Subject: Re: Postfix
To: Charles M. Hannum <>
From: Pete Naylor <>
List: current-users
Date: 08/13/2000 19:06:16
David Maxwell wrote...

> I don't know of any open-source MTA that doesn't run on NetBSD, many are
> available from pkgsrc.

This is my point exactly - alternative MTAs are easy to download, build
and install either as a package or from the regular product distribution.
Why are we messing with a tool which does the very basic stuff that's
required by many, is familiar and is easy to replace with a more advanced
product according to preference at a given site?

> Charles's (Ack! Fear the ' police! )
> sense of the word 'evaluate' was to 
> a) Put it in the standard install so that any issues can be resolved
> 	in the default setup, as applied to any NetBSD user.

Why?  I thought the right idea would be to packagize it, then evaluate the
packaging tools and the mailer.conf setup to be sure that everything works
well.  This'd allow people to choose and easily install the MTA they
prefer, without needlessly messing with a tool which has long been a
familar part of the distribution, and which still fulfills its basic
purpose just fine.

> b) Improve the mailer.conf setup to make sure it covers what MTAs need
> 	by fully implementing it with more than one mailer (for now).

Again, that's a good idea, except that it should be applied to packagized
MTAs - allowing them to be painlessly plugged into the system if a user so

> c) Evaluate its appropriateness to the general NetBSD user.

No doubt it works as a basic MTA - as does sendmail, qmail, exim, zmailer,
etc etc.  What's the point here?  To plug postfix in though it won't suit
many, with the aim being to make postfix available for the very same basic
functions that sendmail now provides?  That makes no sense - provides no
advantage, and will confuse a bunch of people and cause them to have to
learn to administer another piece of software even though the earlier
software still worked fine.

> I think people should relax about this issue. NetBSD developers aren't
> going to let it get bloated.
> (Go re-read if you don't believe
> me)

In general I think the developers are sticking by that goal.  This postfix
thing is just a colossal mistake - really ugly, and there doesn't seem to
be much consideration being given to the users.

> Personally speaking, sendmail isn't 'The Right' mailer to ship with
> Unix just because it always has been,

Nor is it wrong just because it's been around forever.  People are
accustomed to it, and it does the very simple job that most folks require
of it very well.  I know sendmail - I don't like it, but I know it well
enough to make it do most things I want.  I also know enough about it to
replace it very quickly and easily with an alternative MTA of my choice.
This seems to be a fine situation, and I see no point in making a mess of
the distribution and including both sendmail and postfix on the way to
completely eliminating sendmail and including only postfix.

> Break things down a bit - look at functionality instead of 'brand names'

Uh - if I were only looking at functionality, postfix would probably be my
last choice of MTA.  It's not mature, and lacks a lot of configurability
and advanced features.  It has some good points too of course - which is
why it should be a choice for those who really want it, and not a
replacement for the somewhat generic tool that's now in NetBSD.

> Unix has generally shipped with an MTA included. Postfix is a modern
> mailer, much easier to configure than sendmail, and much more secure.
> (Both in terms of being easier to do something, and to be sure that
> you didn't change more than you realized by accident.)

All true of qmail, exim, zmailer etc.  This certainly isn't reason enough
to automatically force postfix upon people as a replacement for sendmail.

> No doubt there'll be those who disagree, but to me, modern, easy to
> admin, and secure design have more value than legacy, and "I already know
> how", especially in the modern Internet.

Right - many will disagree, so leave the basic sendmail tool as it is, and
allow those who prefer something else to install their chosen MTA easily.  
This is common sense, and is in keeping with the values that many people
identify as reasons for their use of NetBSD instead of something
horrendous like RedHat Linux.

Pete Naylor