[lsb-discuss] Possible to get rid of /usr/bin/sendmail requirement in LSB 4.1?

Theodore Tso tytso at mit.edu
Fri Jun 12 15:50:45 PDT 2009

On Sat, Jun 13, 2009 at 12:06:50AM +0200, Till Kamppeter wrote:
> Applications which will stop working by the error exit of sendmail are 
> rare, and are probably server applications where the admin knows what to 
> do when getting this error message. Desktop applications or printer 
> drivers do not try to send mail notifications with sendmail.

I guess you can set the rules for printer drivers, but has it really
been written on stone that desktop applications *must* use xdg-email
as the only way to send an e-mail notification?

So I guess you don't consider tools like "apt-listchanges" to be a
desktop application then?  And that people who want to send e-mail
using emacs don't get to win?

Part of the problem here is that there are a huge number of historical
Unix/Linux applications *AND* USERS that expect /usr/lib/sendmail to
"just work".  At least for me, I send e-mail all the time, but
evolution is bloatware that remains unconfigured, and in the rare
times when some application runs xdg-email, I get the offer to
configure evolution, which I always decline.

I will grant that I am not the normal user, in that I spent
non-trivial amounts of time setting up special exim configurations to
tunnel e-mail out via ssh, which works no matter where my laptop might
happen to be.  But to the extent that a distribution wants to embrace
traditional Linux/Unix users/applications, as well as naive users who
happy using GUI e-mail tools like Evolution, I'd suggest that it would
be a good idea for that distribution to consider ways of making
/usr/lib/sendmail do the right thing, even when it is used on a system
which requires authenticated SMTP and special magic that has to be
configured in Outlook, Firefox, etc.

Maybe this is something a revived desktop architects group should work
on --- since it really is silly that each e-mail application
(Thunderbird, Evolution, etc.) has to re-invent the wheel for their
application, and a user who wishes to switch from one e-mail client to
another may have to re-enter all of their mail configurations each

And if we do centralize it e-mail configuration and set-up (which is
the traditional "Unix way" of doing things, as opposed to having every
single application re-invent the wheel), then it becomes easier for
someone to create a "e-mail wizard" that can try to automatically
detect what ISP they are on and do the right thing automatically.
("Hmm.... you seem to be connected to the Internet using Comcast; my
regrets, but here are the default mail settings that should apply for
your ISP.  <Accept> / <Change>?"  :-)

          					- Ted

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