Subject: sendmail removal and getting migration advice right
To: Aaron J. Grier <>
From: Daniel Carosone <>
List: current-users
Date: 06/15/2006 16:41:13
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On Sun, Jun 11, 2006 at 10:58:49PM -0700, Aaron J. Grier wrote:
> > I'm aware that it's hard to tell what the future will be in
> > detail, but people have opinions on which direction things should
> > move.
> it is a worthwhile question, and I wish core was less opaque in making
> these sorts of decisions, and that a speculative plan was released every
> few quarters to let us lowly users know what the plans are, even if they
> change.

Speaking as the person who made the request to core for sendmail to be
removed, hopefully it should now be apparent why we were unable to say
as much as we would have liked at the time.

Note that the decision to switch the default MTA to postfix had
already been taken (and discussed), but the switch hadn't yet actually
been thrown.  As a result of this most recent issue, we decided to
both throw the switch *and* pull the trigger on sendmail at the same

It's not that this issue was particularly bad in itself, it's just
that we don't forsee it being the last. This is the seventh sendmail
SA in five years - and every time one comes out we have long periods
of time with shifting coordinated release dates between *many* vendors
that interfere with our own release plans.  We just really wanted that
maintenance burden out of the way for 4.0 and future releases -
especially as sendmail users will get better functianlity and easier
updates from pkgsrc regardless.

Unfortunately, that has meant some more fallout for people following
current closely than we would otherwise have desired (more files being
marked obsolete than really should have been, for example).  I'm sorry
for any difficulty this has caused, both to the users and to the
developers who have spent their time progressively fixing the
fallout. This was not intentional, but at least what we have learned
=66rom the experiences and feedback of close -current followers will
contribute towards making the migration for release users better.

Those of you who have had difficult experiences from this could help
most by writing and reviewing migration guides to go on the website
and with the release notes for NetBSD 4.0.  There will be need for
several different stories to be told (migration to postfix, migration
to pkgsrc sendmail, migration to some-other-MTA-entirely).

We'd like to be sure that the processes that get documented have been
followed by real users and will really work.  (It's hard for me to
write these, since I haven't used or looked at sendmail in a very long
time indeed).

current-users is a good place for constructive discussion of what the
migration steps should be, and the various difficulties and tips
people find along the way.


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