Postfix vs Exim

Previous Topic Next Topic
 
classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
7 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Postfix vs Exim

vonProteus
With one is better and why do you think so?
I’m going to chose one and would like to know your opinion

regards
vonProteus
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Postfix vs Exim

Marat Khalili
Flamebait question, but I happened to configure both (repository versions) recently, so here's one opinion. Both are useable, and used. Exim is sold as easier to configure, but IMO it doesn't deliver on this - probably simple config is just an impossible thing for universal SMTP MTA. On the other hand, Postfix has larger internet share and more resources on the web dedicated to it. Therefore I usually go for postfix (once you learned it, it's not that hard), and only use exim if there's no postfix in distribution repository.
--

With Best Regards,
Marat Khalili
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Postfix vs Exim

Philip Paeps
In reply to this post by vonProteus
On 2017-12-25 09:31:07 (+0100), vonProteus wrote:
>With one is better and why do you think so?
>I’m going to chose one and would like to know your opinion

Well ... you're asking on the Postfix mailing list.  Obviously people
are going to answer Postfix. :)

To be honest, I never looked at Exim.  After a "robust" interaction with
Sendmail in early 2000, someone suggested I look at Postfix.  I never
looked back.

(Grepping through revision control logs of old configuration files, the
earliest version I can find mentioned was "19991231-pl8" around
mid-2000, which I apparently upgraded to "19991231-pl13" in early 2001.  
Version numbers didn't come along until a year or so after that :)  
Happy days!)

Philip

--
Philip Paeps
Senior Reality Engineer
Ministry of Information
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Postfix vs Exim

vonProteus
In reply to this post by Marat Khalili
my ultimate goal is to configure MTA in that way that i'm able to use it as a mail relay station
sorry for my not fully technical and poor language
my idea is that i recently encounter more and more email forms which do not allow me to use + addressing
so my idea is to setup my own MTA which will redirect emails send to [hidden email] to forexample [hidden email]

On Mon, Dec 25, 2017 at 10:04 AM, Marat Khalili <[hidden email]> wrote:
Flamebait question, but I happened to configure both (repository versions) recently, so here's one opinion. Both are useable, and used. Exim is sold as easier to configure, but IMO it doesn't deliver on this - probably simple config is just an impossible thing for universal SMTP MTA. On the other hand, Postfix has larger internet share and more resources on the web dedicated to it. Therefore I usually go for postfix (once you learned it, it's not that hard), and only use exim if there's no postfix in distribution repository.
--

With Best Regards,
Marat Khalili

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Postfix vs Exim

Philip Paeps
[Please don't top-post.  Formatting repaired.]

On 2017-12-25 11:20:40 (+0100), vonProteus wrote:

>On Mon, Dec 25, 2017 at 10:04 AM, Marat Khalili <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>Flamebait question, but I happened to configure both (repository
>>versions) recently, so here's one opinion. Both are useable, and used.
>>Exim is sold as easier to configure, but IMO it doesn't deliver on
>>this - probably simple config is just an impossible thing for
>>universal SMTP MTA. On the other hand, Postfix has larger internet
>>share and more resources on the web dedicated to it. Therefore I
>>usually go for postfix (once you learned it, it's not that hard), and
>>only use exim if there's no postfix in distribution repository.
>
>my ultimate goal is to configure MTA in that way that i'm able to use
>it as a mail relay station
>sorry for my not fully technical and poor language

Any MTA should be ale to relay mail. :)

>my idea is that i recently encounter more and more email forms which do
>not allow me to use + addressing so my idea is to setup my own MTA
>which will redirect emails send to [hidden email] to
>forexample [hidden email]

Postfix can easily be configured to do that for you.  I expect Exim can
too though.

In the case of Postfix, you'd just set up a virtual(5) map to redirect
the emails to their final destination.

I'd suggest you compare the configuration file formats of the different
MTAs your operating system offers and pick the one you find most
comfortable.

Philip

--
Philip Paeps
Senior Reality Engineer
Ministry of Information
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Postfix vs Exim

Stephen Satchell
In reply to this post by vonProteus
On 12/25/2017 12:31 AM, vonProteus wrote:
> With one is better and why do you think so?
> I’m going to chose one and would like to know your opinion

Interesting you should ask this on the Postfix mailing list.  Especially
since because there is no "right" answer.

Over the years, I've worked with sendmail/procmail, Postfix, Exim, and
Qmail.  The reason is that I worked at a web hosting company that bought
into Web products that featured customer control panels, and the various
control panel systems used these mailers as part of their "total package".

Sendmail is just plain cryptic.  In response to my complaint about the
complexity of the sendmail configurtion file, I was presented with a
copy of O'Reilly's sendmail book with this inscription:  "It's not that
hard" -- Eric Allman.  In my library I have books for all the mail
daemons...and the sendmail shelf space is larger then other three
*combined*.

