Breaking the sendmail code / sendmail for dummies

John john at
Mon Feb 8 04:29:31 UTC 2010

OK - I'm chasing my tail here.  I've been reading /etc/mail/README
/usr/share/sendmail/cf/README and a lot of other README files, but
I'm missing the big picture - I'm definitely beating my head against
trees without a map of the forest.

The last time I changed a *.cf file was in 2002, so my recollection
is somewhat dimmed.  In fact, the last time I did it before THAT was
before the m4 macros were built - I used to write sendmail rules
by hand.  Somehow, there's a couple of really, really basic things
that I've forgotten and cannot find, but I do remember how really,
really messed up one could make things.

Some things have just plain changed.  It seems like there's two sets
of files now - "" and "".  All of the examples
in /etc/mail seem to be so paired, and it created new files for me
based on my "hostname" when I just typed "make".  I think that
knowing that is probably pretty important.

A little background - elwood will be the mail hub.  Any e-mail
originating from within my local network should be re-written to
eliminate the specific host name and only use the higher level
domain.  I belive that is "MASQUERADE_AS".  In trying to make sure
this is what I want, I keep running into references to the domain
file and references like "../domain".  Should I really be considering
creating something regarding my local configuration in the 
/usr/share/sendmail/cf/domain directory?  That seems - wrong.
It should really be rather simple, because this system will accept
all the e-mail, and other systems will use POP and/or IMAP to get
the mail from it.  It is the central clearing point for all incoming
and outgoing mail.

I think that I'm really close, I'm just somehow missing some of the
very basic configuration "tricks" or "clues" and I'm not finding them.
I've got local-host-names and relay-domains all set up and it seems
to be using them, but that must be from the as-delivered
(or file, because I sure haven't done a 
make install-cf yet.  But, even if I
do that - what about the file?

There's a lot of ".mc" and ".cf" files in /etc/mail already, goodness
knows what it's really doing.  Not me, not yet.  Please help me get


John Lind
john at starfire.MN.ORG

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