Sendmail Cookbook
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Sendmail Cookbook

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by Craig Hunt
     
 

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More often than not, the words "sendmail configuration" strike dread in the hearts of sendmail and system administrators—and not without reason. sendmail configuration languages are as complex as any other programming languages, but used much more infrequently—only when sendmail is installed or configured. The average system administrator doesn't get

Overview

More often than not, the words "sendmail configuration" strike dread in the hearts of sendmail and system administrators—and not without reason. sendmail configuration languages are as complex as any other programming languages, but used much more infrequently—only when sendmail is installed or configured. The average system administrator doesn't get enough practice to truly master this inscrutable technology.Fortunately, there's help. The sendmail Cookbook provides step-by-step solutions for the administrator who needs to solve configuration problems fast. Say you need to configure sendmail to relay mail for your clients without creating an open relay that will be abused by spammers. A recipe in the Cookbook shows you how to do just that. No more wading through pages of dense documentation and tutorials and creating your own custom solution—just go directly to the recipe that addresses your specific problem.Each recipe in the sendmail Cookbook outlines a configuration problem, presents the configuration code that solves that problem, and then explains the code in detail. The discussion of the code is critical because it provides the insight you need to tweak the code for your own circumstances.The sendmail Cookbook begins with an overview of the configuration languages, offering a quick how-to for downloading and compiling the sendmail distribution. Next, you'll find a baseline configuration recipe upon which many of the subsequent configurations, or recipes, in the book are based. Recipes in the following chapters stand on their own and offer solutions for properly configuring important sendmail functions such as:

  • Delivering and forwarding mail
  • Relaying
  • Masquerading
  • Routing mail
  • Controlling spam
  • Strong authentication
  • Securing the mail transport
  • Managing the queue
  • Securing sendmail
sendmail Cookbook is more than just a new approach to discussing sendmail configuration. The book also provides lots of new material that doesn't get much coverage elsewhere—STARTTLS and AUTH are given entire chapters, and LDAP is covered in recipes throughout the book. But most of all, this book is about saving time—something that most system administrators have in short supply. Pick up the sendmail Cookbook and say good-bye to sendmail dread.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780596004712
Publisher:
O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
Publication date:
12/28/2003
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
408
Product dimensions:
6.94(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Craig Hunt has worked with computer systems for the last twenty years, including a stint with the federal government as both a programmer and systems programmer. He joined Honeywell to work on the WWMCCS network in the days before TCP/IP, back when the network used NCP. After Honeywell, Craig went to work for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He's still there today and is currently the leader of the Network Engineering Group. Craig is the author of TCP/IP Network Administration and other O'Reilly books.

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Working with sendmail can be very challenging at times; while the documentation for it is very complete, finding real-life use-cases can be tough and messing up a configuration is very easy. Fortunately the sendmail authors and community adopted the m4 language to help make building and managing sendmail configurations less painful (I remember having bad dreams about sendmail configuration language when I started learning it). Even with m4, understanding what goes where when and why in a sendmail configuration file can be a real challenge. O'Reilly helped we mere mortals out tremendously with the publication of 'Sendmail: The Definitive Guide,' a book that helped demystify and clarify many of sendmail's inner-workings and configuration options. Even with this book, it was still hard to answer real-life use case questions, like how to enable SMTP AUTH for sendmail, how do I use LDAP with sendmail, how do I use sendmail to accept email for multiple domains in a virtual hosting environment, how do I use blackhole list services? Enter 'Sendmail Cookbook.' This clear, easy to read, well-indexed book contains a wealth of useful recipies that make previously difficult to figure out tasks quite easy. The book is organized in typical Cookbook fashion; each chapter or section stands on it's own, and if it does require knowledge of other sendmail configuration topics, the section includes cross-references to other relevant recipies and references to appropriate sections in the 'Sendmail: The Definitive Guide' book, which is a nice additional feature. This cookbook starts with recipies that step the reader through building and installing sendmail, with sections on configuring the build so that sendmail compiles with SSL/STARTTLS support, LDAP support, and SASL support. Chapters that follow deal with everything from enabling and configuring SMTP AUTH, to securing sendmail itself, to controlling spam. Recipies use m4 whenever possible and only dip into the sendmail configuration language when necessary, another feature I found very impressive. I own quite a few O'Reilly books; this is one of a small number that I enjoy just picking up and flipping to a random page and reading; I always find something that I either didn't know or had forgotten. I wish I had this book seven years ago when I was struggling to learn the basics of sendmail configuration and administration; I might have more hair left if I had! I highly recommend this book to anyone who works with sendmail, be that daily administration or occassional troubleshooting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first killer application of the Internet was email. For over twenty years, the most common program used to handle this was sendmail, written by Eric Allman. Over this time, sendmail has become a fully fledged language, with a very inelegant syntax. To learn how this, you need the book 'Sendmail' by Costales and Allman. The basic problem is that twenty years of ever increasing complexity in mail handling has created concomitant complexity in sendmail. For system adminstrators, the sendmail configuration files are probably the most complicated things they have to understand and maintain. The rub is that most sysadmins have many duties, and little time to thoroughly read the above book. What is needed is a crib sheet, that lets you quickly solve very common sendmail configuration issues. Wherein the need for this book. Hunt takes a pragmatic approach. He tells you enough to handle these common issues. Sometimes, this comes at a slight cost. For example, he never really fully explains the the sendmail class notation. For a rigorous explanation, you still need Allman's book. But as a practical matter, you probably not that curious about the notation anyway. Hunt's approach may solve your problems quicker! An interesting aspect of this Cookbook is that it shows the recent evolution of sendmail, as seen in the subtitle at the top of the cover, 'Spam-Fighting'. Sysadmins who dealt with sendmail from 5 years ago or earlier will recall nothing pertaining to antispam techniques. But just as email was the first killer application, the second killer application was the browser, starting in 1992-3. The third killer application was spam, often viewed via the second application. In the last 5 years, spam has grown amazingly. So much so that it has been debated on the floors of the US Parliament! It has gotten to the point that some alarmists are even claiming that this third killer app might be crippling the first app! Well, this Cookbook has several sections, including an entire chapter, focussed on various antispam techniques, like procmail parsing, or hooking up to Real Time Block Lists like spamhaus.org. The efficacy of such methods may vary widely, but you do get a choice. Though none of these currently appear to offer a truly effective countermeasure. You are still getting tons of spam, aren't you? Perhaps some genius in the not too distant future can help us!