F20 System Wide Change: No Default Sendmail

Jaroslav Reznik jreznik at redhat.com
Mon Jul 15 08:36:39 UTC 2013

= Proposed System Wide Change: No Default Sendmail =

Change owner(s): Lennart Poettering <lennart at poettering net>, Matthew 
Miller <mattdm at fedoraproject org>

No longer install an MTA by default. (Specifically let's remove sendmail from 
@core and @standard comps groups.)

== Detailed description ==
Let's change the default install to no longer install an MTA by default. 
Specifically, let's remove sendmail from the @standard and @core group.

On today's Internet most SMTP hosts do not accept mail from a server which is 
not configured as a mail exchange for a real domain, hence the default 
configuration of sendmail is seldom useful. Even if the server is not tied to a 
real mail domain, it can be configured to authenticate as a user on the target 
server, but again, this requires explicit configuration on both ends and is 
fairly awkward. Something that doesn't work without manual configuration should 
not be in the default install.

Most MUAs we ship (especially those we install by default) do not deliver to a 
local MTA anyway but rather include an SMTP client. Usually, they will not 
pick up mail delivered to local users. This means that unless the user knows 
about local mail and takes steps to receive local mail addressed to root, such 
messages are likely to be ignored.

On top of that, sendmail has always been a quite surprising choice for an MTA, 
as most administrators tend to prefer mail systems such as Postfix or Exim 
these days, and Sendmail appears to be quite arcane to most.

Administrators should install the MTA of their choice after installation (or 
via kickstart) and sendmail should not be the default anymore.

Many other distributions do not install an MTA by default anymore, and so 
should we. Running systems without MTA is already widely tested.

The various tools (such as cron) which previously required a local MTA for 
operation have been updated already to deliver their job output to syslog 
rather than sendmail, which is a good default.

Also see the previous attempt: 

== Scope ==
Simply remove "sendmail" from all default install groups in "comps".

Packages which strictly require a MTA to run might need updating to gain 
dependencies on "server(smtp)" (but they needed that before too, so this is 
mostly just bugfixing that's useful anyway). If any of the packages in the 
default install is one of those, we need to look at it in detail, and find a 
solution. However, currently no package of the default install is requiring an 

Proposal owners: Commit a change to "comps" to remove "sendmail" from it. 

Other developers: logwatch/logcheck might need updating to not require an MTA 
for delivering log changes. Some packages might need a dependency on 
"server(smtp)" added. 

Release engineering: nothing really. 

Policies and guidelines: nothing really. Maybe the guidelines should clarify 
that /usr/bin/sendmail doesn't exist on many systems, but that was already the 
case before -- so little changes.  
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