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sendmail Cookbook Paperback – 25 Dec 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (25 Dec. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596004710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596004712
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,655,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"If you are looking for a companion to a mission-critical sendmail instal, the 'other' bat book is the one for you. If you want to be able to set up and do a few cool things with your own mailserver, this is all you will need. It's written by Craig Hunt too, so you know it's going to be easy to read and accurate." - Nick Veitch, Linux Format, July

About the Author

Craig Hunt has worked with computer systems for the last twenty years, including a stint with the federal government as both a programmer and systems programmer. He joined Honeywell to work on the WWMCCS network in the days before TCP/IP, back when the network used NCP. After Honeywell, Craig went to work for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He's still there today and is currently the leader of the Network Engineering Group. Craig is the author of TCP/IP Network Administration and other O'Reilly books.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pedro Fortuny Ayuso on 18 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a complete, clear and useful cookbook. No-nonsense, but easy reading.

If you have already set up a sendmail server but somehow know that what you have done can or may or should be done better, then buy this book, and you will have taken a step towards enlightenment and a better system administration.

The introduction states that this is not a book to be read from cover to cover. Let me disagree: that is exactly what I did when receiving it (and I must say I just could not stop) and, yes, I do not remember each recipe, but I do have got a clear scent of sendmail's flavour (and power) and now that I have somewhere to come to whenever a sendmail problem arises.

Problems stated are realistic (take a look at the Contents and you will percive this), solutions are stated in a clear, complete and straightforward language and discussions are part of the beauty of the book.

Security is explained in detail as well, even to the point of describing how to generate the certificates, how and where to store them, etc... (which you may know but is a plus).

A great *cookbook*: do not expect to find any "nuts and bolts" of sendmail's configuration parameters or dirty hacks to strange problems. It gives solutions to practical problems; it does not deal with a specific software's configuration or administration.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Not for amatuers 30 April 2004
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is definitely a book for systems administrators. You won't learn the basics about sendmail, or get an introduction. This book is for folks who generally know sendmail, but are having specific issues with it.
The first chapter has a lot of very specific fixes for a bunch of operating system specific issues. After that the solutions become a bit more general.
The two standout chapters are chapter four, on relaying, and chapter six on spam filtering. Both of these have great introductions and in-depth techincal descriptions, with effective graphics, covering the topics.
I recommend this book for systems administrators and for people actively using with sendmail.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A must have for anyone who administers sendmail 26 Aug. 2004
By Max Schubert - Published on
Format: Paperback
Working with sendmail can be very challenging at times; while the documentation for it is very complete, finding real-life use-cases can be tough and messing up a configuration is very easy. Fortunately the sendmail authors and community adopted the m4 language to help make building and managing sendmail configurations less painful (I remember having bad dreams about sendmail configuration language when I started learning it). Even with m4, understanding what goes where when and why in a sendmail configuration file can be a real challenge.

O'Reilly helped we mere mortals out tremendously with the publication of "Sendmail: The Definitive Guide," a book that helped demystify and clarify many of sendmail's inner-workings and configuration options. Even with this book, it was still hard to answer real-life use case questions, like how to enable SMTP AUTH for sendmail, how do I use LDAP with sendmail, how do I use sendmail to accept email for multiple domains in a virtual hosting environment, how do I use blackhole list services?

Enter "Sendmail Cookbook." This clear, easy to read, well-indexed book contains a wealth of useful recipies that make previously difficult to figure out tasks quite easy. The book is organized in typical Cookbook fashion; each chapter or section stands on it's own, and if it does require knowledge of other sendmail configuration topics, the section includes cross-references to other relevant recipies and references to appropriate sections in the "Sendmail: The Definitive Guide" book, which is a nice additional feature.

This cookbook starts with recipies that step the reader through building and installing sendmail, with sections on configuring the build so that sendmail compiles with SSL/STARTTLS support, LDAP support, and SASL support. Chapters that follow deal with everything from enabling and configuring SMTP AUTH, to securing sendmail itself, to controlling spam. Recipies use m4 whenever possible and only dip into the sendmail configuration language when necessary, another feature I found very impressive.

