Chapter 1. Release Notes

Each release of sendmail is packaged with a file called RELEASE_NOTES, located in the top level of the source distribution. The RELEASE_NOTES file itemizes new features that have been added to each particular version of sendmail since Version 8.1 (released in 1993). This file is very complete but, on the downside, can be difficult to parse.

In this chapter, we first show you the parts of a RELEASE_NOTES file, then we provide the code for a short program that makes reading the RELEASE_NOTES file easier.


Basically, the RELEASE_NOTES file is divided into sections, each of which deals with a separate release of sendmail. These sections are left-justified in the file. Each begins with a single line that contains the version number of the sendmail release, followed by a slash, followed by the version number of the configuration file release, followed by the date of the release. For example:

8.13.0/8.13.0   2004/06/20

Here, the first release of the V8.13 series (8.13.0) is indicated. The release of sendmail and its configuration file are the same. The date of the release is in the form year (first), month, and day.

Each such release section is then followed by indented sections that document a change in the sendmail binary. Some indented sections are prefixed with a keyword and colon. For the most part, those keyword sections describe a change in something other than the binary[1] and can look like this, for example:

SECURITY: Some security matter was fixed, and the description of
        that fix will appear here.
This item describes a change made to the sendmail binary.
LIBMILTER: This documents a change made to one of the files in the
        libmilter directory.

The keywords and the meaning of each is shown in Table 1-1.

Table 1-1. RELEASE_NOTES file keywords




This type of information is usually very important. You should read it first, as it contains information about a security matter and may involve some vital action.


This documents something you need to be aware of, usually an important change that might otherwise be overlooked.


This item documents the sendmail binary.


A change in the configuration file (located in the cf directory).


A change in one of the user-contributed programs (located in the contrib directory).


A change in how things are built (located in the devtools directory).


A change in the Milter library (located in the libmilter directory).


A change in the sendmail library (located in the libsm directory).


A change in the database library (located in the libsmdb directory).


A change in the sendmail utilities library (located in the libsmutil directory).


These documents are updated each release, so there is normally no need to indicate changes here. (See the doc directory.)


A change in the editmap(8) program or its manual (located in the editmap directory).


A change in the mail.local(8) program or its manual (located in the mail.local directory).


A change in the mailstats(8) program or its manual (located in the mailstats directory).


A change in the makemap(8) program or its manual (located in the makemap directory).


A change in the praliases(8) program or its manual (located in the praliases directory).


A change in the rmail(8) program or its manual (located in the rmail directory).


A change in the smrsh(8) program or its manual (located in the smrsh directory).


A change in the vacation(1) program or its manual (located in the vacation directory).

New Files:

The path to brand new files.

Renamed Files:

The old and new names for renamed files.

Copied Files:

A new file has been added by copying an existing file.

Deleted Files:

Obsolete files that have been removed.

Changed Files:

Files whose attributes have changed (such as file permissions).

[1] But the SECURITY keyword can, and generally does, describe the binary too.

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