recall that's its not about Sendmail vs postfix vs exim vs qmail.

          It's any of these VS Exchange/Notes/Gropewise. And we're losing.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            It would be nice to have (perl) regex's and such built in.

            Postfix supports PCRE (perl-compatible regular expression) and plain regexps

            And that's where Postfix starts to have an advantage. I can live without UUCP for that.

            Postfix supports UUCP

          • I can vouch for this guy and his sendmail work - he is a miracle worker. He transformed the sendmail config's for a 2,000 + person company that I was at. If you are required to use sendmail, it might save you alot of headaches to have him sculpt your config. A real old school UNIX freak, an artist in the sendmail medium...
      • by zulux ( 112259 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:50PM (#8402086) Homepage Journal
        Configuring sendmail is easy!

        dd if=/dev/random of=./

        then hit Ctrl-C when you think you have enough configuring done. Small installs need about 30 seconds, enterprise installs need a few minuites.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        For our internal clients I have a hand written files that does some simple checks and then forwards it to our central server.
      • Is that so hard to believe? :-) Note: that was before I switched to Qmail.
      • Well, yes... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by devphil ( 51341 )

        ...those of us with a very early Slackware box (which came with sendmail but no sendmail docs) didn't know that there was such a thing as the M4 files. We had some helpful comments in the .cf file for what the lines did, but that was it.

        When we did find docs, it was just for the .cf file, not the installation-and-regeneration docs. (Which didn't really exist then.)

        I became very good at editing, and then came the day, years later, when I had to do it from absolute scratch, and downloaded t

    • by M. Silver ( 141590 ) <silver@phoenyxGI ... minus herbivore> on Thursday February 26, 2004 @09:01PM (#8403696) Homepage Journal
      We bought the book, since we're switching from Sendmail to Postfix Real Soon Now, and you're right. We really didn't need it. "Thin on details" meant, for me, "thin on all the details that were the whole reason for buying the book instead of just reading MAN PAGES. GEEZ!"

      It's a nice, well-written book. It just should have been "Learning Postfix." And then I would have known not to buy it.

      "Practical mod_perl" is another misnamed book. It's really "Practical[ly everything you could ever need to know about running an Internet server that happens to have] mod_perl [on it.]" Heck, I bet it'll tell me how to run Postfix in the next chapter or so. In more depth than the Postfix book.

  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:25PM (#8401839) Homepage
    I thought everyone without a huge legacy setup had switched from the archaic sendmail to something decent like postfix, or qmail long ago.

    A few years ago I simply wanted to re-write my host.domain.tld address on outgoing email to be simply host.tld. I bawked at the stupidities of learning a crappy sendmail language, then re-compiling it into yet another crappy language just to do this. A friend told me about postfix, and I've never looked back. I think only the massochistic, or those hopelessly lost in a legacy sendmail mess use sendmail these days.
    • by chef_raekwon ( 411401 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:30PM (#8401895) Homepage
      I thought everyone without a huge legacy setup had switched from the archaic sendmail to something decent like postfix, or qmail long ago.

      am i the only dork that decided to learn sendmail, and now have no issue with its configuration??
      sheesh. i didnt think it was that hard -- ofcourse, i can see its complexity with a huge organization...but once its setup up, count on never having to touch it until an exploit is found (and these days, it seems rare for sendmail).
      oh well....
      back to that cf file.
      • > am i the only dork that decided to learn sendmail, > and now have no issue with its configuration??

        No, you aren't. sendmail just works. Oh, and I
        badly failed trying to configure postfix.
      • Nope, I use sendmail, and am quite happy with it. Been using it for about 10 years or so now.

      • Nope learned it loved it and if you want a nice GUI buy it. Will people never learn if they want a nice happy easy sendmail you can buy it. The guys that write it sell a nice administration front end. It even handles multiple instances on various boxen so it scales ok to enterprise and ISP settings. Why does everybody bitch that sendmail is hard to setup does everybody just dred the idea of forking out a hundred bucks for a nice front end to a mail server thats been around the block and is about as defacto a standard as they come?

        OK I may just be jaded because sendmail has gotten me though some tough times and nasty issues at a time when uucp was still common.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      If you have a complex setup, it is easier to modify a file with your specific settings, and use M4 to push those settings into the "real" config file. This is fairly future-proof.
      I'm not saying it is the best way, but there was a reason.
    • by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @07:08PM (#8402736)
      I thought everyone without a huge legacy setup had switched from the archaic sendmail to something decent like postfix, or qmail long ago.

