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Sorting out mail-transport-agent mess


Noticing among others this bug report 
http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=322751 and observing the 
many packages depending on $MTA | mail-transport-agent with $MTA having 
values like postfix, exim, exim4, sendmail, nullmailer and probably others. 
And some packages just depending on mail-transport-agent without providing a 

The latter, just depending on mail-transport-agent, makes apt, at least 
currently, pick the package first in the alphabet providing m-t-a. (A bit 
ago, this was courier. now it is citadel). This definately needs fixing, but 
why not sort everything out while we are at it?

I think something needs to be done somewhere. There is several solutions, 
among others the following:

1) Exim4 is currently the default installed MTA. So any package requiring a 
MTA should depend on exim4 | mail-transport-agent. Defined by policy and all 
packages should be fixed to this.

2) Introduce a default-mta package (currently) depending on exim4. All 
packages requiring a MTA should depend on default-mta | mail-transport-agent.  
This will have the extra advantage that we (and others like CDDs and derived 
distros) easily could swap default MTA.

3) do the real ugly hack and invent a aaaaa-m-t-a depending on the default mta

Any comments? Depending on the outcome, I guess I will take this to 
either -policy or tech-ctte or wherever required.

And please please please. Don't take this into a flamewar about which MTA 
should be the one installed by default.


Some stats:
$ grep-dctrl -FDepends -sDepends 
mail-transport-agent /var/lib/apt/lists/*unstable*Packages | 
sed -e's/Depends:\( .*,\)\?\([^,]*mail-transport-agent\).*/\2/' | sort | 
uniq -c
      6  exim | mail-transport-agent
    135  exim4 | mail-transport-agent
      6  exim4 | postfix | sendmail | mail-transport-agent
      3  exim4-daemon-light | mail-transport-agent
     15  mail-transport-agent
      3  nullmailer | mail-transport-agent
     33  postfix | mail-transport-agent
      3  sendmail (>= 8.9) | mail-transport-agent
      9  sendmail | mail-transport-agent
      3  sendmail | postfix | exim4 | mail-transport-agent
      6  sendmail-bin | mail-transport-agent
      3  ssmtp | mail-transport-agent
Genius, I cannot save on the kernel, how does it work?

From Excel 6.5 you can't reset the RO monitor, so that from Outlook 8.4.7 or 
from the control preferences menu inside MS-DOS you either must boot the 
processor to a firewall, or can never ping a login over a mousepad for 
exploring a serial IP desktop to a 2-bit 2D case of a computer on the memory 
on the secret code.

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