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Lord Yupa

February 2010

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Danger Mouse

SpamAssassin is back on, too.

And, happily, I've re-enabled SpamAssassin. Despite the problems it caused earlier, this program kicks much booty, and is currently the best Spam tool I've found. I just wish there was an easier way to integrate system wide support for it with QMail (requires a small QMail patch), but oh well. I think I'll be moving to that (from my current hack) soon. ;-)


Qmail sucks. You have to patch it to do anything.

Oh, you want to actually send mail? Patch it. Oh, you want it to start without core dumping? Patch it. You want to have more than one user? Patch it. You want it to run on your OS? Patch it. Bleh.

It's 3 year old bitrot and a huge collection of third-party patches. I don't understand how anyone can run it without being forced to.


I have something of a love-hate relationship with QMail.

I've been using it for going on five years now (I think), and technologically, I still think it's among the best MTA's available. It's small, clean, fast, easy to setup, and flexible. It's beautifully architectured and designed. And I like the integration with ezmlm (as long as you include the ezmlm-idx patch). It's pretty much everything I could want in a mail client.

Then there's it's one single greatest downside. . . it's license. The fact that you can't distribute it with integrated modifcations, only with patches. I know that some people consider this to be an "acceptable" condition for an "Open Source" program, but I really think it's a load of crap. It introduces enough inconvenience that it practically kills "true" development, because you can't improve the "real", official version. And you can't even easily fork it, because you still have to deal with patches.

I honestly think that if Bernstein weren't so difficult with regards to the licensing issue, QMail would be nipping at Sendmail's heels for the spot of #1 MTA on the Net. As it is, it'll always be a side player, and especially with the improving (due to much more active development) Postfix, I cant' help but wonder how much longer I'll be sticking with QMail.

Re: Qmail.

Right, but with both Sendmail and Postfix offering a much more complete feature set "out of the box" and at this point equal or better performance, and in the case of postfix I'd bet greater security, qmail seems like a lose, lose, lose, and lose scenario.

Re: Qmail.

Ah, but you also have to factor in the fact that I help to run an IRC Network that utilizes QMail (I'm the Lead Postmaster) which has been customized with numerous patches we've written, as well as dozens of scripts to integrate it with our other systems, and I also run half a dozen boxen that currently make use of QMail, many with custom patches and scripts. At this moment, QMail is working very well for me.

Lastly, I also have a lot of experience and knowledge of QMail, while using something else (I'd like to play with Postfix at some point in the not too distant future) would have me starting over at the beginning again. And while I don't think QMail is very well maintained right now, due to DJB's annoying license, I still think it's better architectured and designed than anything else yet available.

Ah, well. Should DJB not lighten up soon, I fear that it will be obsceleted by other alternatives.

Re: Qmail.

Ok. Well, I can't (nor would I) argue with the fact that in your case it's established and entrenched, in more ways than one, and that's a very valid reason not to switch.

However, I don't think it's better architected or designed at all - maybe 3 years ago, yes, but not nowadays. I think Postfix is better, or at least equal, from that perspective.

I plan on trying out Postfix, and might end up converting from Sendmail to Postfix. I'm a Sendmail veteran, myself, although we use Exim where I work now (which I'm not a fan of, but it could be worse).

Re: Qmail.

I'll give you that Postfix may be equally well designed as QMail. In fact, after reading up a little more on Postfix, I find a great number of similarities in design between the two. Much of the design philosophy seems to be shared between the two.

Sendmail is usable, although it's always seemed big and cumbersome to me. I toyed with Exim a little bit, but after using QMail, it seemed inflexible and I had a handful of issues with it. Postfix I haven't really used, since I've been quite happy with QMail, in general (with the one huge exception being that horrible license and it's slowed development).

I wonder if anyone would consider writing an equivilent to ezmlm that would integrate nicely with Postfix. I know some people dislike ezmlm, but with th ezmlm-idx patch and a slight bit of work, I've found it to work really well, and I love allowing users the ability to set up their own mailing lists "under" their user accounts.