      I would never run qmail, and wouldn't recommend anyone use qmail.

      Any program that just dies with the error message "cannot start: hath the daemon spawn no fire?" doesn't belong in an enterprise server.
  • honestpuck (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:26PM (#8401854)
    I had always wondered how he managed to have so much time to read all these different books, and then on top of reading them, writing a pretty nice review of it.. the following line explains it all to me:

    I was glad when this book hit my desk at exactly the same time as I started upgrading the corporate servers from Mac OS 9 to OS X Server

    And I'm posting this anonymously because I know there are many of you who wondered the very same thing.. ;)
  • Postfix shortcomings (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lxy ( 80823 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:29PM (#8401887) Journal
    I have also read this book, reviewed it, and submitted it. Obviously honestpuck is more interesting than me, and I can accept that :-).

    Good book, but even with Kyle's help I still can't get procmail working with postfix. Postfix has its own filtering mechanism, including spam filtering. It doesn't seem to allow 3rd party apps like procmail and spamassassin to play with it, though. I can't find info on Gogole either. Is anyone using procmail or spamassassin with postfix?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Check out this article.... x
    • by boobsea ( 728173 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:34PM (#8401945) Journal
      Didn't google very well did you?

      here you go: m []

      Good luck.
      mailbox_command = /usr/bin/procmail -p
      smtp inet n - n - - smtpd -o content_filter=spamfilter
      spamfilter unix - n n - - pipe flags=Rq user=spam argv=/usr/local/sbin/ -f ${sender} -- ${recipient}

      Both of which are documented in files linked to from
    • by Howard Beale ( 92386 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:39PM (#8401997)
      I used this article as the basis for my smtp gateway and it works fairly well:

    • Trust me spamass and procmail and anything else you can write will work with postfix, this is an awesome MTA and comes with builtin chroot support. Look into the file, there lays all your answers concerning procmail and spamass.
    • by jtosburn ( 63943 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:45PM (#8402045)
      Postfix is both well documented, and well supported. From the well commented :
      # The mailbox_command parameter specifies the optional external

      # command to use instead of mailbox delivery.
      [some snipping]
      #mailbox_command = /some/where/procmail
      #mailbox_command = /some/where/procmail -a "$EXTENSION"

      So not enabled by default, but easily remedied if you absolutely MUST have procmail. You can also enable it on a per-user basis by leaving those lines commented, and then using a .forward file in your home directory that calls procmail.

      As for playing with spamassassin or other 3rd party programs, no problem. A quick check of the Documentation page [] at reveals all kinds of good info. The consensus on postfix-users is to use amavisd-new, and then call antivirus and/or spam filters from there.

      Good luck!
    • You can also use amavisd. In addition to running your mail through spamassassin, this approach also lets you throw a virus scanner into the mix.

      here's a link []
    • by Anonymous Coward

      # add at beginning
      smtp inet n - n - - smtpd
      -o content_filter=filter:dummy

      # add at end
      filter unix - n n - - pipe
      flags=R user=filter argv=/usr/local/bin/ -f ${sender} -- ${recipient}

      # filter shell looks somthing like:
      cat > inp.$$ $FILTER < inp.$$ > msg.$$
      exec $POSTFIX "$@" <
    • by Hayzeus ( 596826 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @06:18PM (#8402266) Homepage
      To avoid duplicating the zillion responses you shall receive pointing out that you can use procmail directly as the delivery agent (google or just check, I'll just point out postfix also honors sendmail .forward files as well, allowing procmail to be invoked that way as well. If you were invoking procmail this way using sendmail, you should have to make 0 changes when you switch to postfix. The only thing I've seen it break so far is the majordomo approval function, and this is covered in the faq.
  • "...upgrading the corporate servers from Mac OS 9 to..."

    yeah.. that was about where I gave up on this review. Anyone that runs MacOS 9 as a server ... not someone I think I'd be taking advice from for my network.

