[Mailman-Users] Throttling output

Brad Knowles brad at stop.mail-abuse.org
Tue Jun 13 20:14:21 CEST 2006

At 1:22 PM -0400 2006-06-13, Dave Stern wrote:

>  'Course now we're turning to linux and are considering using postfix
>  instead but the theory is the same.

	Out-of-the-box, I believe that postfix is a better MTA to use for 
hosting mailing lists, because configuring sendmail to work well in 
that kind of environment can be tedious.  That said, the more 
filtering you do, the more I believe that sendmail can be made to 
outperform all other general-purpose MTAs on the planet.

	I currently use postfix at the two main sites that I help to 
administer (ntp.isc.org and python.org), and we've got quite a bit of 
filtering that we've set up, but I am confident that we could do at 
least as well (or better) if we were using sendmail instead.

	Of course, I'm a bit biased -- I was technical reviewer for 
Nick's book, and he was my co-author for a couple of invited talks I 
did on the subject of building large-scale e-mail systems, and he and 
I are now involved in another project.

	Sendmail, postfix, and Exim are all good MTAs.  For 99.9999% of 
what any site is likely to do, any of these programs should be more 
than adequate.  You should choose one of these programs based on your 
familiarity with the packages, the level of support you can get from 
your co-workers and the community, any requirements you may have for 
certain specific features, etc....

	But when considering switching hardware platforms, OSes, or MTAs, 
you should look at whether it makes sense to change all three of 
those factors at the same time, or if you should instead look at each 
one independently to see which one gives you the most bang for your 

	My guess is that Solaris 10 with ZFS on hardware of comparable 
performance (especially the I/O subsystem), will run rings around 
most anything else.  Postfix might be easier to maintain, and perform 
better out-of-the-box than sendmail, but if you're doing a lot of 
filtering (which most modern medium-to-large scale sites have to do 
in order to survive), then I strongly suspect that sendmail+milter is 
going to be able to be configured to meet or beat the performance you 
could get out of an equivalently configured postfix installation.

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

  LOPSA member since December 2005.  See <http://www.lopsa.org/>.

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