January 6, 2004
"sendmail Cookbook": Timesaving Recipes Ease sendmail Configuration Woes
Sebastopol, CA--More often than not, the words "sendmail configuration"
strike dread in the hearts of sendmail and system administrators--and not
without reason. sendmail configuration languages are as complex as any
other programming languages, but used much more infrequently--only when
sendmail is installed or configured. The average system administrator
doesn't get enough practice to truly master this inscrutable technology.
Fortunately, there's help. The sendmail Cookbook (O'Reilly, US $44.95)
by Craig Hunt provides step-by-step solutions for the administrator who
needs to solve configuration problems quickly. Suppose you need to
configure sendmail to relay mail for your clients without creating an
open relay that will be abused by spammers. A recipe in the Cookbook
shows you how to do just that. No more wading through pages of dense
documentation and tutorials to create a custom solution--just go directly
to the recipe that addresses your specific problem.
The fact that the "sendmail Cookbook" provides quick answers to common
problems is of critical importance to system administrators, says Hunt.
"The one thing that most system administrators do not have enough of is
time," he explains. "They're swamped with other work and have very little
time to devote to sendmail. They certainly don't have time to read a
book-length tutorial or study the details in a sendmail reference. This
book is for the busy administrator who needs to solve a problem fast."
Each recipe in the "sendmail Cookbook" outlines a configuration problem,
presents the configuration code that solves that problem, and then explains
the code in detail. The discussion of the code is critical because it provides
the insight administrators need to tweak the code for their own circumstances.
"Readers should understand that the recipes in this book are complete
solutions," Hunt notes. "Some cookbooks show an individual command
outside of the context of a fully functioning program and describe how
that command solves the stated problem. Readers then need to integrate
that command into their own programs to test the effect of the command
on the program. Because m4 sendmail configurations are short enough for
a recipe to contain a complete configuration, this book can take a
different approach--a reader can literally type in the recipe exactly
as shown in the book to produce a complete, operational configuration that
can be tested as described in the discussion section following the recipe.
This means that readers can evaluate the effect without modifying the
server's real configuration."
The "sendmail Cookbook" begins with an overview of the configuration
languages, offering a quick how-to for downloading and compiling the
sendmail distribution. This is followed with a baseline configuration
recipe upon which many of the subsequent configurations, or recipes, in
the book are based. Recipes in the following chapters stand on their own
and offer solutions for properly configuring important sendmail functions
Delivering and forwarding mail
Securing the mail transport
Managing the queue
"sendmail Cookbook" is more than just a new approach to discussing
sendmail configuration. The book also provides lots of new material that
doesn't get much coverage elsewhere--STARTTLS and AUTH are given entire
chapters, and LDAP is covered in recipes throughout the book. But most of
all, this book is about saving time. Pick up the "sendmail Cookbook" and
say good-bye to sendmail dread.
ISBN 0-596-00471-0, 408 pages, $44.95 US, $65.95 CA, 31.95 UK
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