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pros and cons for procmail as local mail delivery agent?



Michael Grimm <mike@odo.in-berlin.de> writes:

> I recently installed procmail in order to sort incoming
> mail into specific mail folders. ...
> According to the docs one can install procmail as the
> local mail delivery agent (MDA), and one can get rid of
> the procmail entry in the .forward file.  ...
> Before doing so I have some questions for the experts:
> 
> 1. What are the pro and cons for MDA substitution ?
> 2. If I substitute my MDA by procmail will that break
>    future smail and/or procmail upgrades ?
> 3. Is there a config utility for procmail available ?
 
Procmail sucks.

In particular, its code is such an mass of spaghetti that 
no human could maintain it with any confidence.  

This is very dangerous in a mail handling program because when 
it loses mail you may not notice.  This is not idle speculation; 
Red Hat shipped a broken procmail (as their MDA) for a year before 
anybody reported it.  It was losing mail (on occasion) all that 
time, for thousands of people.

The only thing that could prevent this sort of problem is a mail
auditing system:  When a message is received, it is logged.  When
a MUA examines a message, that is logged too.  A cron job scans the 
log periodically and reports messages received but not examined
even after later messages have been examined.

FWIW its language, for describing how to handle mail, sucks too.

Nathan Myers
ncm@cantrip.org


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