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sendmail Cookbook by Craig Hunt

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Chapter 2. Delivery and Forwarding

Introduction

Inbound mail is either delivered directly to the addressee or relayed to another mail host for delivery. Mail is directly delivered only if it is destined for the local host; mail destined for any other host is relayed. In this chapter, we look at ways to properly configure sendmail to deliver mail locally and forward it to other systems.

Delivery is a multistep process. First, sendmail must process the host portion of the delivery address and recognize that the mail is, in fact, addressed to the local host. If it isn’t addressed to the local host, it is relayed as described in Chapter 3. If it is addressed to the local host, the user portion of the address is processed against the aliases file to determine the proper delivery address. If the aliases file returns an external address, the mail is forwarded to the external host for delivery. If it returns the address of a local mailbox, sendmail checks for a .forward file. If the .forward file exists, the mail is delivered as specified by that file. Otherwise, the mail is delivered to the local mailbox. Figure 2-1 illustrates this delivery flow.[1]

The multistep delivery process
Figure 2-1. The multistep delivery process

sendmail processes each delivery address through the canonify ruleset and through the parse ruleset—rulesets 3 and 0. Aliasing starts when the result of that process tells sendmail to deliver the mail ...

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