INSTALL   [plain text]

1 - Purpose of this document

This document describes how to build, install and configure a
Postfix system so that it can do one of the following:

    - Send mail only, without changing an existing sendmail

    - Send and receive mail via a virtual host interface, still
      without any change to an existing sendmail installation.

    - Replace sendmail altogether.

2 - Typographical conventions

In the instructions below, a command written as

    # command

should be executed as the superuser. 

A command written as

    % command

should be executed as an unprivileged user.

3 - Documentation

Documentation is available as HTML web pages (point your browser
to html/index.html) and as UNIX-style man pages (point your MANPATH
environment variable to the `man' subdirectory; be sure to use an
absolute path).

The sample configuration files in the `conf' directory have extensive
comments, but they may not describe every nuance of every feature.

Many files have their own built-in manual page.  Tools to extract
those embedded manual pages are available in the mantools directory.

4 - Building on a supported system

If your system is supported, it is one of

    AIX 3.2.5
    AIX 4.1.x
    AIX 4.2.0
    AIX 4.3.x
    AIX 5.2
    BSD/OS 2.x
    BSD/OS 3.x
    BSD/OS 4.x
    Darwin 1.x
    FreeBSD 2.x
    FreeBSD 3.x
    FreeBSD 4.x
    FreeBSD 5.x
    HP-UX  9.x
    HP-UX 10.x
    HP-UX 11.x
    IRIX 5.x
    IRIX 6.x
    Linux Debian 1.3.1
    Linux Debian 2.x
    Linux RedHat 3.x (August 2002)
    Linux RedHat 4.x
    Linux RedHat 5.x
    Linux RedHat 6.x
    Linux RedHat 7.x
    Linux Slackware 3.x (long ago)
    Linux Slackware 4.x
    Linux Slackware 7.x
    Linux SuSE 5.x
    Linux SuSE 6.x
    Linux SuSE 7.x
    Mac OS X
    NEXTSTEP 3.x (long ago)
    NetBSD 1.x
    OPENSTEP 4.x
    OSF1.V3 (Digital UNIX)
    OSF1.V4 aka Digital UNIX V4
    OSF1.V5 aka Digital UNIX V5
    OpenBSD 2.x
    OpenBSD 3.x
    Reliant UNIX 5.x
    Rhapsody 5.x
    SunOS 4.1.x (December 2002)
    SunOS 5.4..5.8 (Solaris 2.4..8)
    Ultrix 4.x (well, that was long ago)

or something closely resemblant.

On Solaris, the "make" command and other utilities for software
development are in /usr/ccs/bin, so you MUST have /usr/ccs/bin in
your command search path.

If you need to build Postfix for multiple architectures, use the
lndir command to build a shadow tree with symbolic links to the
source files. lndir is part of X11R6.

If at any time in the build process you get messages like: "make:
don't know how to ..." you should be able to recover by running
the following command from the Postfix top-level directory:

    % make -f Makefile.init makefiles

If you copied the Postfix source code after building it on another
machine, it is a good idea to cd into the top-level directory and

    % make tidy

first. This will get rid of any system dependencies left over from
compiling the software elsewhere.

To build with GCC, or with the native compiler if people told me
that is better for your system, just cd into the top-level Postfix
directory of the source tree and type:

    % make

To build with a non-default compiler, you need to specify the name
of the compiler:

    % make makefiles CC=/opt/SUNWspro/bin/cc	(Solaris)
    % make

    % make makefiles CC="/opt/ansic/bin/cc -Ae"	(HP-UX)
    % make

    % make makefiles CC="purify cc"
    % make

and so on. In some cases, optimization is turned off automatically.

In order to build with non-default settings, for example, with a
configuration directory other than /etc/postfix, use:

    % make makefiles CCARGS='-DDEF_CONFIG_DIR=\"/some/where\"'
    % make

Be sure to get the quotes right. These details matter a lot.

