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Re: default MTA for sarge

On Mon, Jul 14, 2003 at 06:39:43PM -0700, Dr. Freshmaker wrote:
> Petty flamewars aside, I want to concur with all who have advocated
> keeping exim (upgrading to exim4 that is) as the default MTA.
> I think that as a developer, the concern for optimizing the features
> available to end-users tends to overshadow the need to present end-users
> with a consistent, reliable product.
One issue I have with exim4 vs. exim3 is that the exim4 config file
that is generated is not a conffile. Thus, with exim4, we're seeing
more of the managed configurations (see also XFree86 and tetex). Debian
users expecting consistency will also expect this consistency to extend
to the exim packaging itself, which it currently does not. There are
ways around this in exim4, but this will definitely throw users
expecting consistency for a loop.

> * Users that simply want an MTA--any MTA--for their system.  This type of
>   user has already mastered the learning curve of exim to suit their needs
>   and is bound to be unimpressed by a few extra features if it means
>   learning a whole other system.
These people can easily install exim if they want to keep it and know

> * Guru-class users who actually care.  For them, it would be trivial to
>   tear exim4 out by the roots and slap in postfix or what-have-you.  These
>   users would probably not mind that their favorite MTA was not included
>   by default; they would probably enjoy the chance to hack. ;-)
As you say, they can install what they like, so we don't have to worry
about them.

> * Brand new Debian users.  These users would only benefit from postfix
>   instead of exim4 if the former were _profoundly_ easier to use, which
>   AFAIK it is not.  Being unfamiliar to Woody, they would not benefit from
>   the consistency, but the _would_ benefit from the already-established
>   knowledge base on "how to set up exim on your Debian box".
There is a large body of postfix knowledge out there, and in fact,
there seems to be a whole lot more of it than exim knowledge in
general. Postfix is just more widely deployed. This could be translated
in to setting up postfix on your Debian box, so I don't really think
this is so much of a benefit for exim. I think these people need good
defaults and good documentation more than anything, and both exim4 and
postfix provide this to some degree. Unfortunately, neither program has
good documentation for newbies, so it would fall back to configuration
generation programs (a la debconf). This brings us back to the original
point. Do we want managed config files for our default MTA, or do we
want dpkg conffiles? Which is better for this sort of user?

 - David Nusinow

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