As mentioned earlier in this chapter, sendmail is the most popular Mail Transfer Agent in use on Linux and Unix systems today, but is not used by default on SUSE systems because its configuration syntax is somewhat cryptic. However, if you are installing a SUSE system in an environment where sendmail is the default MTA, you'd be hard pressed to argue for using a different MTA on your SUSE box.

The sendmail program was written by Eric Allman, whose delivermail program was the original ARPANET mail delivery system provided with 4.0 BSD Unix and early versions of 4.1 BSD. However, as the ARPANET transitioned to newer protocols (such as TCP), delivermail proved to be too inflexible, largely due to the fact that it used compiled-in configuration information. sendmail was developed to be dynamically reconfigurable by modifying an external configuration file and was first delivered with later versions of BSD 4.1. Although many alternate MTA software packages have been developed since then, sendmail is still the default MTA provided with most Unix and Unix-like systems. The source code for sendmail has always been freely available. Development of sendmail continues in both the open source community ( and at a company named Sendmail (, where Eric Allman is CTO, and a next-generation version of sendmail is actively under development.

This section explains how to install, configure, and initiate sendmail on a SUSE system.

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