On Tuesday, July  5 at 02:37 PM, quoth Steve Cole:
On Tuesday 05 July 2005 14:18, Listas barbarojo wrote:

It has been developed in a modular way that makes it extreamly easy to add functionality to it and much more.

Wrong. I has been developed in such a way that functionality has to be added in the form of patches, and it is suffering greatly from age now. qmail is very powerful and vpopmail makes it relatively simple to use, but it is stagnant, old, hard to use without patches and just plain old doesn't work at all if you try to use the original source on a modern system (it'll fail to compile or do strange things).

Old? Yes. Hard to use without patches? Eh, I think netqmail has addressed that "problem". Stagnant? Depends on what you mean by that. I actually really like the way qmail works for the purpose --- I know exactly what it's doing, why, and how. Additionally, the patch method, while understandably hard or inconveninent for people who do not know C or who prefer the ./configure interface for turning on features, is a good way to do it for the security-paranoid who would rather trace out each addition rather than review code and try to untangle giant webs of #ifdef's.

DJB let this baby into the wild, but didn't allow it to find its own way. If it weren't secure and relatively well supported, it would die. I'll go a step further, if it hadn't been a godsend in 1996 compared to Sendmail, it wouldn't have gone anywhere. But, times have moved on! DJB should let it go under some license - maybe BSD or GPL, so that the community can do something with it. UCSPI-TCP and Daemontools, too.

I wish it had a license like that too. On the other hand, he put his name (and $500) behind it - something he really couldn't do if just anybody could add code to it and call it qmail.

But look at it this way: there's nothing in the license that says you can't take qmail, rename it to (mySweetMailserver, for example), and release it under the GPL. That nobody's done that says something.

It's also hard to program for. A lot of DJB's code relationships are like a foreign language. Not that it's wrong, just that it's difficult.

I disagree - I find most of the code refreshingly straightforward. Comments might help, but I think it's really pretty simple to decipher.

I'm relatively happy with vpopmail + qmail + patches, but saying that qmail is some wondrous software package is bunk.

Heh, indeed - very little software is "wondrous".

It's looking mighty old these days...

You say that like "old" is a bad thing.

vpopmail and qmail should be one package that gets distributed along with modernization patches, and it would be that way if DJB didn't have his claws of death on a piece of code that he last updated in 1997. That's abandonment, and the software really is starting to creak in terms of relevancy.

"creak"? Gotta love loaded adjectives.

I look at it this way: qmail was released in its current form in 1997, which is nearly a decade ago. In the fast-paced world of software development, like dog-years, that's practically a century ago. And yet, like the Franklin Stove, it still does exactly what it was designed to do. There've been some complaints about how you should install it (the default INSTALL isn't very good), how you compile it (glibc changed its interface), and some people dislike its lack of built-in support for features like smtp-auth (and work around it with patches or programs like mailfront). But in terms of complaints over nearly a decade, that's a stunningly low number of "problems", none of them actually serious. I think it says something about the ease of maintenance, ease of patching, and ease of configuration that qmail has lasted this long virtually unchanged. "Creak"? Far from it.

While it may be harder to install than ./configure && make && make install, I don't see any reason to think qmail isn't up to the task anymore.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
                                                            -- Gallileo

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