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sendmail 3rd edition Bryan Costales with Eric Allman
Published by O'Reilly and Associates
ISBN:1-56592-839-3
1232 pages
£ 42.50
Published: 10th January 2003
reviewed by Raza Rizvi
   in the June 2003 issue (pdf), (html)
bookcover  

The `Bat' book. Probably the largest, thickest, most feared O'Reilly book and growing bigger each edition (this one is a full 400+ pages bigger than the 1st edition).

Such a large book paradoxically requires only a short review since what it does is bring the story up to date. This book covers the building, installing and administration of sendmail up to the current 8.12 release (even though the sendmail.org site shows the 2nd edition book as the latest!).

All the details one could want about sendmail are here in reference format: every option, every parameter, every error message, every minutiae of detail, broken down in the now familiar four parts.

Part 1 deals with Build and Install. This is the where and what of sendmail. The breakdown of the constituent parts that come with the distribution.

Part 2 deals with Administration. This is the how of sendmail. The day to day operations of security, DNS, SPAM, queues, and aliases.

Part 3 deals with The Configuration File. This is the why of sendmail. Why it does the things it does, and how to manipulate the voodoo to suit your whims.

Part 4 is the appendices, including a very useful summary of the changes since 8.8 (as documented in sendmail 2nd edition).

The index is as good as ever, yet still not quite good enough, and with a book of this sort it is a make or break factor. You won't read this for bedtime, you turn to it when there is real trouble and you need to find information fast. I would like to see the author put himself in the shoes of the panicked mail administrator who needs to lookup things like 'running the queue'?

This is not a book for the faint hearted. You know if you need it and if you need it, you have to have it, there is no substitute, only this will do.

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