Recommended Mail Transfer Agent

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Tue Jan 4 09:04:05 PST 2005

Michael Madden wrote:

> The FreeBSD Handbook seems incomplete and glosses over details:

That's because to do sendmail configuration justice, you'ld end up 
writing something like O'Reilly's Bat Book, and as Costales & Allman 
already did that there isn't much point in doing it again.

> 1.) How do I edit /etc/rc.conf to start sendmail at boot.

Just like any other daemon or service:


Well, actually, it's slightly more complicated than that:
sendmail_enable="YES" starts various sendmail daemons in a configuration
suitable for a mail server, ie. intended both to send and receive
messages.  See the  rc.sendmail(8) man page for the gory details.

> 2.) Most of the configurations files seem pretty normal, but
> seems quite obtuse.

Yes.  You should consider '' and '' as /compiled
code/ -- you aren't expected to be able to understand them.  What you,
as the admin, should be working on are the `hostname`.mc and
`hostname` files that are processed into and  The .mc files contain a load of macros intended for
processing by m4(1) -- generally, they are a lot more humanly-readable
than the resultant .cf files.

Look at /usr/share/sendmail/cf/README for a basic guide to what goes
into a .mc file.  The same information is available from the website, except with prettier markup.  There's also the
Sendmail Operations Guide in /usr/share/doc/smm/08.sendmailop.  If you
need anything more than that (and you probably will unless you're
already halfway to sendmail guru-hood) then the Bat Book is your best

> I guess I'm looking for a document that would walk a newbie
> through setting up sendmail on FreeBSD without being too arcane
> or not detailed enough. My experience with some of the other
> Oreilly books leads me to believe they're pretty generic;
> I doubt I'd find information on how to setup sendmail for FreeBSD.

Actually, so long as you skip over all the stuff about how to compile
sendmail, which 'make buildworld' takes care of for you on FreeBSD, and
you absorb the information in rc.sendmail(8) and mailwrapper(8) which
are the FreeBSD specific bits involved in starting up your MTA of choice
on reboot, then all the rest -- how to write a file etc.
pretty much is just generic on FreeBSD.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       8 Dane Court Manor
                                                       School Rd
PGP:         Tilmanstone
Tel: +44 1304 617253                                  Kent, CT14 0JL UK
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 372 bytes
Desc: OpenPGP digital signature
Url :

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list