Parameters whose defaults can be specified in this way are:

    Macro name          default value for  typical default
    DEF_COMMAND_DIR     command_directory /usr/sbin
    DEF_CONFIG_DIR      config_directory  /etc/postfix
    DEF_DAEMON_DIR      daemon_directory  /usr/libexec/postfix
    DEF_MAILQ_PATH      mailq_path        /usr/bin/mailq
    DEF_MANPAGE_DIR     manpage_directory /usr/local/man
    DEF_NEWALIAS_PATH   newaliases_path   /usr/bin/newaliases
    DEF_README_DIR      readme_directory  no (do not install)
    DEF_SAMPLE_DIR      sample_directory  /etc/postfix
    DEF_SENDMAIL_PATH   sendmail_path     /usr/sbin/sendmail

In order to build Postfix for very large applications, where you
expect to run more than 1000 delivery processes, you may need to
override the definition of the FD_SETSIZE macro to make select()
work correctly:

    % make makefiles CCARGS=-DFD_SETSIZE=2048

In any case, if the command

    % make

produces compiler error messages, it may be time to examine the
FAQ document (see html/faq.html).

5 - Porting to on an unsupported system

- Each system type is identified by a unique name. Examples:
SUNOS5, FREEBSD4, and so on.  Choose a SYSTEMTYPE name for the new
system. You must use a name that includes at least the major version
of the operating system (such as SUNOS4 or LINUX2), so that different
releases of the same system can be supported without confusion.

- Add a case statement to the "makedefs" shell script in the
top-level directory that recognizes the new system reliably, and
that emits the right system-specific information.  Be sure to make
the code robust against user PATH settings; if the system offers
multiple UNIX flavors (e.g. BSD and SYSV) be sure to build for the
native flavor, not the emulated one.

- Add an #ifdef SYSTEMTYPE section to the central util/sys_defs.h
include file.  You may have to invent new feature macros.  Please
choose sensible feature macro names such as HAS_DBM or
FIONREAD_IN_SYS_FILIO_H.  I strongly recommend against #ifdef
SYSTEMTYPE dependencies in individual source files.  This may seem
to be the quickest solution, but it will create a mess that becomes
increasingly difficult to maintain over time. Moreover, with the
next port you'd have to place #ifdefs all over the source code

6 - Installing the software after successful compilation

This text describes how to install Postfix from source code.  See
the PACKAGE_README file if you are building a package for distribution
to other systems.

IMPORTANT: if you are REPLACING an existing sendmail installation
with Postfix, you may need to keep the old sendmail program running
for some time in order to flush the mail queue.  As superuser,
execute the following commands (your sendmail, newaliases and mailq
programs may be in a different place):

    # mv /usr/sbin/sendmail /usr/sbin/sendmail.OFF
    # mv /usr/bin/newaliases /usr/bin/newaliases.OFF
    # mv /usr/bin/mailq /usr/bin/mailq.OFF
    # chmod 755 /usr/sbin/sendmail.OFF /usr/bin/newaliases.OFF \

In order to install or upgrade Postfix:

- Create a user account "postfix" with a user id and group id that
  are not used by any other user account.  Preferably, this is an
  account that no-one can log into.  The account does not need an
  executable login shell, and needs no existing home directory.
  My password file entry looks like this:


  Note: there should be no whitespace before "postfix:".

- Make sure there is a corresponding alias in /etc/aliases:

    postfix: root

  Note: there should be no whitespace before "postfix:".

- Create a group "postdrop" with a group id that is not used by
  any other user account. Not even by the postfix user account.
  My group file entry looks like:


  Note: there should be no whitespace before "postdrop:".

- Optional: If you want to install symbol-stripped (non-debug) versions
  of the Postfix programs and daemons, do:

    % strip bin/* libexec/*

- Run one of the following commands as the super-user:

    # make install       (interactive version, first time install)
    # make upgrade       (non-interactive version, for upgrades)

  The non-interactive version needs the /etc/postfix/ file
  from a previous installation. If the file does not exist, use
  interactive installation instead.

  The interactive version offers suggestions for pathnames that
  you can override interactively, and stores your preferences in
  /etc/postfix/ for convenient future upgrades.

- Proceed to the section on how you wish to run Postfix on your
  particular machine:

    - Send mail only, without changing an existing sendmail
      installation (section 7).

