sendmail newbie question

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Sun Nov 30 09:32:31 PST 2003

On Sun, Nov 30, 2003 at 11:48:18AM -0500, Marty Landman wrote:

> >However on unix systems, user 'Marty' is not
> >automatically the same as user 'marty' or as user 'MARTY'.
> If I understand correctly you're saying that by and large, modern Unix 
> systems are case sensitive but since email is not the mailbox name e.g. 
> 'Marty' is converted to lower case at some point in processing even if 
> mixed case is used by the person sending the email properly wrt the 
> server's config it will still fail unless everything's all lower case 
> because of the case conversion done behind the scenes?

Correct -- although Unix has been case sensitive since way back.

> >It is possible to set up sendmail to preserve the case of usernames
> >but doing so would mean your mail system wouldn't be standards
> >compliant, so I'll keep quiet on the issue -- unless anyone really
> >does have a burning desire to know how?
> Not me, because that would mean Marty at localhost would be a different 
> address than marty at localhost, right? I have to agree that this is not imo a 
> good thing.

As I said above, trying to make your username mixed case will give you
grief with e-mail.  However, it's pretty easy to have an all lower
case username and make your e-mail address appear in whatever case you
want, so long as the system can map them back to your username in
order to do final delivery.

For sendmail, you'ld use genericstable to do the username -> e-mail
address translation on the outgoing messages and either aliases or
virtusertable to translate e-mail address -> username on the incoming

Just add:

FEATURE(genericstable, `hash -o /etc/mail/genericstable')dnl

to your /etc/mail/`hostname`.mc (assuming you're starting by copying
/etc/mail/, which already has virtusertable enabled).

Then create a file /etc/mail/genericstable containing:

    marty    Marty

(LHS is the username, RHS is the e-mail address: you can use the fully
qualified Marty at style if you want, or
M.Landman at WhereEver.ORG).

See aliases(5) for the syntax of the aliases file.  virtusertable is
just like genericstable except the columns are reversed and the e-mail
address has to have an @... part:

    Marty at   marty

Then run:

    # cd /etc/mail
    # make
    # make install
    # make restart-mta



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       26 The Paddocks
                                                      Savill Way
PGP:         Marlow
Tel: +44 1628 476614                                  Bucks., SL7 1TH UK
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