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

On Sat, 15 Oct 2011, Simon McVittie wrote:
> On Fri, 14 Oct 2011 at 16:02:09 -0700, Don Armstrong wrote:
> > On Wed, 12 Oct 2011, Josh Triplett wrote:
> > > End-user systems (desktops, laptops) typically handle mail via one
> > > or more smarthosts elsewhere, driven by MUAs that know how to talk
> > > SMTP.
> > 
> > While this definitely is the current state, it's not optimal.
> What's bad about it? What's better about sending through an MTA,
> particularly on a machine that basically only has one user?

Assume we are able to design things properly, with a single
configuration we get per-user mail and system-wide mail which is
capable of working in call cases, whether a user uses an MUA or uses
some webmail or whatever. It doesn't matter to the user if they switch
MUAs, and the MUA that they want to use doesn't necessarily need to
support whatever complicated authentication or sending scheme they
wish to use; it just works.[1]

> Credentials for authenticated SMTP are typically per-real-person
> anyway, so ideally you want per-user configuration.

Right; there should be a system-wide default configuration, and a
per-person configuration which overrides it (and possibly the option
for more complex rules based on From address or similar to handle
separate roles or something like that.)

> Sending through an MTA does let you press "send" without
> connectivity and have the mail server submit the mail eventually,
> but without any particularly useful feedback to the user (who can't
> easily distinguish between "mail got sent", "mail is still queued",
> and "an error occurred, the mail will never arrive").

Because of the way that SMTP is designed, users don't really ever know
this anyway... but a properly set up MTA does give at least limited

Don Armstrong

1: I should note that I personally use a custom written nullmailer
plugin which uses ssh to connect to my central mail host and then run
/usr/lib/sendmail there... granted, that's probably a little bit
crazy, but it works great for my laptops which are often operating on
networks which try do all sorts of crazy things to outgoing mail. Some
people on this list are probably doing other similarly crazy things.
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on
 -- Mark Twain 

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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