Reasons for ikeeping an MTA

Lukas Sabota punkrockguy318 at
Fri Dec 23 01:50:49 GMT 2005

Phillip Susi wrote:

> I agree that if you are going to get email, it should be important, 
> and dangling man symlinks aren't really important.
> I just noticed today that the server at work I have running ubuntu got 
> postfix installed somehow... it may have been when I installed mysql.  
> I had no idea until today that my normal user on this server had a 100 
> MB mail spool in /var/mail.  This was mostly due to the output of my 
> nightly backup script because I was having tar backup based on the 
> mtime, and it was printing the name of every file that it did NOT back 
> up because its mtime was old.
> I guess if I had not noticed this, all this useless information would 
> have just continued to fill up /var/mail.  That's not very good.  Also 
> I'm wondering why all mail to root is being delivered to my normal 
> user?  For that matter, why was it in /var/mail and not ~/Mail?  I 
> seem to remember that being the place mail was delivered back in the day.
> Anyhow, if an MTA is installed, I think there should be some kind of 
> notification on the desktop when you get local email.  As it was it 
> took me a while just to be able to read the mail.  I used to use pine 
> back in the day, but that isn't available, so I finally installed mutt 
> and gave it a try.  I also seem to remember that you'd periodically 
> get a message on your tty when you had email, but this never happened 
> either.
> Scott J. Henson wrote:
>> I concider myself an advanced user(I manage > 200 Ubuntu systems for 
>> a university computer science department) and I regularly ignore 
>> these emails on my desktop system at home.  I know they are there, 
>> but I don't care cause I know that in the default install cron will 
>> never tell me anything I really need to care about.  As for 
>> catostrophic events like hard drive failures, I told mdadm( in 
>> /etc/default) to email my real address and I installed smartd and 
>> told it to send the email to my real address as well.  I would much 
>> rather both of these connect to my session and tell me about it there 
>> as I'm more likely to see it faster.
>> Also, whenever I build a system by hand for my personal use, I remove 
>> postfix and install ssmtp cause I don't need a full mta installed and 
>> running.  I manage a mail server at work, I don't need to be managing 
>> one at home.  Please don't put postfix back in by default.  If Ubuntu 
>> includes any mta, please make it something simple like ssmtp or 
>> esmtp.  I would much prefer a hacked ssmtp like I said above.  That 
>> or the Ubuntu install should ask the user for an email address to 
>> send stuff to.  I am sure a much greater proportion of users will 
>> never user, or know hot to use, mailx or even care unless the message 
>> shows up in their main account.  And if you are sending a message to 
>> a user's mail account, please make sure it matters.  Dangling 
>> symlinks for some man pages are not important.  The only reason my 
>> system should be emailing me is to tell me its on fire or something 
>> equally dire.
>> Id just like to point out that these are just my opinions and I don't 
>> really expect Ubuntu to bow to them and do exactly what I am saying.  
>> If they don't I will simply customize my system and keep going 
>> without losing any sleep about it.
There needs to be some easy way of alerting the administrator of some 
things that have been done using mail:
Failed login attemps (remote and local)
Failed backups
Important cron scripts failing.

What's the objection of a leightweight mta being installed by default?  
Evolution and thunderbird on the admin's account could be set by default 
to receive local mail.

Even if there's an objection to a mta, why not use the notifications 
that have been used for postinst stuff like required reboots?

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