I’m always astounded when I think about the early designers of Internet technologies. They were (and many still are) an amazing group of people who developed software and technologies for a network that was minuscule, by comparison with today’s Internet. Yet their work scaled and has continued to function in not only a much larger but in a very different environment. The expansion hasn’t been completely without growing pains, but that doesn’t diminish this amazing feat. Sendmail is an example of one of the early technologies that was written for a different universe, yet is still relevant and handles a large portion of email today.
Postfix has an advantage in that it was built with an awareness of the scope and hostile environment it would have to face. In fact, its creation was motivated by the need to overcome some of the problems of software written in a more innocent age. What a difference a little hindsight can make.
I first started using Postfix when I was working with systems in a security-sensitive environment. The promise of more flexibility and better security caught my interest as soon as I heard about it. I was not disappointed. It didn’t take long before I was hooked, and preferred using Postfix everywhere. This book is my attempt to create a reference and a guide to understanding how Postfix works. Its main goal is to explain the details and concepts behind Postfix. It also offers instructions for accomplishing many specific tasks.
Documenting a piece of software that is still under active development is a bit like trying to stop running water. Sadly, this book will be incomplete even before it is out. I’ve tried to structure the information in the book in such a way as to exclude things that might become irrelevant or quickly out-of-date, so that what you find in the book will be good information for a long time to come. However, you may have to supplement this book with online documentation, web sites, and the Postfix mailing list for coverage of the latest features.