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The Answer Guy

By James T. Dennis, tag@lists.linuxgazette.net
Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

(?)Basic e-mail Setup for Linux?

From Greg on 15 May 1998 Hi again Answer Guy!

I E-Mailed you about a week ago regarding getting a network card to work under Redhat 5. I found that the problem was the motherbourd I was using (Intel al440lx) which after a bit of examination I found didn't work under NT with a network card either. Now with justa standard 166 I can reach my NT network fine and they can reach me too.

(!) Glad you tracked it down.

(?) My question for you this time is how I would set up email to be routed through my linux box between a NT network? I have read through a few of your tutorials (mini-procmail and other letters) but I am still left a little confused.

I attempted to send mail between the linux box and an NT box and while the mail sent eventualy, it was very slow (took 2 mins). I am sure this is a fairly simple thing to fix so your help would be much appreciated.

(!) Two minutes is not slow for e-mail. Also 'procmail' is a mail processing language --- it's geared for handling mail as it's delivered to the local machine. To get your mail to other machines you need an MTA, such as 'sendmail' (the most widely used: http://www.sendmail.org/ or http://www.sendmail.com/), 'qmail' (http:/www.qmail.org/), 'vmail' (http://wzv.win.tue.nl/vmail/), 'exim' (http://www.exim.org/), or 'smail' (http://www.sbay.org/smail-faq.html).

e-mail is a complicated subject. However, there are a few LDP HOWTO documents to look at:
The first and most obvious to read would be:
You can browse around the other titles as you like.

It should be noted that there is nothing unusual about handling e-mail under Linux. All of the MTA's (transport agents, like 'sendmail'), MDA's (delivery agents, like 'procmail') and MUA's (user agents like 'pine', 'elm', and 'MH') are all used on a variety of Unix implementations.

(?) I have procmail on my system but I don't seem to have the configuration files for it. Do I have to make my own or have I screwed up somewhere. I am sure you have covered this on other sections of your site so if you can links would be great just to point me in the right direction.

(!) If your system is configured to use 'procmail' as the local delivery agent then you can simply create a ~/.procmailrc script (that is a file named .procmailrc in your home directory) to use it. If not, you can create a .forward file (as described in my introduction to procmail article) or you can reconfigure your MTA (probably sendmail) to change to it.

The easiest way to tell is to simply create a .procmailrc file, send yourself a slice of mail and wait until it's delivered. It should be pretty obvious if the script works (you refile the message to a folder, or you "split off" a backup copy of it with one of the recipes I described).

However, you shouldn't have to create a 'procmail' script for simple delivery into your "inbox" --- it's used to create auto-response scripts, and to do automated filtering, forwarding and filing.

I'd like to say alot more about e-mail as it is one of the most important aspects of the Internet. However, you may just have to wait for my book --- since that's how much there is to say on the subject. In any event it sounds like your e-mail is working so you'll definitely want to be more specific if you have other questions.

The best place to post questions on this topic is under the comp.mail.* netnews hierarchy. Naturally you should look for the associated and appropriate FAQ's and just "lurk" on these lists for a little bit, to get some idea of what they are all talking about.
The international repository of FAQ's on the web is at:
... and for e-mail you'd want to look in:
Ohio State also maintains a wonderful repository of RFC's
Via FTP the magic FAQ site is still:
... and for questions about e-mail you'd want to look in:
As I say --- there's nothing that's Linux specific about any of this.

There's also an FAQ wannabe site (http://www.faq.org/) that has a miserable excuse for a search engine and seems to point alot of queries off to the CIS department at Ohio. (Tsk, Tsk, they could at least mirror the docs if they're going to take that domain name!). [Actually, they point at infoseek, and it points off to Ohio. About the same, really.]

(?) Thanks allot

Copyright © 1998, James T. Dennis
Published in Linux Gazette Issue 29 June 1998

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