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shlomi-fish-homepage / t2 / open-source / anti / qmail / index.html.wml

#include '../template.wml'

<latemp_subject "The Anti-qmail Page" />

<latemp_meta_desc "The Anti-qmail Page" />

<div class="note">
<h2 id="note">Note</h2>

<p>
Some of the issues raised by this page have become irrelevant now that
it was announced that the <a href="http://lwn.net/Articles/260481/">original
qmail package has been released into the public domain</a>.
</p>

</div>

<p>
<b>Last Updated:</b> 14-December-2007
</p>

<p>
You should avoid deploying <a href="http://qmail.org/">the qmail mail
server</a> on new installations and try to convert existing installations
to a different MTA. That’s because:
</p>

<ol>
<li>
It’s not open-source, and has a very problematic licence, that does not allow
binary packages, distributing modified sources (only patches), etc.  As such
it is not distributed as part of distributions of operating systems, and is
not regularly kept up-to-date. There are other open-source alternatives that
work just as well.
</li>
<li>
It is no longer actively maintained. The last version was released on 1998.
So qmail has been abandonware for over 7 years at the time of this writing
(November 2005). Many patches are available for it, but they may not apply
cleanly one after the other, and are not supported by the author. It even no
longer compiles cleanly on Linux.
</li>
<li>
Because the licence effectively permits only the author
(<a href="http://cr.yp.to/">Daniel J. Bernstein</a>)
to maintain the software, his consistent, mulishly unpleasant and
hostile attitude tends to become an obstacle, as it would not be if the
software were licensed differently.
</li>
<li>
It has a completely user-unfriendly build system, a long build process, and
incredibly unreadable code. Bernstein uses a lot of one- or two-letter
variable names, and cryptic function names.
</li>
<li>
The ezmlm-idx mailing list manager, whose use with qmail is popular
has a lot of duplication in its configuration. It hard-codes the various paths
in many different places. It is also exclusive to qmail. (Note that one can
use one or more different mailing list managers using qmail).
</li>
<li>
ezmlm-idx does not easily allow people to be subscribed to mailing lists
without receiving E-mail, which often prevents them from posting.
</li>
<li>
Many bugs were discovered in qmail since its last release (including some
security bugs) and were left unfixed in the vanilla version.
</li>
<li>
qmail lags behind other MTAs in its feature-set.
</li>
</ol>

<h2>Alternatives</h2>

<p>
Instead you should use one of the following MTAs:
</p>

<ol>
<li>
<a href="http://www.postfix.org/">Postfix</a>
</li>
<li>
<a href="http://www.courier-mta.org/">Courier</a>
</li>
<li>
<a href="http://www.exim.org/">Exim</a>
</li>
<li>
<a href="http://freecode.com/browse/32/">Other SMTP Servers</a>. (Also see
<a href="http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Mail/mtas.html">Rick Moen’s comparison of
common Mail Transport Agents</a>.)
</li>
</ol>

<h2>Links</h2>

<ul>
<li>
<a href="http://perl.org.il/pipermail/perl/2004-October/005989.html">Discussion
in the Israeli Perl mailing list</a>
</li>
<li>
<a href="http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?joel.3.72853.10">Discussion
in the Joel on Software forum</a>
</li>
<li>
<a href="http://lwn.net/Articles/85493/">Discussion in LWN.Net</a>
</li>
<li>
<a href="http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Mail/mtas.html">Rick Moen’s MTA comparison
page</a>
</li>
<li>
<a href="http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/faq/index.php?page=warez#djb">Rick Moen’s
FAQ about Daniel J. Bernstein’s Software</a>
</li>
<li>
<a href="http://linmagazine.co.il/node/view/9620">Hebrew blog entry in Aviram
Jenik’s blog about Dan J. Bernstein not giving the money he promised for a
remote root exploit that was found in qmail</a>
</li>
<li>
<a href="http://lwn.net/Articles/257004/">Coverage of
“Ten Years of qmail Security” on LWN.net</a> - contains many instructive comments.
</li>
<li>
<a href="http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/06/0131227">Slashdot
discussion of “Qmail at 10 Years”</a>
</li>

<li>
<a
href="http://mailman.cs.huji.ac.il/pipermail/linux-il/2012-August/009500.html">Post
to Linux-IL about qmail and mx records</a> - “we flush qmail’s DNS cache daily
because we found it wasn’t respecting TTL”.
</li>

</ul>

<h2>Discussions of this Page</h2>

<ul>
<li>
<a href="http://www.mail-archive.com/linux-il@cs.huji.ac.il/msg42279.html">Linux-IL
mailing list</a></li>
<li>
<a href="http://zgp.org/pipermail/linux-elitists/2005-November/011333.html">Linux-elitists</a>
</li>
</ul>