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

On Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 08:34:52PM -0700, Josh Triplett wrote:

> The main reasons to stop having an MTA in standard:

> - Starting a daemon at boot time, which slows down booting.  This led me
>   to notice the problem in Debian Live: it took a non-trivial amount of
>   time for the boot process to finish starting exim and move on.

Does Debian Live use insserv with parallel booting?  Granted, I/O is the
bottleneck for booting from CD, so there's still going to be some impact;
but on my systems (which all use postfix - so you can count me among the 20%
of popcon users who have uninstalled exim to install postfix), MTA startup
time is pretty small - on the order of 1.5s according to my bootcharts,
which is hardly anything on the systems in question.

If exim is too heavy on startup, there are other options we could consider.

> - Listening on ports by default, which exposes the system to any
>   potential vulnerabilities, as well as potentially allowing the sending
>   of spam.  I've checked, and out of all the packages with priority
>   standard or above, only exim and isc-dhcp-client listen on ports by
>   default.  Removing an MTA significantly reduces the attack surface of
>   a default Debian system.

Running an MTA does not imply accepting mail from outside the machine for
delivery.  We could address this by configuring our standard MTA to only
accept from localhost by default, or to only accept submissions via
/usr/sbin/sendmail by default.

> - Asking configuration questions via debconf at install time, which
>   increases the amount of work and complexity required to install
>   Debian.  For most users, these questions will duplicate the process
>   they later go through to configure their MUA.

That's absolutely a bug in the MUAs for requiring additional configuration
instead of working with the default.

> - Taking time to download and install, which increases the time and
>   bandwidth needed to install or upgrade a Debian system.

I think you're reaching with this one.

> - Running a daemon all the time, which takes up RAM.

You're worried about this on a desktop system running firefox?

> - Taking up space on disk, as with any other package installed but not used.

Anyone for whom this is a real problem is not installing standard anyway.

Your proposed benefits become more outlandish from there, so <snip>

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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