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Re: default MTA for sarge

On Tue, 15 Jul 2003, David Nusinow wrote:

> > 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.

I am not a developer (yet), so bear with me if I am missing something
obvious, but if this is really the issue, then couldn't Andreas (exim4
maintainer) package exim4 in such a way as to imitate, or at least
approximate the old exim's configuration process?  Since all MTA's provide
the same basic service, couldn't _any_ default MTA be made to look like
exim from a configuration standpoint?

> > * 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 I agree is a compelling argument for a change.

> ...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?

I think that the current debconf configuration sequence for exim in stable
is a good balance between reasonable defaults and clear, newbie-friendly
choices.  I think it would be nice if this could be "ported" to the new
MTA, whether that be exim4 or postfix.  That way, unsophisticated users
could enjoy consistency across Debian releases even if the guts changed.
This was my original point--preserving Debian's look and feel (i.e.
consistency) across releases should be weighted more heavily in debates
such as this.



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              --"Lawnchair" Larry Walters

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