Postfix: The Definitive Guide

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Postfix is a Mail Transfer Agent (MTA): software that mail servers use to route email. Postfix is highly respected by experts for its secure design and tremendous reliability. And new users like it because it's so simple to configure. In fact, Postfix has been adopted as the default MTA on Mac OS X. It is also compatible with sendmail, so that existing scripts and programs continue to work seamlesslyafter it is installed.Postfix was written by well-known security expert Wietse Venema, who reviewed this book ...

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Postfix is a Mail Transfer Agent (MTA): software that mail servers use to route email. Postfix is highly respected by experts for its secure design and tremendous reliability. And new users like it because it's so simple to configure. In fact, Postfix has been adopted as the default MTA on Mac OS X. It is also compatible with sendmail, so that existing scripts and programs continue to work seamlesslyafter it is installed.Postfix was written by well-known security expert Wietse Venema, who reviewed this book intensively during its entire development. Author Kyle Dent covers a wide range of Postfix tasks, from virtual hosting to controls for unsolicited commercial email.While basic configuration of Postfix is easy, every site has unique needs that call for a certain amount of study. This book, with careful background explanations and generous examples, eases readers from the basic configuration to the full power of Postfix. It discusses the Postfix interfaces to various tools that round out a fully scalable and highly secure email system. These tools include POP, IMAP, LDAP, MySQL, Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL), and Transport Layer Security (TLS, an upgrade of SSL). A reference section for Postfix configuration parameters and an installation guide are included.Topics include:

  • Basic installation and configuration
  • DNS configuration for email
  • Working with POP/IMAP servers
  • Hosting multiple domains (virtual hosting)
  • Mailing lists
  • Handling unsolicited email (spam blocking)
  • Security through SASL and TLS
From compiling and installing Postfix to troubleshooting, Postfix: The Definitive Guide offers system administrators and anyone who deals with Postfix an all-in-one, comprehensive tutorial and reference to this MTA.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
This is an excellent book, Dent has explained the underlying methodology and use of Postfix well, taken the reader through all aspects of this MTA system and explained both the why and the how. I would recommend this book (and, as a result Postfix) to anyone looking for an MTA and a guide to configuring and running it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596002121
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 7.08 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Kyle D. Dent works as an independent consultant and software developer in the New York metropolitan area. He has designed and implemented various security, network, and web-based applications for technology and financial firms. He has been working with Postfix in various settings since it was released by IBM in 1998. Kyle grew up with computers in an IBM family, but originally started working in publishing and as a teacher of English as a Second Language. He is an avid supporter of public libraries serving as a trustee at his local library and on his regional library system board. He has recently started to learn the classical guitar.

