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Re: default Debian smail-fetchmail

On Sun, 2 Nov 1997, Cullen wrote:

> A question about the initial smail configuration for Debian 1.3
> I have never setup mail with any Linux dist before so I'm trying to 
> work out what happens whenever.
> I was going to try to setup sendmail  with fetchmail to get POP mail 
> but the default installation setup smail which is supposed to be easier.
WEll, my experience is admittedly limited, and it did take me quite a
while to get my mail set up the way I want it, but from what I can tell
smail is definitely easier.

> However, I made a .fetchmailrc file which was supposed to poll for 
> mail and it worked.  I was looking for some kind of fetchmail log file but 
> found this file:  /var/log/smail/logfile
> which contained information about the mail I had succesfully 
> downloaded.   Does this mean that fetchmail is merely an interface to smail and 
> that smail actually grabbed the messages?

Well... fetchmail was the program that actually went and got the messages.
However, if you read the fetchmail manpage, you will discover that what
fetchmail does is make a POP (or IMAP) connection to a mailserver,
download each message, and as it is downloading connect to your local
machine and send the mail via SMTP.  That is, fetchmail lets whatever is
on your local machine handling incoming mail take care of it.  In your
case, this means that fetchmail gets the mail off the server and then
hands it to smail, which then takes care of putting it into the correct
files on your machine.  (and therefore if you were using some mail filter,
smail would then hand the fetched mail off to that filter as normal).
This is why the messages you downloaded appeared in the smail logs;
although fetchmail handled pulling them from the POP server, smail handled
the local delivery.

> My fetchmail command line to use my new rc file was 
> fetchmail -f .fetchmailrc
You can cause fetchmail to log to a file by running it with -L logfilename
- also, you can get it to log to syslog with --syslog.  However, I
wouldn't advise using either of these options normally, since they're just
intended for debugging purposes.

> BTW: one of the options in my .fetchmailrc was "keep" which let me 
> leave the mail on the server but on successive fetchmail commands it 
> downloaded the same messages again. I suppose there must be some way of 
> telling it not to grab mail that has already been downloaded.
Hmmm.... I'm not certain there is, since I'm not certain how fetchmail
could tell with a POP server what it's already downloaded and what it
hasn't.  Now, with an IMAP server there might be some hope, but I don't
think that fetchmail is that sophisticated yet.

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