    - Send and receive mail via a virtual host interface, still
      without any change to an existing sendmail installation
      (section 8).

    - Replace sendmail altogether (section 9).

7 - Configuring Postfix to send mail only

If you are going to use Postfix to send mail only, there is no need
to change your existing sendmail setup. Instead, set up your mail
user agent so that it calls the Postfix sendmail program directly.

Follow the instructions in the "Mandatory configuration file edits"
in section 10, and review the "To chroot or not to chroot" text in
section 11.

You MUST comment out the `smtp inet' entry in /etc/postfix/,
in order to avoid conflicts with the real sendmail.

Start the Postfix system:

    # postfix start

or, if you feel nostalgic, use the Postfix sendmail command:

    # sendmail -bd -qwhatever

and watch your syslog file for any error messages.

    % egrep '(reject|warning|error|fatal|panic):' /some/log/file

Typical logfile names are: /var/log/maillog or /var/log/syslog.
See /etc/syslog.conf for actual logfile names.

In order to inspect the mail queue, use

    % sendmail -bp

See also the "Care and feeding" section 12 below.

8 - Configuring Postfix to send and receive mail (virtual interface)

Alternatively, you can use the Postfix system to send AND receive
mail while leaving your sendmail setup intact, by running Postfix
on a virtual interface address.  Simply configure your mail user
agent to directly invoke the Postfix sendmail program.

The examples/virtual-setup directory gives instructions for setting
up virtual interfaces for a variety of UNIX versions.

In the /etc/postfix/ file, I would specify 

    myhostname =
    inet_interfaces = $myhostname
    mydestination = $myhostname

Follow the instructions in the "Mandatory configuration file edits"
in section 10, and review the "To chroot or not to chroot" text in
section 11.

Start the mail system:

    # postfix start

or, if you feel nostalgic, use the Postfix sendmail program:

    # sendmail -bd -qwhatever

and watch your syslog file for any error messages. 

    % egrep '(reject|warning|error|fatal|panic):' /some/log/file

Typical logfile names are: /var/log/maillog or /var/log/syslog.
See /etc/syslog.conf for actual logfile names.

In order to inspect the mail queue, use

    % sendmail -bp

See also the "Care and feeding" section 12 below.

9 - Turning off sendmail forever

Prior to installing Postfix you should save the existing sendmail
program files as described in section 6.

Be sure to keep the old sendmail running for at least a couple
days to flush any unsent mail. To do so, stop the sendmail daemon
and restart it as:

    # /usr/sbin/sendmail.OFF -q

After you have visited the "Mandatory configuration file edits"
section below, you can start the Postfix system with

    # postfix start

But the good old sendmail way works just as well:

    # sendmail -bd -qwhatever

and watch the syslog file for any complaints from the mail system.

    % egrep '(reject|warning|error|fatal|panic):' /some/log/file

Typical logfile names are: /var/log/maillog or /var/log/syslog.
See /etc/syslog.conf for actual logfile names.

See also the "Care and feeding" section 12 below.

10 - Mandatory configuration file edits

By default, Postfix configuration files are in /etc/postfix, and
must be owned by root.  Giving someone else write permission to or means giving root privileges to that person.

Whenever you make a change to a config file, execute the following
command in order to refresh a running mail system:

    # postfix reload

In /etc/postfix/ you will have to set up a minimal number of
configuration parameters. Postfix configuration parameters
resemble shell variables. You specify a variable as

    parameter = value

and you use it by putting a $ in front of its name:

    other_parameter = $parameter

You can use $parameter before it is given a value. The Postfix
configuration language uses lazy evaluation, and does not look at
a parameter value until it is needed at runtime.

First of all, you must specify what domain will be appended to an
unqualified address (i.e. an address without @domain.tld). The
"myorigin" parameter defaults to the local hostname, but that is
probably OK only for very small sites.

Some examples:

    myorigin = $myhostname
    myorigin = $mydomain

In the first case, local mail goes out as user@$myhostname, in
the second case the sender address is user@$mydomain.

