[Pkg-exim4-users] Dropping support for users of Debianhowto-vexim

Phillip Baker phil at lchost.co.uk
Tue Nov 29 14:47:07 UTC 2005

Hi Marc,

> In most cases, I found out that the people asking these questions have 
> used the directions listed in 
> http://www.debianhowto.de/de:howtos:sarge:exim4_vexim2_courier_mailman
> which basically say "disable the Debian magic and use our exim4.conf".

This is, to some extents, understandable. Vexim's example config changes a
lot of parts of the bog standard exim configuration. There is no reason
however that the split config file system could not be supported, but noone
has taken the time to split the monolithic example file down into "Debian
magic" friendly files. (I'm assuming by debian magic you're including the
split config schema that is default, as well as the debconf stuff).

Personally, I always use the monolithic config file because it's easier to
find things! As a long standing Debian and historically, "exim" package
user, I find the split configs and the debconf stuff counterintuitive - _to
what I want to do_. We use vexim very successfully across a number of
servers and have no problems whatsoever with operating without the 'magic'.

Are the problems people experiencing actually solvable using the debian
magic or is the problem just that their setup is different to what you would

> It basically says "you suck, get lost, we have backing of the 
> community", which is quite easy to say if you unload your support 
> burden on other people.

Wow, well. That's a mature and measured response, isn't it?

Would it be better to just write a better howto in english with an attached
wiki for FAQs - that will then hopefully outrank the debianhowto.de one and
become the more popular and clear resource? We could then provide
debian-magic friendly files for new/unsure users to use, and provide the
traditional monolithic format without the debconf stuff for those who know
what they're doing (with a suitable disclaimer attached to it).

> I am therefore tempted to drop any support for vexim-based 
> configurations and to send all people asking for support towards the 
> debianhowto.de people who have quite clearly demonstrated that they do 
> not care about the work load of the people providing Debian's exim.

This would be an overreaction. Vexim isn't your problem. The standard vexim
documentation is adequate for those with any familiarity with
linux/mail/exim to install vexim successfully without having any significant
problems. If we are seeing a large volume of users who are having problems
as a result of following debianhowto.de's walkthrough, then the problem
could well be there. Or, because it's the only (at last check) howto
available on putting vexim onto sarge (with all the toys) that non-german
speaking users are attempting to follow it (and promptly getting lost).

> If nobody from the Debian exim4 community objects, I'm going to place 
> warnings regarding this in our documentation, on Debian's exim4 web 
> pages and on the list description for pkg-exim4-users.

I still think this situation can be defused or allieviated without resorting
to debianhowto.de's style of response (ie "screw you"). Putting up a better
resource on making vexim coexist on a debian exim install would be the best
way of showing them up.

I'm happy to play host to a proper debian/vexim howto/wiki and can offer
suggestions but don't have time to do much documentation myself due to the
amount of work I have on at the moment - any other successfull debian &
vexim users lurking who could help out?

Phillip Baker
LCHost Chief Technical Officer
phil at lchost.co.uk
0870 068 HOST ext 50

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