Re: email options and --force with dpkg
try apt-get install qmail; this should tell you that it conflicts with ssmtp, and you must remove it. say yes - this should force the removal of ssmtp and install qmail - hopefully allgoes well : ). I've changed MTA's in the past this way, and so far (knock wood) no problems.
If this doesn't work for you, you can dpkg -remove --force ssmtp, as that shouldn't remove any of the packages that depend on it.
> Both the man page and dpkg --help are unclear to me, and I don't
> want to risk damage. Could someone help with the precise syntax to
> force remove and purge ( ssmtp in this case ).
> Or am I labouring under a misunderstanding ( kmail, which I've used
> for a long time, doesn't appear to enter into the conflict).