F20 - Unintended consequences of no default MTA - How best to fix

Lars E. Pettersson lars at homer.se
Tue Dec 31 21:04:53 UTC 2013

On 12/31/2013 08:37 PM, Rahul Sundaram wrote:
> That would be a lousy bet really. You can be aligning yourself with more
> technical users.

On a similar note. What do you base your opinion on?

(Some of them have been "technical users", but by no means all)

> Regular uses probably have never heard of /etc/aliases
> at all and certainly don't read root mail at all.

If a user can read about journalctl and find information about how to 
use that, he/she could equally well do the same thing regarding 
/etc/aliases and reading root mail. (Remember that I proposed that 
/etc/aliases should be setup at install time of Fedora, so that would 
already be in place, following my proposal)

> For desktop users,  there are several methods to get the information
> they typically care about ex:  desktop notification that disk is failing
> and it is feasible to extend them to cover more things.

That was the use case I was thinking about. (In the server case the 
administrator (hopefully) have knowledge to set up the system the way 
he/she wants, including/excluding MTA and/or syslog facilities.)

Notifications could be one way for some things. Perhaps output from root 
mail, cron, logwatch or similar applications could be taken care of that 

But there must also be a way to look into logs in an easy way.

The user might experience some problems with the installation. He/she 
contacts a friend. The usual response often is, "what does the log say", 
or "could you find xyz in the log", or something similar. So whatever 
one thinks about logs, they are important, even for non technical users. 
And an ASCII file is often easier for a non technical user to handle 
than a new and perhaps never used command.

As we do not have a (full-blown) system where mail to root could be 
shown to the user as notifications. And simple text files actually is 
easier for non technical users to handle. It still makes sense to 
include a MTA and syslog. When we have applications that take care of 
these things, and present them to the user in a good way, then we could 
remove the MTA and syslog. At the moment the user is left in some sort 
of limbo loosing mails sent to root, and having problems reading log files.

Off to new year celebrations here. Happy new year to all!
Lars E. Pettersson <lars at homer.se>

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