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Re: exim/postfix comparisons

On Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 12:13:19PM +0100, Martin Marcher wrote:
> I've been a happy user of postfix for a long time but I generally
> consider it a knowledge lag not to know at least one competing product
> (which I don't).
> So it's time to change that and since I use debian I figured it can't
> be too bad to learn exim, a bit of googling around just brought up
> comparisons that seem to be very subjective, is anyone aware of some
> good links that compare feature wise? I think it would be best if it
> was something like a list of "you can't do that with X, do it with Y
> this way". I'm pretty sure this won't be too long and quite a good
> jump start to get into exim.
> Thanks for any pointers.
> martin
> PS: if there's a compelling reason to go in the sendmail direction (or
> any other mta) i'm willing to do that, but I refuse qmail because of
> licensing issues

I've only used Exim because it's debian's default.  Exim v.3 was quite
simple to set up.  Exim v.4 became far more complicated, so much so that
debian made a debconf front-end to configuring it.  I still had to make
some tweaks but it works.

I've heard comments from respected frequent posters on this list both
that they use postfix and that debian's decision to have Exim as default
was controversial.

I also lurk on OpenBSD's misc list.  OBSD uses sendmail by default
because they have made it secure, it has a BSD license, and it is small
so fits nicely in their base install.  They didn't use Postfix because
of licencing issues but I think the license has changed.  Many people
who lurk there use postfix on their BSD boxes.  They don't use Exim also
because of licensing and there have been some disparaging comments on
the complexity.

Just from a documentation perspective, Exim has its doc in one long
spec.txt file whereas Postfix has a nice html book.

As for a compelling reason to learn sendmail, the only one I can think
of is if you ever want to run a base BSD (I think they all include
sendmail in base).  Since sendmail was written as the standards for
email were being standardized, it can do anything and not just what is
current practice.  This flexibility makes it very complex; whole (large)
books are written on it.  In the past, this complexity has left it open
to security issues which I think have now all been fixed (until the next
time one is found, but then OpenBSD would have to change their
front-page brag).  Postfix was written by a security guru (I think the
person who gave us tcp-wrappers) and is flexible enough to do everything
neccessary on a modern network.  

If it were me and I only knew postfix, I'd find something else to do
than learn another MTA.


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