Qmail is a Dr. Dan Bernstein (University of Illinois at Chicago)
creation.  As such, it's focused on security (the goad for it's birth in
1997).  Instead of having one large configuration file, it breaks up
configuration into a bunch of small files.  In my mind, this mindset
makes saving the state of the mailer a daunting task, as well as needing
a rather complex "cheat sheet" to know where to find things.  (As an
aside, the Unix utility ptx(1) proved extremely useful -- look it up.)

Exim is the baby of Philip Hazel, University of Cambridge (England).
It's been awhile since I have approached Exim, but what I do recall is
that I didn't like the feel of it.  (This is probably just me, not a
knock on the daemon.)  The configuration is contained in a single file,
separated into sections.  My one excursion into Exim was to configure it
to smart-host all mail through a edge MTA to throttle flow to specific
endpoints (AOL, HotMail, Google, and so forth -- and the edge MTA was
Postfix!)

Postfix is the product of Wietse Venema (IBM Research).  When I was the
first customer of DSL in northern Nevada, I was stuck with Pacific
Telesys as my e-mail provider.  After finding many of my e-mails blocked
because of PacTel's reputation, I set up my own mail server.  Of the
options available, I picked PostFix...and haven't regretted that choice.
  Postfix uses a pair of configuration files, plus a number of small
databases.

There are other MTAs available, but they cost $$$$$$$$.  Like Microsoft
Exchange.  'Nuff said.

Then there are other opinions:
> https://www.tecmint.com/best-mail-transfer-agents-mta-for-linux/
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_mail_servers

Assume for the moment I dismiss sendmail and the non-free MTAs  as
possibilities.  Of the remaining three daemons, it's hard to choose
which one is "better".  It boils down to a matter of taste, and your
needs.  All three of the options have their grounding in academia, Exim
and Qmail more so than Postfix.  All three have regular updates,
including security updates.  All three have vibrant user communities.

In my networks and at my customers' sites, I run Postfix with Dovecot.
This may indeed be the result of "baby duck syndrome", because it was
the option I picked as most readily available to me with Red Hat Linux 5
(vice Sendmail) 'way back in the Dark Ages.  Postfix was my choice at a
web hosting company as the edge MTA when I was fighting blocklists and
large mail operators and having to deal with a ton of spam.  (N.B.: it
helps to know Perl or Python to code custom filters, if you need them.)

My suggestion:  take a look at the on-line documentation for each
program, or go to a well-stocked library and leaf through the O'Reilly
and Que books for each...and "for Dummies" books if you find 'em.
(Thank you, Mac McCarthy, for starting that imprint.)  Then decide which
ones fits you and your needs best.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Postfix vs Exim

Viktor Dukhovni
In reply to this post by vonProteus


> On Dec 25, 2017, at 3:31 AM, vonProteus <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> With one is better and why do you think so?
> I’m going to chose one and would like to know your opinion

Disclaimer: I am a Postfix developer and user, and hang out on the
Exim lists only because I've contributed some DANE-related code to
Exim.

With the above noted, I find the Exim source code a distasteful mess,
and observe in Exim a great deal more bug reports and bug fix activity,
which backs up my sense that the code quality in Exim is lower than in
Postfix.

Most users probably don't care about code quality and don't seem to
mind security patches now and then.  What sets Exim apart in terms
of features is that it has a lot more built-in controls.  There are
things you can do in Exim directly that would require a policy service,
milter or content filter in Postfix.  What sets Postfix apart is that
its built-in features are clean and easier to use and understand.
Postfix is not monolithic, and the combination of master-server plus
queue-manager and delivery agents outperforms Exim on busy servers.

The price of Exim's built-in controls is that the configuration
language is a fragile mess of nested curly brackets. Some care is
required to avoid issues akin to "SQL injection" where literal
external data might get confused with Exim's quoting and list
construction syntax.

Postfix, for example, supports LDAP groups with indirect
members as DN references and dynamic groups via query URIs
via the "special_result_attribute" lookup table property.
This required specialized internal code to present a high
level abstraction to the user.  In Exim, you get a raw
LDAP lookup interface, and get to split the result set
yourself, and then do any desired DN recursion.  In theory,
this is more flexible, you're in charge.  In practice it
can be much harder to get the basics right.

My impression is that Exim is more widely used by individual
users hosting their own domain, while Postfix is more widely
used by small businesses, service providers.  There is of course
a great deal of overlap, but I would estimate that Exim has more
MX hosts, and Postfix handles more mail.

If Postfix is sufficient for your needs, you'll find it is easier
to use and more reliable.  If you need fancy conditional logic
and want it all built-in, Exim may be more to your liking, but
you've been warned, it is easier to misconfigure, possibly in
ways that compromise security, so be careful.

--
        Viktor.