Reasons behind defaulting atd and sendmail

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at
Fri Sep 5 20:28:21 UTC 2008

Mike Cronenworth wrote:
>> The fact that you don't use a service the way it was intended doesn't 
>> make it useless.
>  > Pretty much every program with a unix heritage assumes that sendmail is
>  > available to deliver occasional status and warning messages.
> Thank you for your response, however, I did not install Fedora just 
> yesterday. I came about writing this e-mail *after* observing common 
> usage of Fedora by normal desktop users. 

By 'normal desktop users', do you mean people who don't understand the 
capabilities?  That's a temporary situation.
> Adding a form during installation to setup an MTA will only frighten new 
> users. Most would probably skip it anyway as they wouldn't know their 
> ISPs smtp server.

If you don't use email, why are you using computers again?  And if you 
do, you've provided exactly this information to one or several email 
client programs.  Doing it once for sendmail lets any number of users 
run any number of email clients that just hand off to sendmail for delivery.

> But! Let's say for a moment we have it your way and give users a chance 
> to get e-mail notifications on their desktop. They'll only be receiving 
> a logwatch e-mail telling them a `df` or what packages they installed 
> from the latest Fedora update rollout -- I'm sure if I ran a poll a 
> majority would say this kind of e-mail is useless. Just open a file 
> browser to find free space.

You may not understand the value until your machine dies and you are 
curious about the warnings that preceded it (like smartctl screaming 
that your disk is not healthy) so you might avoid the problem next time. 
  If they've automatically been delivered to some other machine they 
will still be available when you decide they are important.

>> I don't know what you think 'normal' users do, but most of the point 
>> of having a computer is that it can do things for you automatically.
> sendmail is only utilized by logwatch through a default Fedora install. 
> Yes, lots of traditional unix programs used a MTA, but Fedora doesn't 
> install any of those.

Huh? I think you mean 'you' didn't install any of them - or you don't 
know that you did.

> Why should a default Fedora install user have to 
> suffer just because *you* want them started up?

An idle process hardly makes you suffer...

> I'm looking at the majority of users here. Simply because you use 
> sendmail to send you an email or atd to tell you to wake up in the 
> morning doesn't mean default Fedora install users use it. This kind of 
> elitist attitude does Fedora no good.

I don't think it is elitist to expect users to use the services of a 
unix like operating system.  Why else would they install it?

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at

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