Subject: Re: daily (& security) mail not delivered
To: William Allen Simpson <>
From: John Franklin <>
List: tech-security
Date: 06/30/2003 12:02:47
On Sat, Jun 28, 2003 at 01:13:22AM -0400, William Allen Simpson wrote:
> > so you also want sysinst to do minor mta configuration and enable the
> > mta?  i'm not trying to be argumentative here, just trying to pin down
> > the points of contention.
> > 
> In order for the system to be functional, sysinst has to enable a 
> default MTA.  It does.  Badly.

Technically, no, it doesn't.  Nor should it.  See below for more

> > >The sysinst needs to build a working and secure system.  Running
> > >internal security should be part of the default install -- of course!
> > 
> > sure.
> > 
> Glad we agree.
> > >> >     Anyway, I'm thinking my approach would be a marked change of
> > >> >     policy, timely for a 2.0 release, that warrants wide discussion.
> And I meant *wide* discussion.  Is it time to change to postfix as the 
> default MTA?

Absolutely not.

On Sat, Jun 28, 2003 at 11:01:47AM -0400, Andrew Brown wrote:
> >the problem is that /etc/daily, /etc/security, etc., used to all
> >"just work" for a default install.  since sendmail was upgraded
> >a while ago that hasn't been the case.  something needs to be
> >done by hand to make this work...
> >
> >ie, you broke a feature of netbsd ... do you not consider that
> >to be a problem?
> i see two solutions to this problem.
> (1) make sendmail suid root again (and remove the /etc/mail/
> file).
> (2) change the file not to do wildcard listening and
> enable sendmail in the default install.
> i don't think either of those will be liked by a large number of
> people.  any other ideas?

Yes.  Pull sendmail and postfix from the base install, along with all
the other gnu tools (e.g., everything in /usr/src/gnu.)  Install them as
packages instead.  Yes, this is a big, nasty, rototill of the installer,
but it's also exactly the kind of rototill you'd do for a major number
bump, especially for a system that replaces its VM subsystem and calls
it a minor-number bump.

IIRC, NetBSD has the goals of being GPL-clean (hence the gnu directory),
and also of packagizing the installation.  An excellent way to do this
would be to start by packaging all the gnu tools and installing them as
the user wants.

This means that every copy of NetBSD doesn't have two mailers installed
by default, nor any compiler tools, nor many other useful programs.
Sysinst can install the set the user really needs, and the brands he
likes where there is an option.

Hence, sysinst wouldn't be doing the MTA configuration, per se, but
rather the package would be self-configuring.

The system does need to have *some* MTA installed by default, but there
are choices here.  Sendmail and Postfix are the two most popular, but
on low-memory machines I'd probably use ssmtp or the like and redirect
everything for root to a larger mail server.

(As a side note, it'd also be nice if installing X actually meant that X
was started when the machine booted, even if it's only using the VGA
driver and xdm.  If gdm is installed, it would deactivate xdm.  But
that's another rant for another thread.)

John Franklin
ICBM: N37 12'54", W80 27'14" Z+2100'