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

Martin Pitt martin.pitt at ubuntu.com
Sat Jun 13 00:34:23 PDT 2009

Hello Ted,

Theodore Tso [2009-06-12 16:58 -0400]:
> Why do programs want to send e-mail?  They might want to send periodic
> log results to the system administrator; there might be exceptional
> reason that requires notification, perhaps while the user isn't logged
> in (for example, "S.M.A.R.T. has detected a disk which has started
> failing").

On servers I agree. On desktops we have better ways of talking to the
user, without expecting him to read local /var/mail/. I'm not saying
that it wouldn't be a good idea to do so, just that it currently isn't
done that way.

> I'll point out that the current scheme where each program has to ask
> for an SMTP server is lame; what if you are using evolution, and you
> decide you want to change to Thuderbird --- wouldn't it be better if
> there was a single, shared registry where this information could be
> kept?  Also, if a program need to send an e-mail, does it really need
> to fire up bloatware such as evolution just to send mail?  Why is it
> that we don't have a single back-end MTA that is responsible for
> sending mail, and if authenticated SMTP is needed, that the logged in
> user temporarily passes the necessary authentication to said back-end
> MTA, which takes care of sending the e-mail out?

Well said, and of course it would be great to have something like
this. But unfortunately a solution for this doesn't exist right now,
and getting GNOME/KDE/Mozilla/etc. to all use a common storage backend
is a major, though very worthwhile, challenge.

> I'm not saying that this is the only way to design things --- just
> that the current system where you have to load tens of megabytes of
> bloatware and shared library just to send e-mail on a desktop system
> is arguably broken.

Again, *nod*. Sometimes free software's current diversity is a hindrance.

> And it's really not the LSB's place to dictate to distributions
> *how* to do this right, but I think it's pretty clear there are
> plenty of options that would allow the system to Do The Right Thing

OK, so I read from this that LSB doesn't really have a preference how
sendmail behaves on different distros then.



Martin Pitt                        | http://www.piware.de
Ubuntu Developer (www.ubuntu.com)  | Debian Developer  (www.debian.org)
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