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

Anthony W. Youngman wol at thewolery.demon.co.uk
Sat Jun 13 04:05:27 PDT 2009

In message <20090612225045.GD24336 at mit.edu>, Theodore Tso 
<tytso at mit.edu> writes
>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

My email client (on Windows, sorry) is called Turnpike, and it includes 
an SMTP agent. It basically came as two parts, the bit which talked to 
the internet, and a front end which talked to the internet bit.
>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>?"  :-)

If we specify that behaviour, we could then say "a desktop email client 
comes in two parts. There's the client which gets and reads emails, and 
the sender, which collects emails from the client LOCALLY on port 25 and 
forwards them on".

As you say, then that becomes very Unix-y behaviour. Different users 
could use different mail clients (Turnpike would be quite happy with my 
wife using Thunderbird, say), but whichever client root decided to set 
up would be the one that ran the backend that talked to the ISP.

If I decide I like evolution, I put the ISP connection details in and, 
as root, evolution can set itself up as the client back-end. If my wife 
likes Thunderbird, she can set it up to *collect* mail from wherever she 
likes. But to send, it'll go via the evolution backend which I've set 

(Even better is if the back end can be configured to recognise which ISP 
is currently being used, and choose between several as appropriate.)

And of course, if the system has a proper administrator, they can set up 
whatever they like as SMTP system. That setup's probably actually good, 
both for the email client authors, and security, because it will reduce 
the amount of unnecessary code running on systems ... :-)

Anthony W. Youngman - anthony at thewolery.demon.co.uk

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