Next you need to specify what mail addresses Postfix should deliver

Some examples:

    mydestination = $myhostname, localhost.$mydomain
    mydestination = $myhostname, localhost.$mydomain, $mydomain
    mydestination = $myhostname

The first example is appropriate for a workstation, the second is
appropriate for the mailserver for an entire domain. The third
example should be used when running on a virtual host interface.

If your machine is on an open network then you must specify what
client IP addresses are authorized to relay their mail through your
machine.  The default setting includes all class A, B or C networks
that the machine is attached to. Often, that gives relay permission
to too many clients.  My own settings are:

    mynetworks =,

If you're behind a firewall, you should set up a relayhost.  If
you can, specify the organizational domain name so that Postfix
can use DNS lookups, and so that it can fall back to a secondary
MX host when the primary MX host is down. Otherwise just specify
a hard-coded hostname.

Some examples:

    relayhost = $mydomain
    relayhost = mail.$mydomain
    relayhost = [mail.$mydomain]

The form enclosed with [] eliminates DNS MX lookups.

By default, the SMTP client will do DNS lookups for sender and
recipient addresses even when you specify a relay host. If your
machine has no access to a DNS server, turn off SMTP client DNS
lookups like this:

    disable_dns_lookups = yes

The FAQ (html/faq.html) has more hints and tips for firewalled
and/or dial-up networks.

Finally, if you haven't used Sendmail prior to using Postfix, you
will have to build the alias database (with: sendmail -bi, or:
newaliases). Be sure to set up aliases for root and postmaster that
forward mail to a real person. Postfix has a sample aliases file
conf/aliases that you can adapt to local conditions.

11 - To chroot or not to chroot

Postfix can run most daemon processes in a chroot jail, that is,
the processes run at a fixed low privilege and with access only to
the Postfix queue directories (/var/spool/postfix).  This provides
a significant barrier against intrusion. The barrier is not
impenetrable, but every little bit helps.

With the exception of the Postfix daemons that deliver mail locally,
every Postfix daemon can run chrooted.

Sites with high security requirements should consider to chroot
all daemons that talk to the network:  the smtp and smtpd processes,
and perhaps also the lmtp client.

The default /etc/postfix/ file specifies that no Postfix
daemon runs chrooted.  In order to enable chroot operation, edit
the file /etc/postfix/ Instructions are in the file.

Note that a chrooted daemon resolves all filenames relative to the
Postfix queue directory (/var/spool/postfix). For successful use
of a chroot jail,  most UNIX systems require you to bring in some
files or device nodes.  The examples/chroot-setup directory has a
collection of scripts that help you set up chroot environments for
Postfix systems.

IMPORTANT: if you enable chrooted operation of the SMTP server you
must copy the passwd file into the chroot jail, otherwise the SMTP
server will reject mail for local addresses.

44BSD systems:

    # mkdir /var/spool/postfix/etc
    # cp /etc/pwd.db /var/spool/postfix/etc

Other systems:

    # mkdir /var/spool/postfix/etc
    # cp /etc/passwd /var/spool/postfix/etc

You may also have to copy /etc/nsswitch.conf and the files referenced
by /etc/nsswitch.conf. See the system dependent scripts in
examples/chroot-setup for suggestions.

12 - Care and feeding of the Postfix system

The Postfix programs log all problems to the syslog daemon. The
names of logfiles are specified in /etc/syslog.conf. Note:  the
syslogd will not create files. You must create them ahead of time
before (re)starting syslogd. At the very least you need something

    mail.err					/dev/console
    mail.debug					/var/log/maillog

Hopefully, the number of problems will be small, but it is a good
idea to run every night before the syslog files are rotated:

    # postfix check
    # egrep '(reject|warning|error|fatal|panic):' /some/log/file

Typical logfile names are: /var/log/maillog or /var/log/syslog.
See /etc/syslog.conf for actual logfile names.

The first line (postfix check) causes Postfix to report file
permission/ownership discrepancies.

The second line looks for problem reports from the mail software,
and reports how effective the anti-relay and anti-UCE blocks are.