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Old 11-01-2008, 07:39 PM
bvidinli
 
Default Mail server clarifications

There are generally three types of mail software, as i know:
1- Mail clients : used to connect to mail servers, read meails, and
send mails, with or without gui's.. example: evolution, thunderbird,
outlook, sendmail client
2- Mail Servers: the biggest part of picture, which actually sends and
receives mails... handles/holds mails on servers... also named as
MTA, example: postfix, qmail, sendmail server
3- Mail connection agents: used to connect mail clients to mail
servers, over network over pop3 and imap... these are for
reading/getting/posting mails...not sending them actually to
targets...... mail servers send email actually... example: dovecot,
courier, cyrus

there may be count a fourth type, which are mail delivery agents -
MDA, in fact, i think these are part of mail servers...
but if you use local mail, these handle mail locally...

sendmail is a general term that is used for both a mail server and a
separate mail client

i dont know much about exim4 , but that may be a mixture of both mail
server and type 2 mail connectors..

what i suggest: postfix...
it is easy to install and maintain, i think..

as a hosting system, i suggest: ehcp, you may get that from
www.ehcp.net/download
it install everything needed for a hosting server: webserver, dns,
mail, ftp, mysql and so on...

i hope that would be usefull. if you have more question, you may ask me...


On Sat, Nov 1, 2008 at 10:15 PM, Tony Yarusso <tonyyarusso@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi, I've been reading various wiki pages and whatnot, but I'm still
> having a little bit of trouble wrapping my head around the differences
> between various mail server software. I've been trying to figure out
> things like MTA, MDA, etc., and it also seems like some packages are a
> mix of both, so I'd just really appreciate it if someone could take
> the time to explain in super-simple terms how everything relates
> (either by mail or IRC - I'm in #ubuntu-server as tonyyarusso with an
> always-connected screen session). Generals would be a good start, and
> in terms of any specifics things I'd be interested in knowing more
> about include:
> postfix
> exim4
> dovecot
> courier
> procmail
> cyrus
> qmail
>
> --
> Tony Yarusso
> http://tonyyarusso.com/
>
> --
> ubuntu-server mailing list
> ubuntu-server@lists.ubuntu.com
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-server
> More info: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ServerTeam
>

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More info: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ServerTeam
 
Old 11-01-2008, 09:29 PM
John Pugh
 
Default Mail server clarifications

Hi Tony,

Tony Yarusso wrote:
> Hi, I've been reading various wiki pages and whatnot, but I'm still
> having a little bit of trouble wrapping my head around the differences
> between various mail server software. I've been trying to figure out
> things like MTA, MDA, etc., and it also seems like some packages are a
> mix of both, so I'd just really appreciate it if someone could take
> the time to explain in super-simple terms how everything relates
> (either by mail or IRC - I'm in #ubuntu-server as tonyyarusso with an
> always-connected screen session). Generals would be a good start, and
> in terms of any specifics things I'd be interested in knowing more
> about include:
> postfix
is a MTA. All it does is transfer mail where you want it to go - in,
out, to any type of filter
> exim4
similar to postfix as a MTA
> dovecot
is a superb imap/pop implementation
> courier
has several components but is usually used as a imap/pop implementation
> procmail
is a MDA which is usually called or invoked by postfix
> cyrus
is similiar to dovecot as a imap/pop implementation
> qmail
is like postfix/exim in that this is a full fledged email server with
smtp, pop, imap servers all built in - a bear to configure, but a very
thorough implementation

Search engines are your friends.

These links may help...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_mail_servers
http://www.geocities.com/mailsoftware42/

if you want explanations - wikipedia has great descriptions of how they
all work together.

