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Sendmail, 3rd Edition by Bryan Costales

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Special Aliases

The behavior of the sendmail program requires that two specific aliases (Postmaster and MAILER-DAEMON) be defined in every aliases file.[10] Beginning with V8.7 sendmail, aliases that contain a plus character can be used to route mail on the basis of special needs. Also, beginning with V8.7 sendmail, databases that allow duplicates can be declared to help automate the creation of those files.

The Postmaster Alias

RFC2822 requires every site to accept for delivery mail that is addressed to a user named postmaster. It also requires that mail accepted for postmaster always be delivered to a real human being—someone who is capable of handling mail problems. If postmaster is not an alias, or a real user, sendmail syslog(3)s the following error:

can't even parse postmaster!

Unless a site has a real user account named postmaster, an alias is required in every aliases file for that name. That alias must be a list of one or more real people, although it can also contain a specification for an archive file or filter program. One such alias might look like this:

postmaster: bill, /mail/archives/postmaster,
       "|/usr/local/bin/notify root@mailhost"

Here, postmaster is lowercase. Because all aliases are converted to lowercase for lookup, Postmaster or even POSTMASTER could have been used for equal effect.

Note that there are three aliases to the right of the colon: a local user named bill, the full path of a file onto which mail messages will be appended, and a program to notify the ...

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