Any suggestions for a MTA for a new admin?

Gerard Seibert gerard-seibert at
Fri Aug 12 22:20:30 GMT 2005

On Thu, 11 Aug 2005 21:34:53 -0700 Ted Mittelstaedt
<tedm at> wrote:

> Sendmail, of course.
> Postfix and qmail and the others were written by people
> aiming to simplify the MTA because they either couldn't
> understand Sendmail or were too lazy to do so.  Or they
> were catering to people like this.
> Sendmail was written by a huge crew of people along the way
> as they came across weird mail handling issues that they
> needed to solve.  As a result it is extremely flexible and
> can be used to do anything imaginable.  As a result of this
> there are naturally far more switches to set.  However, most
> of these switches are set in a default position that you
> would normally never change.
> If you are serious about handling mail vs just playing
> around with a mailserver in your home or something, then
> sooner or later, sure as atomic decay, your going to run
> into a problem in mail handling that you may swear that
> is the stupidest thing imaginable and why would anyone ever
> want to do it - but your going to have to do it.  With
> Sendmail it is just a matter of toggling a few switches.
> With the other ones it's a matter of going into weird contortions
> and gryrations to get them to do weird things, if they can
> do it at all.
> If you were to modify qmail to do all the things Sendmail
> can do, you would have a result just as complex as Sendmail.
> Same goes for the rest of them.  So, the configuration complexity
> of Sendmail, far from being a detriment as some other people
> have inferred, is in reality exactly what you want in an MTA.
> And keep in mind that the Sendmail people have worked out
> schemes to greatly simplify that complexity, for at least for
> typical types of scenarios, using prewritten templates.
> Ted
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: owner-freebsd-questions at
> >[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Tom Norris
> >Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2005 2:40 PM
> >To: freebsd-questions at
> >Subject: Any suggestions for a MTA for a new admin?
> >
> >
> >I have finally made the jump from paying people to host my websites to
> >doing it myself (setting up apache, perl, php, postgresql, and all that
> >fun stuff.)  Now I want to migrate my e-mail addresses over to
> >a FreeBSD
> >4.11 machine that lives in a data center.  Can any of you recommend a
> >good MTA (and maybe a book) for someone that knows relatively
> >few things
> >about the big scary world of e-mail transport?
> >
> >Just to throw it out there, one of the things I need to do is to have
> >the MTA route mail for a few different domains that are pointed towards
> >the machine on different ip addresses.  Is that possible?
> >
> >
> >Thanks,
> >Tom Norris

********** Reply Separator **********
Friday, August 12, 2005 6:08:58 PM

I agree that Sendmail can be configured to do virtually anything,
assuming that you can find the documentation for what you want to do. It
took me quite awhile to find out how to change the ports that Sendmail
uses to both send and receive mail on. The O'Reilly 'Sendmail' book is
nothing more than a poor man's 'Cliff's Notes" in that regards. Postfix
is far easier to configure.

I personally have Sendmail installed; however, I have seen Postfix used
quite extensively. I would be interested in knowing exactly what it is
that Ted feels Sendmail can accomplish that Postfix cannot? In addition,
I am now in the process of trying to figure out how to get VERP to work
with Sendmail. That feature is built into Qmail, and can be easily
configured into Postfix.

Just my 2¢ worth.

Gerard E. Seibert
gerard-seibert at

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