The OpenBSD hackers are writing their own SMTPD. Anyone that says “what an absolute waste of time” has:

1). Never run Sendmail.
2). Doesn’t care if their SMTPD is not GPL-compatible (Postfix ain’t).
3). Too much free time and not enough experience.

I’m psyched for this. I’d love to see an SMTPD that

1). Has configuration files that need not be treated as binaries.
2). Is resource-friendly.
3). Is sysadmin-friendly.
4). Is secure.

In my experience, the OpenBSD crowd is among the most likely subset of Free Software and open source hackers able and willing to deliver on this wishlist.

Make me happy, guys!

16 thoughts on “OpenBSD SMTPD”

  1. Exim’s last release was in December 2007. It’s beginning to smell a little stale.

    I guess I’d add “5). Under active development by interested hackers,” to the list above.

  2. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with Postfix other than inconsequential incompatibility with GPL. Point 1 is arguable I suppose 🙂

    The IPL is incompatible with the GPL because it contains restrictions not included in the GPL. According to the FSF “it requires certain patent licenses be given that the GPL does not require. (We don’t think those patent license requirements are inherently a bad idea, but nonetheless they are incompatible with the GNU GPL.)”

  3. Exim’s configuration file system is a complete mess, don’t even talk about adding mailing list filters and rules, the mail handler system is clunky and hacky.

    And you know there is always q-mail… which is great from all points but manageability and support for such things like LSB, where it fails miserably.

    Actually a re-write of qmail and I would be happy.

  4. OpenSMTPd is very nice, I’m using it in a few places with simpler, less mission-critical sendmail|postfix setups. If you’re familiar with PF’s syntax, the smtpd syntax will be familiar. It is more about rules then about lists of variables that affect behaviour. The fact that SMTP AUTH+TLS is built-in, both in sending and receiving is a bonus (AFAIR postfix still requires patches for that).

    That the smtpd grammar (in yacc. like the rest of the OpenBSD daemons’) converted to SVG by GraphViz::Parse::Yacc fits completely on my screen is a win.

    billthk: Exim’s license is GPL, which is unacceptable for new code going into the OpenBSD base system, so it wasn’t considered (it is available as a port).

  5. Man, you’re just too picky, why don’t you add on 6) Is thoroughly documented and 7) Has stable releases. You ask for too much.

  6. Wait, why do you care whether or not your MTA is GPL compatible?

    (Exim is the Perl of MTAs. Postfix is the Python. I tend towards the regularised and direct nature of Postfix.)

  7. postfix will suit all your needs. opensmtpd will never suit production needs and not for a production masqmail is more then enough.

    openbsd just love to reinvent bicycles arguing that they are saving world.

  8. Postfix just works, is powerful and secure. Who cares if it’s not GPL-licenced ? It’s still free software.

  9. I’ve always found courier-mta to be rather straight forward. Easier than sendmail / exim, for sure. More versatile than qmail too. GPL3 licensed. But I’m definitely not against the idea of an even better SMTPD.

  10. Nothing wrong with sendmail. Exim is a horridly-written replacement of it: The syntax in the config files are really irregular and the default Debian setup concatinates a bunch of files together so that the errors show up in completely unrelated locations.

    Postfix is a nice simple MTA, but I found that when I tried it last (about 5 years ago) it just didn’t have the features for header rewriting, mail routing, spam filtering, and such for even a medium-sized mail hub for 100 people with a variety of servers feeding it mail.

    Sendmail on the other hand combines the elegance of both of these. A sendmail config file is rarely more than 5 or 6 lines long until some new feature is needed. At that point, you have access to databases to store information, a language that allows really fine tuned manipulation of email flows and rewrites, and debugging tools that allow you to see the flow of email from beginning to end.

    And the really lovely part? Sendmail has had *all* of this since the early 90’s when I started using it. It holds up well under ridiculous load, has a response upstream and all of the other lovely goodness.

    I’ve never heard a complaint about Sendmail that didn’t come from someone who’d actually used a version that didn’t come with SunOS (or from someone who’d never used it at all and points to things that aren’t the human-usable config files)

  11. Gilles,

    De rien, c’est ma plaisir!

    Merci bien a tu pour ton nouveau SMTPD! Sendmail est ma bete noire. 😉

  12. @Jeff Bailey, May 27th, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Wait a minute – you think that the configuration for syntax Exim is ‘really irregular’ and that sendmail in comparison is ‘elegant’ ?

    Are you on crack?

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