On May 30, 2008, at 10:39 AM, DAve wrote:

That so much time and effort is spent telling everyone how bad qmail is still amazes me.

Is it still the case that qmail does not reject mail during SMTP transaction, but instead will do an "accept and then later bounce"?

If this is still true, then I don't care if qmail turns out to be a great way to manage your mail server. It is a terrible network citizen.

Anyway, here are my personal prejudices about MTAs:

Sendmail: There was a time when I would set things up for clients with sendmail because if I got hit by a bus, there were more people around with sendmail skills then exim skills. Also there was a time when only sendmail did milters. (And of course there was a time when there was only sendmail). But my feeling about sendmail has always been that it was designed backwards in that things that should have been hard coded (parsing 822 addresses) were done in the configuration file and things that should have been configurable (throttling intervals) were hard coded.

For someone with a simple set-up using FreeBSD, sendmail may be the best choice still because it is already there. Likewise for someone who wants to have their MTA to factor numbers or solve the towers of hanoi, sendmail is for them.

exim: If I were setting up a large complicated installation for say an ISP or a mail hosting system, exim is what I would use. I've heard people say that they didn't understand the configuration file, but I don't see what the problem is. It is straight forward and direct. You just need to remember that in some sections of the configuration file, the order of directives matter. exim also has this built-in procmail replacement (exim filters) in its mail delivery. Of course, sieve has largely replaced the need for this.

postfix: This would be my first recommendation to someone starting from the beginning for most sites. If there is no legacy need for sendmail, and we are not talking about very large and complex arrangements requiring exim, then postfix solid, reasonably flexible, easy to set up and probably now has a user base to rival sendmail.

I have never managed a qmail, Lotus Notes or MS Exchange system. But my MTAs have had to interact with them. I feel that they should never be allowed to face the Internet. They are just too loose in their interpretations of standards and conventions.


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