Postfix as the default MTA?

Soren Hansen soren at
Fri Sep 14 18:02:10 BST 2007


Back in the day (pre-Dapper, IIRC) we installed postfix by default, so
that was clearly the preferred MTA in Ubuntu.

These days, we do not install an MTA by default, but there are still a
set of packages that need an MTA.

Many (all?) of them state a preferred mta by putting "postfix |
mail-transport-agent" or "exim4 | mail-transport-agent" in their
"Depends:".  This preferred MTA reflects the preference of the
respective Debian maintainers of the dependent packages. We, however,
have a tradition for preferring postfix. On the server team, we've
discussed this and would like to suggest that all packages that state a
dependency on mail-transport-agent always must prefer postfix.

Apart from the fact that we prefer postfix, it also gives a few other
benifits.  Most notably, any user who installs a package that depends on
an mta will always have postfix installed. It is potentially confusing
to users who otherwise have the same software installed, that they might
have ended up with two very different mta's just because they've
installed their other packages in different orders.

The packages in main that Depends, Recommends, or Suggests a
mail-transport-agent, but do not state a preference on postfix are:


For universe, there's probably a bunch more.

So, the question here is: Does anyone have any objections to

a) our preferring postfix over exim4?
b) carrying a diff against Debian for this purpose alone? 

Soren Hansen
Ubuntu Server Team
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