mini-HOWTO install qmail with MH
Christopher Richardson (email@example.com)
v1.4, 5 March 1998
I am just documenting my installation experiences to offer some help to
other users who wish to use the above combination for their email.
v1.4 - I have finally got a new Linux box running so I decided to
update this mini-howto
My thanks to all netizens who have helped me, especially Tony Nugent
(firstname.lastname@example.org), David Summers (email@example.com)
and S.u.S.E ( Linux distribution) who has made installing Linux so much easier,
and the authors of the above excellent programs.
What is qmail and why should I use it? Here is the authorīs (Dan Bernstein)
qmail is a secure, reliable, efficient, simple message transfer agent.
It is meant as a replacement for the entire sendmail-binmail system on
typical Internet-connected UNIX hosts.
Secure: Security isn't just a goal, but an absolute requirement. Mail
delivery is critical for users; it cannot be turned off, so it must be
completely secure. (This is why I started writing qmail: I was sick of
the security holes in sendmail and other MTAs.)
Reliable: qmail's straight-paper-path philosophy guarantees that a
message, once accepted into the system, will never be lost. qmail also
supports maildir, a new, super-reliable user mailbox format. Maildirs,
unlike mbox files and mh folders, won't be corrupted if the system
crashes during delivery. Even better, not only can a user safely read
his mail over NFS, but any number of NFS clients can deliver mail to him
at the same time.
Efficient: On a Pentium under BSD/OS, qmail can easily sustain 200000
local messages per day---that's separate messages injected and delivered
to mailboxes in a real test! Although remote deliveries are inherently
limited by the slowness of DNS and SMTP, qmail overlaps 20 simultaneous
deliveries by default, so it zooms quickly through mailing lists. (This
is why I finished qmail: I had to get a big mailing list set up.)
Simple: qmail is vastly smaller than any other Internet MTA. Some
reasons why: (1) Other MTAs have separate forwarding, aliasing, and
mailing list mechanisms. qmail has one simple forwarding mechanism that
lets users handle their own mailing lists. (2) Other MTAs offer a
spectrum of delivery modes, from fast+unsafe to slow+queued. qmail-send
is instantly triggered by new items in the queue, so the qmail system
has just one delivery mode: fast+queued. (3) Other MTAs include, in
effect, a specialized version of inetd that watches the load average.
qmail's design inherently limits the machine load, so qmail-smtpd can
safely run from your system's inetd.
Replacement for sendmail: qmail supports host and user masquerading,
full host hiding, virtual domains, null clients, list-owner rewriting,
relay control, double-bounce recording, arbitrary RFC 822 address lists,
cross-host mailing list loop detection, per-recipient checkpointing,
downed host backoffs, independent message retry schedules, etc. In
short, it's up to speed on modern MTA features. qmail also includes a
drop-in ``sendmail'' wrapper so that it will be used transparently by
your current UAs.
SuSE Linux Distribution 5.1 with 2.0.33 kernal.
PPP link to ISP
Follow the INSTALL instructions exactly.
Please take the time to read the Fine documentation completely.
The numerals refer to the installation steps in the above INSTALL doc.
- 2 - I had to set up the groups and users manually as per INSTALL.ids
- 7 - ./qmail-makectl did not work on my system. I added my domain name (mickey.n.eunet.de) manually in /var/qmail/control/me
- 23 - Make sure qmail-smtpd is spelt correctly in the inetd-conf file.
(I spelt it incorrectly i.e. qmail-smptd, which took me two days to find:( )
smtp stream tcp nowait qmaild /var/qmail/bin/tcp-env tcp-env
Dan Bernstein has provided a package for sending queued email to an ISP
via dial-in. This package is available as serialmailxxx from his site.
Install this package as described in the man page (Thanks Rupert Mazzucco
(firstname.lastname@example.org), it works out of the box!
maildir2smtp - blast a maildir across SMTP
maildir2smtp is designed to pass messages along a SLIP or
PPP link. To set this up on the disconnected end, create
a new maildir in alias:
# maildirmake ~alias/pppdir
# chown -R alias ~alias/pppdir
into control/virtualdomains and
into ~alias/.qmail-ppp-default. Don't forget the extra
slash in pppdir/. Then, in the PPP startup script, do
maildir2smtp ~alias/pppdir alias-ppp- $IP `hostname`
replacing $IP with the remote IP address.
- Please read the Fine manual page completely.
- Maildir2smtp requires the dotted IP address of your mail server. If you do not have this then ping YourMail.host.country which will return the IP.
- This command can be included in your login script to flush all queued mail after logging in to your ISP.
In addition to this, I also replaced /mh-6.8.4/mts/sendmail/smail.c with
Dan Bernsteinīs mh-qmail-smail.c
This is what my mh-6.8.4/conf/MH looks like:
#remove mv -f
ccoptions -traditional -O2 -m486 -D_NFILE='getdtablesize()'
- I have only compiled ``mts sendmail'' - read in comp.mail.mh somewhere that /smtp can cause problems. Dominic Mitchell (email@example.com) wrote in comp.mail.mh (13 June 1997):
``Not quite. With this option MH still talks SMTP, just over a pipe
and not over a network. You *really* need a line in your /.mh_profile
Or whever it's kept on your system. This will pass the message
directly to sendmail in the traditional manner. You're using
qmail of course, so sendmail will be qmail's wrapper script, but that's
just fine.'' Thanks Dominic.
- I have remmed out ``mail'' because I want to control it via mtstailor
As qmail delivers mail to the home directory (~/Mailbox). I added the
following to my mtstailor
- sendmail: /usr/lib/sendmail is a link to the qmail sendmail wrapper in
- MH does not like the tilde notation (~/) use /home instead or leave blank which according to the docs defaults to $HOME.
- I recently installed MH and qmail on my office machine which is connect via ethernet. I added the following line to mtstailor:
Here is my .mh_profile
comp: -form /home/rdn/.mymh-components
- I put in the MailDrop line to be ``sure to be sure''.
I decided to use fetchmail because I have a multiuser (my family :).
Linux and fetchmail delivers mail to the smtp port where qmail takes over.
Installation was no problem, multidrop works with the following .fetchmailrc :
# the next two lines do the trick for multidrop
is * here
# T2 of the fetchmail FAQ states that qmail needs this
This is my mailer by choice. I love it.
There is one problem - most pre-compiled TCL/TK packages have the security
option compiled in.
The following script .xserverrc.secure which came with SuSE solves this.
# move this file to ~/.xserverrc, if you don't want to allow everybody to
# get access to your X-Server
if [ -x /usr/bin/keygen ]; then
if [ ! -x /usr/bin/hostname -a ! -x /bin/hostname \
-a ! -x /usr/bsd/hostname ];
echo "startx: can't get my hostname - exiting"
xauth add $host:0 . `/usr/bin/keygen`
xauth add $host/"unix":0 . `/usr/bin/keygen`
exec X :0 -auth .Xauthority $*
exec X :0 $*
The qmail FAQ gives this command:
In /.qmail add the line
| preline procmail
Version 3.11pre7 has changed the default mail box variable. It used to
be in config.h. It is now in src/authenticate.c:
#define MAILSPOOLHOME "/Mailbox" /* watch the leading / */
/* delivers to $HOME/Mailbox */
I have culled from comp.mail.mh ans comp.mail.misc some hints on a .procmailrc file. Thanks to everyone!
# A SAMPLE .PROCMAILRC FILE FOR NOVICES
# Written by Catherine Hampton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
# Version 1.1
# Updated 1/25/98
# Released to the Public Domain.
# SET VARIABLES
# Internal Variables
# the following have be modified by rdn 19980303
# Everyone says that the SHELL environment is essential
SHELL=/bin/sh #Shell used to run procmail. Be sure this points to
#your system's copy of sh. DO NOT substitute a
#different shell unless you really know UNIX
LINEBUF=4096 #Needed to keep Procmail from choking on long
#"recipes", or instructions on what to do with
#particular kinds of email.
#Path for your programs -- this is probably best
VERBOSE=off #Change this to "on" when you try a new recipe
#so that Procmail will log literally every step
#it takes. DO NOT LEAVE IT ON, though, because
#it creates huge logfiles.
# Default Program & file locations
MAILDIR=$HOME/Mail #you'd better make sure this directory exists
DEFAULT=$HOME/Mailbox #default incoming mailbox for shell2-5 users
#on Best Internet. Substitute the correct
#setting for your system.
LOGFILE=$MAILDIR/procmail.log #Logs message disposition. Recommended -- otherwise
#errors are emailed to you. :/
FORMAIL=/usr/bin/formail #useful for autoreply recipes. If you
#are not on Best Internet, modify this to
#your system's copy of formail.
SENDMAIL=/usr/sbin/sendmail #useful for autoreply recipes. If you are
#not on Best Internet, modify this to point
#to your system's copy of sendmail.
Procmail is an excellently documented program. Read the man pages for examples
on how to set up your .procmailrc file.
I am including this although this has nothing to do with qmail or
mh. But without a PPP line to your ISP there is no email at all. I had
quite a bit of bother to get my ISDN working. The SusE distribution
includes a configuration for ISDN, but I wanted something simpler. The
stuff here was adapted from Bernhard Hailer's scripts. (Vielen, vielen
The following rc.config loads the necessary modules during
# This is adapted Bernhard Hailer's old script
LOCAL_NUMBER="91311234" # tel no. 091311234
REMOTE_NUMBER="0911123456" # ISP tel no.
LOCAL_IP="192.168.0.99" # I have dynamic IP so this will do
REMOTE_IP="18.104.22.168" # your ISP's gateway
case "$1" in
# turn on isdn
# load the hisax module
id=Tel0 type=5 protocol=2 irq=10 io=0x300
echo "starting isdn4linux"
$ISDNCTRL verbose 0
$ISDNCTRL addif $DEVICE # create new interface
$ISDNCTRL addphone $DEVICE in $REMOTE_NUMBER
$ISDNCTRL addphone $DEVICE out $REMOTE_NUMBER
$ISDNCTRL eaz $DEVICE $LOCAL_NUMBER
$ISDNCTRL l2_prot $DEVICE hdlc
$ISDNCTRL l3_prot $DEVICE trans
$ISDNCTRL encap $DEVICE syncppp
$ISDNCTRL huptimeout $DEVICE 300
$ISDNCTRL chargehup $DEVICE off
$ISDNCTRL secure $DEVICE on
$SYSPATH/ifconfig $DEVICE $LOCAL_IP pointopoint $REMOTE_IP metric 1
$SYSPATH/route add default $DEVICE
$SYSPATH/ipppd /dev/ippp0 file /etc/ppp/options.ipppd &
$SYSPATH/route del default
#turn off isdn
echo "Shutting down isdn4linux"
$ISDNCTRL delif ippp0
echo "Usage: $0 (start|stop)"
I use the following script to dial out, it is called simply isdn on|off
# This is based on an old script from Bernhard Hailer
case "$1" in
echo "Calling ippp0"
/sbin/isdnctrl dial ippp0
# the sleep is important as it gives the PPP time to settle down
echo "Sleep for 8s for PPP handshake"
/sbin/route add default ippp0
echo "line open - checking...."
# check whether PPP negotiation was successful:
set `ping -qc3 -i1 $IP_ADDRESS 2>/dev/null | grep transmitted`
if [ $4 -gt 0 ];
echo "Starting fetchmail daemon"
/usr/bin/fetchmail -d 600 -k -v -a -L /var/log/fetchmail
echo "Flushing mail queue...."
~alias/pppdir alias-ppp- mail.server.ip.no `hostname`
/sbin/isdnctrl hangup ippp0
echo -n "Shutting down fetchmail daemon"
/sbin/isdnctrl hangup ippp0
/sbin/route del default # and delete route
echo "You're off line"
echo -e "\aUsage:"
echo "isdn on"
echo "isdn off"
The next lot is the ipppd options file /etc/ppp/options.ipppd
# Based on:
# Klaus Franken, email@example.com
# Version: 27.08.97 (5.1)
# This file is copy by YaST from /etc/ppp/ioptions.YaST
# to options.<device>
# my system name (only for CHAP!)
# name my_system_name
# accept IP addresses from peer
# use with dynamic IP
# try to get IP address from interface
# option specific to ipppd (as opposed to pppd)
# use only with static IP
# disable all header-compression
# sometimes you need this:
# max receive unit
# max transmit unit
# If this machine is a server, force authentication by uncommenting one
# of the following. However, if this machine is a client, doing this will
# prevent a succesful connection! (message "peer refused to authenticate").
# So, only uncomment on a server.
# "+pap" / "+chap" NUR AKTIVIEREN, WENN DIES EIN SERVER IST!!!
# if you have problems with handshaking (no response for first
# lcp-package) try to decrease the retry-cycle. Default is 3 sec,
# try for example 2 sec:
# lcp-restart 2
The net is so dynamic that it is pretty pointless to give sources.
but for what it's worth:
- Find Qmail, setserial on
- Find MH on
- Find glimpse on
- Find Fetchmail on
- Find Exmh
- Find Procmail
The usual no guarantees, no money back, use at your own risk.
Has anyone got mh working with Maildir? I have not tried - the
principle of not fixing a running system. If you have got it working
please mail me your instruction for inclusion in the next revision