    • dont blame the tech for what bones management decided to throw at him

      our servers are mostly OS9 as well because the old computers migrate into servers and our office is mostly mac-based (blame the person who's name is on the company for making that decision 15 years ago)

      I'd rather hear from someone who has a tough situation and how they figured a way out of it than from someone who has all the resources they want
      • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @06:03PM (#8402162) Journal
        Classic MacOS systems aren't bad servers for low intensity use. They're extremely secure, for one thing, and the available server software packages were pretty good and very straightforward to use. Quite a few places ran their DNS and mailserver off an old Mac SE for well into the Internet age.

        Anyway, who better to write a review of an introductory Postfix book than an admin just switching to Unix?

      • our office is mostly mac-based (blame the person who's name is on the company for making that decision 15 years ago)

        I'd file that under "You all thought I was crazy, but who's laughing now?" I'm at the tail end of a migration of my own business from mostly Windows with one Mac and one Linux box, to a mix of OS X and Linux and a legacy Windows box... and lovin' it.

        On the topic of Postfix, I switched from Sendmail (which I'd been tinkering with for a few years) to Postfix when I switched from RedHat to M

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:40PM (#8402009)
      I was in the middle of upgrading my corporate database server to Access 2000, but had to stop and type this post to wholeheartedly agree with you.
    • I can think of several reasons that MacOS might be needed as a server... Largeish publishing house using Quark Express comes to mind... it was only released for OSX, what, 6 months ago? For most corperations of any size, that's moving pretty quick.

      Besides, remember that even those you consider to be stupid often have good advice. This is one of those instances. Postfix is wonderful. Simple, secure, fast, powerful, extensible... Weitze did an amazing job writing it. He was the guy who wrote TCPWrappers
    • by CharAznable ( 702598 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:44PM (#8402032)
      You'd be surprised.. OS 9 is a very secure OS.. there is no root shell to spawn after smashing the stack, for instance.
    • by Shisha ( 145964 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:52PM (#8402101) Homepage
      Somehow, I have the feeling that you have never been in charge of anything than your home network.

      Sorry that's just my impression, but a matter of fact is that IT managers don't allow willy/nilly upgrades. In fact the chances are that in real life, you're managing something that was not designed by you. So you have to put up with whatever is there. And if it works... sort of ... then you'll find it hard to persuade anyone to bless an upgrade.

      Same goes for coding; you take over project someone else has started and it might well be that you'll find yourself learning COBOL. You think that writing a CPU simulator in Java is stupid and inefficient; who cares we want it to run faster and you do whatever is needed to make that happen. That's life.

      Ever seen an S390? Do you know how much IBM charges for fixing these? Do you have an idea how slow they are? But just taking the risk of upgrading to something new usually isn't worth it in real life.

      Btw. he wasn't giving any advice on running a network, just a book review.
      • Ah... the 390. Brings back memories... We got to write assembler for them back in college. real pieces of shit. They had some freakish 24-bit memory model and 16 GPR's (i think it was 16 of them) that weren't really GPR's 'cause they had assigned roles. God... if anyone other than IBM had created that monstrosity it would have sank...

        Anyhoo.. back to my reply: I was merely make a pun at the expensive of MacOS 9. IMHO OSX is the only decent MacOS ever. All the others were terrible; cooperative multit

    • Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <> on Thursday February 26, 2004 @06:45PM (#8402502)
      There are still quite a few Mac OS 9 servers - running Webstar or AppleShare IP, or maybe even Eudora Internet Mail Server.

      It's actually not a bad platform at all and can be quite reliable.
  • Postfix? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:33PM (#8401932)
    / | \
    m / u
    / \
    t s
    / \ / \
    o d h i
  • Begun now (Score:3, Funny)

    by LittleLebowskiUrbanA ( 619114 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:34PM (#8401939) Homepage Journal
    the great Qmail/Postfix flame war has.
  • by hey ( 83763 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:34PM (#8401942) Journal
    It has no impossible-to-understand langauge, the options have reasonable names, they do what they suggest... it just works.
  • by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:38PM (#8401984)
    to the dustbin of history the better.

    Q. Why does the 'sendmail book' have a bat on the cover?

    A. The diet of the North American brown bat is principally composed of bugs. Sendmail is a software package principally composed of bugs.


    A. Bat guano is a source of ammonium nitrate, a principal ingredient of things that blow up in your face, like sendmail.

    (And many others, courtesy of 'the unix haters handbook' (worth a read)).

