Qmail [was Re: [Israel.pm] Detecting Random characters]
shlomif at iglu.org.il
Mon Oct 4 02:18:04 PDT 2004
On Monday 04 October 2004 09:52, Yuval Yaari wrote:
> DJ Pumps wrote:
> And if you're using Sendmail, it's time to move on to qmail anyway :)
Just a correction - "If you're using Sendmail - it's time to move to
_something else_ anyway." Not necessarily qmail.
I help administer a qmail/ezmlm-idx configuration on eskimo.iglu.org.il. It's
not such a bad experience. To help me learn it better I took the book "The
qmail Handbook" during the last YAPC. I have read it and liked it, but if at
all, it convinced me that I would not voluntarily install qmail as an SMTP
server on new machines.
Here are my reasons:
1. Its license is extremely bad: one cannot distribute modified binaries, one
cannot distribute modified sources - only patches are acceptable. This makes
deploying it extremely difficult. Usually, you even have to install binary
packages from their sources.
In the book, when asked if the qmail license is free, the author says "yes and
no.". Hah! That's the joke of the month! Either a software is open-source or
it isn't, but it can't be both.
2. It has not been maintained for a long time. There's only a team of
developers that heavily modified the original code, but it's not part of the
core distribution yet, and they are required to distribute it as a patch.
3. Does not even cleanly compile on Linux now.
4. Its author - Daniel J. Bernstein - is known for his bad attitude, (towards
contributors, etc.), feelings of superiority, etc. Not the kind of man I'd
like to use his software. He also obviously cares more about himself than
about his users, or otherwise there wouldn't be Item #1.
5. D.J. Bernstein has been busy with many other endeavours lately and
neglected working on qmail. Between his job as a professor, a crypto-related
lawsuit he's been doing, and a DNS server he's been writing, he's completely
neglected work on qmail and ezmlm. In fact, an integer overflow vulnerability
in qmail has been left unfixed in the original code for a long time.
6. qmail often requires many patches just to be usable. So does ezmlm (hence
ezmlm-idx). This complicates the installation even further.
7. The qmail installation requires a great deal of steps. No ./configure;
make; make install here. I was told there are scripts to automate this, but
it's still a problem. Even its compilation requires putting various
parameters in special files, etc.
8. The paths are extremely unorthodox. Everything is under /var/qmail. In
fact, Bernstein has attacked the more standard LFS (= Linux Filesystem
9. Configuring qmail requires dealing with a great deal of separate
configuration files, in obscure places, many times running scripts to build
the databases. I was completely confused by everything there.
(it's still much better than sendmail, though, but possibly not as good as
postfix, exim or courier)
10. ezmlm-idx has a lot of duplicacy in its configuration. For instance, it
encodes the E-mail address of the mailing list in many different places in
its configuration directory. (including several in the same file) As a
result, moving a mailing list to a different address is extremely painful.
So, in short - don't use sendmail, but I highly recommend not to use qmail,
either. I'll put what I wrote here in the Wiki, after the flame war^W^W
discussion has settled.
Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
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