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More info: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ServerTeam
 
Old 11-01-2008, 09:31 PM
Scott Kitterman
 
Default Mail server clarifications

On Sat, 1 Nov 2008 22:39:07 +0200 bvidinli <bvidinli@gmail.com> wrote:
>There are generally three types of mail software, as i know:
>1- Mail clients : used to connect to mail servers, read meails, and
>send mails, with or without gui's.. example: evolution, thunderbird,
>outlook, sendmail client

These are also known as Mail User Agents (MUA). The term client can be
ambiguous because different applications in the mail system can, at
different times be a client or a server. This category also include pine,
mutt, etc. Any program that the user uses to read or write mail is an MUA.

>2- Mail Servers: the biggest part of picture, which actually sends and
>receives mails... handles/holds mails on servers... also named as
>MTA, example: postfix, qmail, sendmail server

MTA (Mail Transfer Agent) is actually a bit narrower. As the name implies,
MTAs are responsible for moving mail from one place to another. MTAs
receive mail from a Mail Submission Agent (MSA), transfer it to another
MTA, and after zero to a potentially large number of transfers (zero is
local delivery and one is the most common external delivery scenario)
transfers to a Mail Delivery Agent (MDA). MDAs put the mail in the user's
mail box.

>3- Mail connection agents: used to connect mail clients to mail
>servers, over network over pop3 and imap... these are for
>reading/getting/posting mails...not sending them actually to
>targets...... mail servers send email actually... example: dovecot,
>courier, cyrus
>
>there may be count a fourth type, which are mail delivery agents -
>MDA, in fact, i think these are part of mail servers...
>but if you use local mail, these handle mail locally...
>
>sendmail is a general term that is used for both a mail server and a
>separate mail client
>
>i dont know much about exim4 , but that may be a mixture of both mail
>server and type 2 mail connectors..
>
>what i suggest: postfix...
>it is easy to install and maintain, i think..
>
>as a hosting system, i suggest: ehcp, you may get that from
>www.ehcp.net/download
>it install everything needed for a hosting server: webserver, dns,
>mail, ftp, mysql and so on...
>
>i hope that would be usefull. if you have more question, you may ask me...
>

So generally the flow is MUA - MSA - MTA - ... - MTA - MDA - MUA. In many
cases these function are combined into a single application.

MUAs are generally specialized and just do MUA functions.

MSA is almost always combined with MTA in the same application.

Most MTAs have some MDA capabilities, but dedicated MDAs with more
capability are quite common.
>On Sat, Nov 1, 2008 at 10:15 PM, Tony Yarusso <tonyyarusso@gmail.com>
wrote:
>> Hi, I've been reading various wiki pages and whatnot, but I'm still
>> having a little bit of trouble wrapping my head around the differences
>> between various mail server software. I've been trying to figure out
>> things like MTA, MDA, etc., and it also seems like some packages are a
>> mix of both, so I'd just really appreciate it if someone could take
>> the time to explain in super-simple terms how everything relates
>> (either by mail or IRC - I'm in #ubuntu-server as tonyyarusso with an
>> always-connected screen session). Generals would be a good start, and
>> in terms of any specifics things I'd be interested in knowing more
>> about include:
>> postfix

Primarily an MTA. Full MSA support. Limited MDA capability.

Ubuntu's recommended MTA.

>> exim4

Same general capabilities as Postfix AFAIK.

Default MTA in Debian and in Main in Ubuntu.

>> dovecot

Full featured MDA. Supported (in Main) MDA for Ubuntu.

>> courier

MSA/MTA/MDA. Does it all. Separate packages for different functions so you could, for example
use Courier as an MDA with Postfix as your MTA.

>> procmail

MDA. Not easy to use.

>> cyrus

Complete mail system like Courier. The MDA has a reputation for being fast
and good for large deployments, but complex to set up.

>> qmail

Ancient MTA. Some people swear by it still, but IMO its day has passed.

Sendmail - The original MTA. Still alive and kicking. It's reputation for
have opaque and complex config files is well deserved. Also provides
libmilter for Milter plugins. This library can also be used by Postfix.

Also used as a generic term. Several MTA packages provide a 'sendmail'
binary.

Scott K

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