[Pkg-exim4-users] Fwd: Debian exim (was: [exim] which linux for exim)

Jeremiah Foster jeremiah.foster at gmail.com
Wed Sep 21 11:58:59 UTC 2005

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Jeremiah Foster <jeremiah.foster at gmail.com>
> Date: September 21, 2005 1:58:08 PM CEST
> To: Marc Haber <mh+exim-users at zugschlus.de>
> Subject: Re: Debian exim (was: [exim] which linux for exim)
> On Sep 20, 2005, at 5:37 PM, Marc Haber wrote:
>> On Tue, 20 Sep 2005 08:53:29 -0400, Marc Sherman
>> <msherman at projectile.ca> wrote:
>>> 2) The Debian package maintainers have customized and modified the  
>>> Exim
>>> config mechanisms quite aggressively, in an effort to handhold those
>>> same clueless newbies.
> So heartwarming to read in black-and-white the deep respect developers  
> have for users.
>>>  By doing so, they've obsoleted much of the
>>> existing documentation and faq material available on the net for  
>>> exim.
> No, the majority of the documentation is still relevant.
>> I have to object about that. Most documentation and FAQ material only
>> quote a router, a transport or an ACL snippet, which is as easily put
>> into our configuration scheme as it is in a hand-crafted exim.conf.
>> The issue is that our exim is useable for people who didn't read a
>> line of docs, and simply don't know the difference between a router
>> and a transport. That problem would be there as well if our
>> configuration scheme would operate on a monolithic exim.conf.
> I offer my own experience as case in point. I had virtual users  
> working within 48 hours of apt-getting exim 4.50, with authentication.  
> Marc's point is valid, you can run exim out of the box on debian  
> without any knowledge of SMTP or mail in general.
>>> This has the effect of steepening the learning curve quite  
>>> drastically
>>> for people who are just beginning to leave clueless newbie territory.
>> All people need is to read the docs. They don't.
> This is partly true. The debian documentation is not centrally  
> located, obtuse, and has tangential relevance to the documentation on  
> the main exim web site. A smaller spec file is a more realistic option  
> as is greater participation by the community to maintain wikis etc. I  
> have followed Marc's suggestion to create a document informing people  
> of where documentation lives. My preliminary document is here -  
> http://devmodul.com/documentation/exim/ 
> exim4_debian_documentation.shtml Please note this is a work in  
> progress.
>>> This problem is easily avoided by those with clue, who can simply
>>> install a standard exim config file as /etc/exim4/exim4.conf.  All of
>>> the debian config mechanism will still be there on disk, but you can
>>> ignore it.
>> Of course, the _really_ clueful people use the gazillions of hooks
>> that we provide to get their own customized config _and_ our updates
>> to the parts they didn't change.
> Clue is an unfortunate term. It is condescending and perjorative. The  
> issue really is how easy is it to install and run and how clear is the  
> documentation. To state that all failures running exim4 are due to the  
> "clueless newbies" is specious and indicative of the willful disregard  
> free software porgrammers in general have for users. No wonder tools  
> like Ubuntu are so popular, the world wants to use secure, good  
> software but installing debian is nearly impossible for many people.  
> This is not a fault of the users, this is a fault of the developers.
>>> 3) Debian's incredibly long stable release cycles mean that there are
>>> very significant periods of time where Debian will be shipping as
>>> "stable" a very outdated (and possibly buggy) version of Exim.  This  
>>> is
>>> exacerbated by the fact that the actual "make release here" point is
>>> chosen by Debian's release managers without much real warning (or
>>> rather, too much real warning, leading to a wolf-crying situation),  
>>> and
>>> as a result, Debian will often ship as stable a relatively immature  
>>> x.x0
>>> or x.x1 release.
> How can debian ship both an "outdated" and "immature" release under  
> stable? This seems a contradiction.
>> Debian potato had exim 3.12, Debian woody shipped with exim 3.35,
>> IIRC, which is hardly a "relatively immature" release, and Debian
>> sarge has 4.50 which works actually very well.
>>> For example, the current Debian stable release
>>> contains exim 4.50.  While many of the fixes from 4.51 were  
>>> backported
>>> into Debian's 4.50 package before Debian went stable, it would  
>>> probably
>>> have been better served to stick with 4.44, which had had 4 minor  
>>> point
>>> releases to stabilize before the major new features of 4.50 were  
>>> introduced.
>> Do you want to maintain the package? If we're doing really as bad a
>> job as you suggest, I'm happy to step back for you. Just say so.
>>> This _will_ be a problem for you if you choose to install Debian  
>>> stable.
> From my experience, if you can install debian you can install and  
> maintain exim.
> Jeremiah
Jeremiah Foster

jeremiah.foster at devmodul.com
Tel/Mobil: +46 (0)730 930 506
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