    Obviously, the people who designed the sendmail configuration file system can't have been smoking crack, it wasn't invented back then.

    So what was it that they were on? LSD?

    • It's widely been a subject of suspicious conjecture that Sendmail was written at the University of Berkeley shortly after LSD was invented in the same university.

      I have Postfix on a box at my work here, and am loving it...too bad Sendmail on the production systems, its hacked by dozens of admins before me, will never go away. If you wonder why, try working for a federal government bureaucracy and making any change whatsoever to the status quo.

    • About (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Crag ( 18776 )
      This is pure conjecture on my part, but I suspect the syntax (and I use the word loosely) of the file was evolved for ease of parsing via whatever code originally implemented sendmail. It's very nearly a binary format.

      I'm no sendmail appologizer, but the only time anyone should be messing with .cf files is when they're writing new recipies. The sendmail.m4 file is dead simple to work with.

      As for me, I've been using qmail since '97 and I recommend it to anyone with the patience to change the
      • Re:About (Score:2, Interesting)

        by thogard ( 43403 )
        Sendmail is the only existing MTA that can do hacks like SPF with just changes to the config file.

        Since sendmail may have been started with inetd on a slow machine, was designed to be very fast to parse. How fast? A decade ago the parser could do millions of lines a second on fast hardware for the day. Thats not a major deal now but it did help on a pdp11 or an early vax.

        Sendmail is not static and its still evolving. It was the 1st open source program that worked around insecure OS bugs an
        • Sendmail is the only existing MTA that can do hacks like SPF with just changes to the config file.

          I'm not sure about that, exim has a dnsdb database type that it can apply lookups too so one ought to be able to get an SPF lookup in pure exim config.

          the standard exim SPF config does use the perl daemon (that comes with SPF) for ease of coding though.

          while I'm sure there are things that endmail can do which other mta's can't, how many of those things are required? while i can't speak for postfix or qmail
          • how many of those things are required

            Perhaps the question should be how many of those things are required nowadays?

            Back in 1989, being able to translate DecMail addresses to RFC822 was a very useful feature. Nowadays, it's so arcane I doubt if anyone who reads this has actually done it. But sendmail still can.

  • Next book to buy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dimss ( 457848 )
    This is next book to buy. I like postfix. Five years (or so) ago it was unknown rpm that came with fetchmail in Mandrake. Now I use it on all of my mail servers. And I use it for free.
  • by Mysticalfruit ( 533341 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @05:56PM (#8402122) Homepage Journal
    I recently bought it from [] and it was cheap!

    Disclaimer: My buddy works at bookpool (but their prices really are great!)

    I've been using this book to migrate our existing sendmail gobbilygook mailsystem to a sane well documented postfix system and I've found the book to be a great help as I've had to do a one to one comparision between sendmail and postfix for configuration stuff.

    Plus Dent's writing style is excellent and the book is well laid out.

  • by Bender Unit 22 ( 216955 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @06:01PM (#8402152) Journal
    Postfix, it just works!
  • by b1t r0t ( 216468 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @06:01PM (#8402154)
    I already had a nice M4 file with a working configuration, and wanted to move from Linux to Panther. It was simple. Just compile it on a 10.2 box.

    Sendmail was incompatible with xcode, probably because of the latest version of GCC. I just checked, and it seems to have been fixed in 8.12.11. At the time it was easier to find a 10.2 box than to dig up the compiler switch command and remember to switch it back afterwards.

  • by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <> on Thursday February 26, 2004 @06:48PM (#8402532)
    Richard Blum wrote one - it's now quite outdated.

    Ralf Hildebrandt & someone else (sorry, forgot who) are working on another very current Postfix book as well. Keep an eye on for it.

    I've also read the O'Reilly Postfix book and found it to contain a lot of information. It's nice to have around.
  • by fanatic ( 86657 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @06:50PM (#8402550)
    This caused a fair amount of teeth gnashing when I discovered it had gone the way of all flesh in OS X Panther to be replaced with Postfix

    I replaced sendmail wwith postfix on all my non-isiolated machines last year after the sendmail vulnerability-of-the-week treadmill got very old.

    it was *really* simple to do.

    postfix: the ultimate sendmail patch.

  • The Chronicle [] has an article by Jennifer Jacobson on the possible evil of colons in book titles. It seems that it's hard to impossible to print a book these days without one. The article contains a small joke about colonoscopies."

