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Mixing and Matching Binary Distributions

There is no true standard configuration of electronic mail transport and delivery agents and there is no ``one true directory structure.''

Accordingly, it is necessary to ensure that all the various pieces of the system (USENET news, mail, TCP/IP) agree on the location of the local mail delivery program (lmail, deliver, etc.), remote mail delivery program (rmail), and the mail transport program (sendmail or smail). Such assumptions are not generally documented, although use of the strings command can help determine what files and directories are expected. The following are some problems we've seen in the past with some of the commonly available binary distributions and sources.

  • Some versions of the NET-2 distribution of TCP/IP have services defined for a program called umail rather than sendmail.
  • There are various ports of elm and mailx that look for a delivery agent of /usr/bin/smail rather than sendmail.
  • Sendmail+IDA has a built-in local mailer for deliver, but expects it to be located in /bin rather than the more typical location of /usr/bin.

Rather than go through the trouble of building all the mail clients from sources, we generally fake it with the appropriate soft links...

Andrew Anderson
Thu Mar 7 23:22:06 EST 1996