Why is sendmail is part of the system and not a package?

Michael Powell nightrecon at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 28 14:57:25 UTC 2009

Jerry McAllister wrote:

> On Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 05:03:12PM -0200, Gonzalo Nemmi wrote:
>> On Tuesday 27 October 2009 4:32:45 pm Erik Norgaard wrote:
>> > Jonathan McKeown wrote:
>> > > Just as a matter of interest, if you want to rip sendmail out of
>> > > the base system, which MTA would you like to replace it with? Or
>> > > are you suggesting the system ship with no way to handle mail?
>> Dear Erik:
>> Contrary to your belief the thread isn't moving of topic from OP, it's
>> just taking the same default route it has been taking for ages:
>> 1) telling the OP the OS needs an MTA
>> 2) telling the OP he can replace the default MTA
>> 3) telling the OP he can remove given MTA from base
>> 4) telling the OP about "historical reason"
>> 5) Not telling the OP why has FreeBSD has left so many historical reason
>> behind to persuit new goals but retained Sendmail as the default
>> MTA "for historical reasons".
>> Sorry .. but that's the way it goes every time someone asks the same
>> question.

Sounds like FAQ material. 
> I will add one more that covers it best.
> Sendmail works just fine and there is no ACTUAL CURRENT reason to
> get rid of it.    Years ago it had some weaknesses which have been
> fixed.
> So, that leaves personal preference as the only real reason
> for wanting to replace it.
> In that case, if your personal preference is to replace it, go ahead.
> There are several candidates and an earlier post described well how
> to do it.
> As for putting it in ports and taking it out of base, well, some
> message system is often needed before ports are installed.  Sendmail
> fills the bill.    Some other could also, but since Sendmail works
> just fine and is already there, then it is.

I'm no mail server guru, but I liked how one could fairly easily get a base 
configuration going of Sendmail by following the page in the Handbook. Once 
done Postfix could be installed from ports and it would Just Work, because 
it would adopt the Sendmail config. Tweaking can start from a known good 

This doesn't include addon complexities such as virtual domains and users, 
spam and anti-virus, etc., but I've always found it better to start with a 
functional base and add the additional stuff one thing at a time. 

Yes - I favor Postfix, but it may not be the right cup of tea for all 
situations. However, my own personal preference is to leave the Sendmail 
thingy the way it is. I still use Sendmail for some things. There's just too 
many other fish that need to be fried. It works, supplies basic necessary 
functionality as is, is largely trouble free these days, and easily replaced 
with some other personal preference should it be desired. 

The guy in charge also actively maintains the FreeBSD bits. Compare the way 
Sendmail works in FreeBSD with lets say, ahem, Adobe's Flash. Opposite ends 
of the spectrum. Just my $.02 for sure, but I like the "status quo" being 
what it is. Now returning to the painting of my bikeshed...   :-)


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