I am setting up a server and I have the choice of installing qmail or postfix. Can someone help me make the right choice.
Thing I like to see covered are:
- Ease of setup
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afaik qmail is deprecated in most distros, so you'll probably have to build from source and forget about easy apt/yum style updates. If you still want to go with qmail, qmailrocks.org is what got me through a setup with minimal brain damage.
On the other hand, postfix seems to be replacing sendmail more and more, becoming the default MTA in some distributions, and there's a reason for that - active development, ease of configuration and plenty of documentation, and a huge user base, including the users of Zimbra, which runs postfix under the hood.
For the two choices you give, Postfix.
Security and performance are even -- both were designed and implemented by knowledgeable people with security and performance as high priorities. The two considerations play together, of course; a mail server that's been broken into has poor performance, and a poorly performing mail server is denial of service all by itself.
So the remaining criteria is ease of setup and maintenance. Postfix is way, way ahead there, IMHO and those of about 80-90% of the other people who've tried both.
I run Courier. I can install it from packages, but I prefer to compile it myself to get the "-O2" flag in there. I like it, it's quick, reliable, and well documented. Dropmail delivery agent has a rather expansive scripting language (very similar to C with RE). The IMAP server is somewhat well know, I just know it's fast and reliable.
I started with qmail and then moved to Postfix. No doubt about it, Postfix is MUCH easier to set up and is also more actively maintained and developed. Performance is quite good even when running it in an OpenVZ VM. I also set up SqlGrey, ClamAV, SpamAssassin and Maia Mailguard (http://www.maiamailguard.com) to keep the malware and spammers at bay. And as another response mentioned, Postfix is also designed to be secure. In fact, the Postfix author (Weitse Venema) and the qmail author (Dan Bernstein) had a sort of "feud" going where each was trying to prove that their software was better and more secure than the other. That sort of competition is just bound to result in good solid software on both sides.
Sendmail is dreadfull. Exim is installed by default but a pain to configure and has suffered from many security holes. Postfix is beauty incarnate, I've been using it since 99 and have never had cause to complain. Qmail is crippled by Dan Bernstein's weird licensing which prevents any of the Linux distributions from shipping it.
Also, the Packt book Linux Email is awesome, buy a copy!