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Table of Contents

Conventions Used in This Book;
Comments and Questions;
Chapter 1: Introduction;
1.1 Postfix Origins and Philosophy;
1.2 Email and the Internet;
1.3 The Role of Postfix;
1.4 Postfix Security;
1.5 Additional Information and How to Obtain Postfix;
Chapter 2: Prerequisites;
2.1 Unix Topics;
2.2 Email Topics;
Chapter 3: Postfix Architecture;
3.1 Postfix Components;
3.2 How Messages Enter the Postfix System;
3.3 The Postfix Queue;
3.4 Mail Delivery;
3.5 Tracing a Message Through Postfix;
Chapter 4: General Configuration and Administration;
4.1 Starting Postfix the First Time;
4.2 Configuration Files;
4.3 Important Configuration Considerations;
4.4 Administration;
4.6 Receiving Limits;
4.7 Rewriting Addresses;
4.8 chroot;
4.9 Documentation;
Chapter 5: Queue Management;
5.1 How qmgr Works;
5.2 Queue Tools;
Chapter 6: Email and DNS;
6.1 DNS Overview;
6.2 Email Routing;
6.3 Postfix and DNS;
6.4 Common Problems;
Chapter 7: Local Delivery and POP/IMAP;
7.1 Postfix Delivery Transports;
7.2 Message Store Formats;
7.3 Local Delivery;
7.4 POP and IMAP;
7.5 Local Mail Transfer Protocol;
Chapter 8: Hosting Multiple Domains;
8.1 Shared Domains with System Accounts;
8.2 Separate Domains with System Accounts;
8.3 Separate Domains with Virtual Accounts;
8.4 Separate Message Store;
8.5 Delivery to Commands;
Chapter 9: Mail Relaying;
9.1 Backup MX;
9.2 Transport Maps;
9.3 Inbound Mail Gateway;
9.4 Outbound Mail Relay;
9.5 UUCP, Fax, and Other Deliveries;
Chapter 10: Mailing Lists;
10.1 Simple Mailing Lists;
10.2 Mailing-List Managers;
Chapter 11: Blocking Unsolicited Bulk Email;
11.1 The Nature of Spam;
11.2 The Problem of Spam;
11.3 Open Relays;
11.4 Spam Detection;
11.5 Anti-Spam Actions;
11.6 Postfix Configuration;
11.7 Client-Detection Rules;
11.8 Strict Syntax Parameters;
11.9 Content-Checking;
11.10 Customized Restriction Classes;
11.11 Postfix Anti-Spam Example;
Chapter 12: SASL Authentication;
12.1 SASL Overview;
12.2 Postfix and SASL;
12.3 Configuring Postfix for SASL;
12.4 Testing Your Authentication Configuration;
12.5 SMTP Client Authentication;
Chapter 13: Transport Layer Security;
13.1 Postfix and TLS;
13.2 TLS Certificates;
Chapter 14: Content Filtering;
14.1 Command-Based Filtering;
14.2 Daemon-Based Filtering;
14.3 Other Considerations;
Chapter 15: External Databases;
15.1 MySQL;
15.2 LDAP;
Appendix A: Configuration Parameters;
A.1 Postfix Parameter Reference;
Appendix B: Postfix Commands;
Appendix C: Compiling and Installing Postfix;
C.1 Obtaining Postfix;
C.2 Postfix Compiling Primer;
C.3 Building Postfix;
C.4 Installation;
C.5 Compiling Add-on Packages;
C.6 Common Problems;
C.7 Wrapping Things Up;
Appendix D: Frequently Asked Questions;

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2004

    Less than what I expected

    If you¿re looking for a comprehensive guide on setting up a Postfix mail server, then this isn¿t the book for you. For those that are already familiar with setting up MTAs, the information provided in ¿The Definitive Guide¿ is probably enough, but this book only covers a subset of the Postfix configuration parameters and does not provide the step-by-step instructions that many people may be expecting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2004

    Postfix: The not very definitive guide

    Postfix: The Definitive Guide by Kyle D. Dent would be much better titled as Postfix: Cliffnotes. It is written hastily and many sections are left incomplete. In many cases throughout the book I was left searching the web for answers to my questions on the web. The configuration file reference is nothing short of being deficient. I would estimate 50%-60% of the directives are left out completely, while existing directives contain less of a description than the comments in the configuration file. If this book was not under the veil of 'The Definitive Guide' series I might have been happier. Definitive is defined as 'serving to provide a final solution or to end a situation', which is nothing less than I have obtained in prior books I have read in this series. This book is well suited, and I recommend it, for the person who already has some Postfix or Sendmail experience. If you don't have this experience, plan to use this book as a complement to Google and the Postfix site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2004

    The Only Serious Contender to Sendmail

    Over 20 years ago, Eric Allman wrote sendmail to handle the then tricky problems of email on BSD and SystemV unix machines. Since then, email has become all pervasive to educated persons. En route, sendmail also grew vastly in complexity to handle this. So much so that just manipulating its configuration files became convoluted. Worse yet was the actual debugging of its source code. Despite all this, sendmail is still the most powerful Message Transfer Agent on unix/linux. But Venema recently tried a totally different approach. From the onset, he used a modular design and a set of 5 queues in which to process messages. In essence, we have a finite state machine, where the state of a message is the queue that it is in. Dent here shows how Postfix is fundamentally a queue management system. Analogous to how any operating system is basically a file management system. The hope is that Postfix will be easier to maintain and debug. Certainly, from a sysadmin's viewpoint, the configuration files seem simpler than sendmail's. But perhaps this is partly because Postfix does not yet have the full capability of sendmail? As a sign of the times we live in, Dent devotes 2 chapters to antispam measures possible in Postfix. This is equivalent functionality to sendmail's Milter API. Likewise, the current Postfix antispam implementations are no more effective than Milter's. Which leaves room for you to try your hand at improving this state of affairs! As Dent describes, Postfix is now open source and easily available. Still not as widely installed as sendmail. But you now have a credible alternative to it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2011

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