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

Gonzalo Nemmi gnemmi at gmail.com
Wed Oct 28 19:11:59 UTC 2009

On Wednesday 28 October 2009 12:14:17 am Frank Shute wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 08:45:59PM -0200, Gonzalo Nemmi wrote:
> > On Tuesday 27 October 2009 7:31:34 pm Jerry McAllister wrote:
> [snippage]
> > > So, that leaves personal preference as the only real reason
> > > for wanting to replace it.
> >
> > Let me get this straight .. that means that  every Linux distro,
> > NetBSD, OpenBSD and DragonFlyBSD are all doing it just out of
> > personal preference?
> I'll speculate as to the reasons:

Come on .. there was no need to speculate .. you have the whole internet 
at your finger tips  ;)

> NetBSD: probably wanted something smaller footprint-wise.
> OpenBSD: wanted something more secure.

No, not really ...

"A few months ago, I had to dive into the configuration of sendmail to 
make a very small change. It turns out I spent almost an hour trying to 
make sense out of a maze of files that were plain unreadable. Even the 
slightest changes would cause me to stand a couple minutes thinking, 
just trying to make sure I really wanted to make that change. ..."

You'll find whole thing here:

> Dragonfly: started afresh, so could replace it without many
> headaches.

By all means no .. not at all .. they didn't even started afresh ..
Anyways ..
You'll find the reasons here:

 again and again people are complaining about why sendmail is in base 
and why not postfix, etc. We keep saying that we do need a mail 
delivery/transport agent, for stuff such as periodic, cron, etc.
But that doesn't mean that we need sendmail. Actually a much simpler 
mailer would do: one that just delivers locally (and if possible, 
remote) and does nothing else. ... "

and here:

corecode@ announced his DragonFly mail agent in [1] as a small, simple
and clean implementation of a mailer in the base.  The goal of dma was 
not to replace a feature complete MTA like sendmail or postfix.  The 
basic intention was to be able to deliver mails from cron, periodic etc 
to local users. I enhanced dma and added remote delivery and some other 
features needed for works-out-of-the-box and to keep users happy :)  
The list of all features follows: ..."

Yet still, DragonFlyBSD as well as OpenBSD are in the procces of fully 
moving to their respective mailers, unlike NetBSD which already moved 
to Postfix.

> RedHat: poor package management made it a pain to upgrade.

That only accounts for only one distribution and I really don't know 
what you mean with "package management" because they have a lot of 
them ... 

> FreeBSD: ?
> I can't think of a good reason why FreeBSD should get rid of it.
> Saying that, it would be neat if it was taken out of base and
> replaced with something minimal that could cope with the demands of
> cron and not much else. Then the user is expected to install a MTA of
> their choice out of ports.
> That would mean less code in base and fewer security advisories.

Yup .. I fully agree with you ... I just cancelled my freebsdmall.com 
FreeBSD suscription in order to use that money to buy OpenBSD 
releases .. so my money gets used to finance the development of 
OpenSMTP and other milestone technologies.
They've earned it :)

> > > ////jerry

Best Regards
Gonzalo Nemmi

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