I own quite a few O'Reilly books; this is one of a small number that I enjoy just picking up and flipping to a random page and reading; I always find something that I either didn't know or had forgotten. I wish I had this book seven years ago when I was struggling to learn the basics of sendmail configuration and administration; I might have more hair left if I had! I highly recommend this book to anyone who works with sendmail, be that daily administration or occassional troubleshooting.
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A Much Easier Way to Handle Sendmail 31 Dec. 2003
By W Boudville - Published on
Format: Paperback
The first killer application of the Internet was email. For over twenty years, the most common program used to handle this was sendmail, written by Eric Allman. Over this time, sendmail has become a fully fledged language, with a very inelegant syntax. To learn how this, you need the book "Sendmail" by Costales and Allman.
The basic problem is that twenty years of ever increasing complexity in mail handling has created concomitant complexity in sendmail. For system adminstrators, the sendmail configuration files are probably the most complicated things they have to understand and maintain.
The rub is that most sysadmins have many duties, and little time to thoroughly read the above book. What is needed is a crib sheet, that lets you quickly solve very common sendmail configuration issues. Wherein the need for this book. Hunt takes a pragmatic approach. He tells you enough to handle these common issues. Sometimes, this comes at a slight cost. For example, he never really fully explains the the sendmail class notation. For a rigorous explanation, you still need Allman's book. But as a practical matter, you probably not that curious about the notation anyway. Hunt's approach may solve your problems quicker!
An interesting aspect of this Cookbook is that it shows the recent evolution of sendmail, as seen in the subtitle at the top of the cover, "Spam-Fighting". Sysadmins who dealt with sendmail from 5 years ago or earlier will recall nothing pertaining to antispam techniques.
But just as email was the first killer application, the second killer application was the browser, starting in 1992-3. The third killer application was spam, often viewed via the second application. In the last 5 years, spam has grown amazingly. So much so that it has been debated on the floors of the US Parliament! It has gotten to the point that some alarmists are even claiming that this third killer app might be crippling the first app!
Well, this Cookbook has several sections, including an entire chapter, focussed on various antispam techniques, like procmail parsing, or hooking up to Real Time Block Lists like The efficacy of such methods may vary widely, but you do get a choice. Though none of these currently appear to offer a truly effective countermeasure. You are still getting tons of spam, aren't you?
Perhaps some genius in the not too distant future can help us!
Must have for sysadmins 24 Feb. 2012
By rpv - Published on
Format: Paperback
Sendmail administration is a complex and sometimes daunting task. To manage sendmail, dedicated professional administrators must work on configuration files written in a language with syntactic rules. This book is not an introduction to sendmail, but rather a recipe for addressing the various issues that administrators are often confronted with. The book's overall philosophy is to define the problem, present a solution, discuss the solution in detail, and then offer references to other problems in the book.

The first chapter is an overall introduction to sendmail, including getting the sendmail software, and compiling it for specific features that are not part of the standard configuration. Many basic functions of sendmail, like delivery, forwarding, relaying, and masquerading, are discussed in chapters 2 through 4. Routing mail via mailertable is discussed in chapter 5. An entire chapter is devoted to spamming; a few years ago, this chapter would have been absent from a book of this kind. Various problems caused by, and solutions to, this growing menace are discussed, including using access database and the domain name system (DNS) blackhole list service, and filtering mail with procmail.

Chapter 7 addresses authentication using the AUTH protocol (RFC 2554). It supports strong authentication techniques, by offering a comprehensive introduction to the topic, followed by a discussion of various problems and solutions. Chapter 8 also covers authentication and encryption, using the transport layer security (TLS) protocol, and using STARTTLS extensions based on RFC 2487. It provides an in-depth discussion of authentication and encryption issues, for example, building a private certificate authority, and certificate-related problems. However, it is not clear on which occasions one would use the solutions presented in chapters 7 and 8; both chapters address similar high-level issues, and each presents different solutions, using different approaches. Security is an important part of sendmail. Though this is discussed in several places in the book, the last chapter is dedicated to a discussion of security issues. Frequently, many Internet security problems are blamed on sendmail, and the author provides solutions to many common sendmail configuration missteps.

Overall, this book will be a blessing for sendmail system administrators, its target audience.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Just what I needed 8 Aug. 2005
By Chris H. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book, exactly what I needed. I'm pretty good with Sendmail, but there is nothing like just looking up an issue and following through a solution. I would recommend this to anyone who works with Sendmail!
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