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Re: RFC: Making mail-transport-agent Priority: optional

Steve Langasek wrote:
> "How do I deliver mail?" is a per-system setting, not a per-application
> setting, and the move towards having MUAs talking SMTP directly to send
> mail is a flawed model picked up on the Linux desktop from certain other
> OSes.

No, "How do I deliver mail?" represents a per-user setting, and
sometimes a per-user-email-address setting depending on the pickiness of
mail servers about the addresses in "From:".

I'll certainly agree that it might make sense to have a common SMTP
configuration for sending email for a particular user (and possibly
email address), so that MUAs can share it; the same thing goes for IMAP
configuration, as well.  However, neither of those should live in a
system MTA, not least of which because if a system really did have
multiple users, it wouldn't make sense to do all the work of figuring
out which smarthost to use for which user rather than just letting each
user's MUA handle mail for that user.

> The right solution here is to fix the MTAs to be
> configurable from the desktop, and fix the MUAs to use the MTA - *not* to
> get rid of the MTA.

MTAs would need to advance quite a bit to get anywhere near as usable as
a MUA that speaks SMTP, not least of which in error reporting.  (Most of
the people I know who run local MTAs have had at least one "all my mail
got stuck in a queue for one or more weeks" story.)

More importantly, I don't advocate getting rid of any MTAs; I'm
advocating that an MTA should not form part of standard, on the basis
that most users don't want or need one.  Anyone who needs an MTA can
easily install one, while many people who *don't* need an MTA don't know
that they can and should remove it.

- Josh Triplett

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