[Mailman-Users] sendmail bounces
brad at stop.mail-abuse.org
Thu Sep 9 00:57:04 CEST 2004
At 2:56 AM +0800 2004-09-09, David Cake wrote:
> I really am beginning to run out of ideas.
On problems like this, I inevitably have to log onto the machine
and try various different bits of debugging until I finally stumble
across the problem. No amount of remote debugging advice I can
provide is likely to be of much help.
> He must, at least, bear some
> responsibility for the extraordinary difficulty of diagnosing why
> sendmail won't do what it should, though.
Eric has been trying to replace sendmail for many years.
Unfortunately, he's fighting the inertia of all the systems vendors
and most of the entire Internet itself. He never gets the time he
wants/needs to work on Son-Of-Sendmail.
> Yes, indeed, I do not. But I can blame sendmail for being an
> overcomplex, incomprehensible, hard to debug, sanity damaging nightmare.
Debugging sendmail can be a bitch. Eric himself keeps copies of
Bryan's book around, because even he can't keep the whole thing in
his head. This is not entirely his fault. It has grown over the
years, and has accumulated a great deal from a wide variety of
sources. He's never had the opportunity to do a complete ground-up
redesign. Other authors have not had that problem.
> Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the pioneering efforts of those
> involved in the creation of sendmail (and .oz.au for that matter), but
> not having to live with certain dubious design decisions decades later.
Believe me, I understand. I found out about postfix back when it
was still called VMailer, and Wietse and I were going to be giving
back-to-back talks at SANE'98. There are a lot of other programs
which have a lot of advantages over sendmail.
Indeed, there are no other MTAs around currently in common use
which have such a long legacy. This is both a testament to the power
of sendmail, and an albatross hanging around it's neck.
> Just a couple more weeks and my last sendmail server moved to postfix.
> Can't wait. But will I ever get mailman working in the meantime.
For setting small to medium-size mail systems, postfix is the MTA
I strongly recommend. It has the most easy-to-understand
configuration file syntax I've ever seen (which can result in a
configuration file that is truly useful with just two lines), is
default secure out of the box, is easily managed and monitored, and
is just about an ideal configuration out-of-the-box for most mailing
list type functions.
That said, sendmail is still more scalable, especially when it
comes to scanning incoming e-mail for viruses and spam, and with
proper configuration, it is possible to handle 90-99% of all e-mail
passing through the system without the messages ever hitting the disk
(except for those messages being delivered locally). It takes more
work to configure, monitor, and manage, but in the long-run, it is
still more scalable.
> ... I felt very ambiguous about
> creating something which I looked at and said "This is a monstrosity
> by almost any reasonable definition." - Eric Allman
> How did this happen? I should have gotten wise and said, "Wait!
> Something's wrong." - Eric Allman (referring to sendmail config file format)
Eric has also said that he initially felt like he was trying to
kill a fly with a sledgehammer, and this always seemed wrong to him.
It wasn't until later that he realized that what he was really trying
to kill was the elephant on which the fly had landed, and the
sledgehammer wasn't really a big enough weapon to do that.
He has spent the entire rest of his life trying to rectify that problem.
Brad Knowles, <brad at stop.mail-abuse.org>
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
-- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania
Assembly to the Governor, November 11, 1755
SAGE member since 1995. See <http://www.sage.org/> for more info.
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