UKUUG home


(the UK's Unix & Open Systems User Group)






Book Discounts

Other Discounts

Mailing lists






sendmail Cookbook Craig Hunt
Published by O'Reilly and Associates
408 pages
£ 31.95
Published: 6th January 2004
reviewed by Mike Smith
   in the March 2004 issue (pdf), (html)

Note the small `s' in sendmail. Very important.

I like Exim, but that doesn't temper my affection for sendmail. I know its old and quirky, has that super-duper configuration file, and our favourite security challenges, but its simply a part of interweb history and is to be treasured. Okay, that might be an old view, it has been around for 24 years now - its come a long way with IDA and KJS versions about 10 years ago, and now the commercial stream.

This book uses sendmail version 8.12.9 on Redhat Linux. [Hello also to Alasdair - new Redhat employee!] So its moved on a little, and will do so again by the time you read this, no doubt.

Recipe number 1.1 amused me - ``Problem'': You must keep your sendmail software up-to-date, and covers how you download and install it. There are some other trivial ones, but the recipe on setting up sendmail to use LDAP is an example of precisely the type of activities I wanted to see. I couldn't find the recipe to ``build the file from scratch'' though. Nor the one about setting it up as an open relay - oh wait a minute, that might be recipe 3.1.

There are some good sections on Authentication and Encryption - and a chapter on features of the Queuing system.

Things are a lot easier these days, you know. There's a chapter on Masquerading techniques, and you've got various m4 macroes which hide all the detail. The same is true of many of the features covered in the book that relate to the config file. I remember the days when ... [removed by editor: We're in the 21st century now!]

Other important areas with their own chapters are Spam, Routing and Security. We use Exim and SpamAssassin with some additional MessageLabs rules to fight our spam, and it works pretty successfully. Of course most users in corporate environments (and home for that matter) end up using Outlook or Outlook express with the preview pane on. Have you noticed the crafty spammers have been using html tags that include your email address in urls? So you don't even need to reply for them to confirm that you've received the mail, you just need to preview it. [Added by editor: many expletives.]

All in all, I like the style of the book. A bit like the hacks series, but with more meat. You can dip into a section and get a quick overview of what you can do in that area - and its a good building block for exploring further. I'm going to read it again and do a bit of playing, just for fun.

Back to reviews list

Tel: 01763 273 475
Fax: 01763 273 255
Web: Webmaster
Queries: Ask Here
Join UKUUG Today!

UKUUG Secretariat
More information

Page last modified 02 Apr 2007
Copyright © 1995-2011 UKUUG Ltd.