    I found the article referenced by Arts & Letters Daily [].

  • Postfix for speed (Score:4, Informative)

    by hanksdc ( 20950 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @08:58PM (#8403663) Homepage
    While a lot of the comments here (at least those +3 and above) mention Postfix's ease of management vs. that of Sendmail, one point that hasn't received a lot of attention is how the two compare in terms of efficiency. My experience with Sendmail in a high-load environment tells me it's a monolithic, bloated, resource pig. But that was when I was still somewhat new to the admin game, so I'm sure with some expertise it can be tuned.

    Postfix, on the other hand, 'out of the box' was wonderful, (not to mention easy to use) and when I learned to tune things like filesystem parameters, optimal disk subsystem layout, and such it only got better. Our Postfix installation where I work continues to amaze me with how much mail it processes each day, with little or no maintenance, even under heavy load (1M+ incoming messages/day between 5 dual-CPU, 2-disk SCSI PIII-class machines). My gut feeling is that with some beefier boxes, and a pile of disks I could get that down to 2 machines handling the same amount of traffic.

    Another plus for Postfix is its flexibility, and, if you need to get so deep, its hackability. The code is extremely clean, modular, and easy to work with.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    No one has mentioned the great mysql integration. That was what turned me on to Postfix. The domain info can be stored in MySQL. Combine with Cyrus IMAP/POP (and the MySQL PAM module), I can run almost my entire hosting busines without real system users.

    Virtual users with mysql ROCK! Add a record in mysql,
    and a couple folders on the server(via cron jobs that also check the MYSQL database) and voila!

    I don't like to plug my business on slashdot, so I'll post anonymously, but this setup has worked wonde
    • One better... :)

      I had also known Sendmail was a little tedious to learn. My main job is software development, but we are a small company so I multi task as system admin for about 10 systems, mostly Linux with a couple of internal windows systems.

      None of the email systems are REAL painful to get working, even Sendmail. I can learn and understand these types of things easily with the years of experience I have. The thing is in a small company I have to squeeze every minute I can out of a day because my time
  • postfix (Score:3, Informative)

    by oohp ( 657224 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @03:25AM (#8406021) Homepage
    Postfix is very good and not crippled by stupid DJB style "licenses" like qmail. I'm using in on all my boxes (FreeBSD, Linux) and one of them delivers large amounts of mail. Very fast delivery, supports all kinds of stuff (maildirs, MySQL, LDAP, delivery to Cyrus, etc.) has some builtin unsolicited bulk email controls and some resource controls and it doesn't require 1e13 users on the system like qmail does. I'm surprised people still use Sendmail (and argue that it's somehow "better"). Very cool piece of software. I'd like to thank Wietse Venema and IBM for it.

    Some would argue about the license (especially BSD people who also argue about GPL being not liberal enough) but it's OSI approved so most arguments are vapour.
    • One of the most annoying things about qmail/DJB is the unwillingness to accept what the community sees as necessary feature patches.

      Just having gotten postfix/sasl/tls/auth going, I have to say, it's not sensible that postfix ships without the TLS functionality. It was easy once I found the patches, and maybe I missed something, but it took me a while to realize it wasn't bundled by default. Anybody know why this is?

      It's just not a good idea to setup a mailserver today for most users without supporting
  • by frankie_guasch ( 164676 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @03:53AM (#8406123)

    here [] is a fine guide to build a Fairly-Secure Anti-SPAM Gateway Using OpenBSD, Postfix, Amavisd-new, SpamAssassin, Razor and DCC.

    You can follow the steps and build it with Linux too. This entire procedure has been developed with security as a primary focus. These are the main tools it shows:

  • by h3 ( 27424 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @06:40AM (#8406571) Homepage Journal
    I've long wished that Wietse Venema would turn his attention next to a replacement for BIND. Can you imagine it? I get wistful thinking about it.

    In this day and age of DNS and MTAs synergizing [] to combat spam, it kind of makes some sense, doesn't it?

    I use tinydns myself but the DJB way has also irked me. Which is why I turned to postfix after evaluating qmail long ago. sendmail's security problems and horrid config made it out of the question.

    Kinda like BIND. Though the config isn't as bad as (and tinydns's data file is about as bad), I'd like to see what Wietse would come up with...


"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger