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I'm trying to setup debugging in my Pylons website and it allows for emails to be sent when an error occurs.

The configuration asks for an SMTP server. It's running on Linux and I've always thought sendmail was the tool for this job.

Can sendmail act as an SMTP server? If not, are there any good light weight alternatives?

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Yes, sendmail can be used as SMTP server. Commonly used alternatives are Postfix, Exim and qmail, although I personally would not recommend qmail for a new system.

For a beginner, Postfix should just be fine.

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How would I go about setting sendmail up as a SMTP server? If I set the smtp server to localhost in my config, how does smtp intercept that? – Dan Aug 17 '10 at 6:54
A sincere advise: Don't use sendmail. Use Postfix. And for Postfix, there are dozens over dozens of tutorials and how-to articles on the net. Start with and – joschi Aug 17 '10 at 7:08
Why not use sendmail, sendmail is as good an mta as any out there, i know you are going to come up with FUD about being insecure well point to a remote exploit in sendmail for the past 3 years to backup your facts. – topdog Aug 17 '10 at 7:13
Postfix seems a lot bigger than what I need. All I want is for my python app to be able to email me which requires an SMTP server. Only the one application will be using it. sendmail seems nice and small which makes it perfect for my needs. No? – Dan Aug 17 '10 at 7:30
@topdog: yes, Sendmail is as good as any MTA out there. qmail is (mostly) too. But IMO and out of my experience they are both a PITA to configure and maintain properly as a beginner. You can recommend any MTA you like in your answer - I for my part recommend Postfix for a beginner. – joschi Aug 17 '10 at 7:30

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