A Secure and Easy-to-Use Mail Transfer Agent for Unix O’Reilly Releases “Postfix: The Definitive Guide”

Sebastopol, CA–Postfix, the open source mail transfer agent, is fast, easy to administer, and–perhaps best of all–secure. Highly respected for its efficiency and design, Postfix features a simple interface to a secure design. Its straightforward administration is managed with only two configuration files, eliminating much of the complexity that sendmail is known for, and it employs multiple layers of defense in its security to protect against attackers. In fact, most system administrators agree that Postfix has only one shortcoming: its existing documentation is terse and assumes a level of technical competency that most sys admins aren’t required to know. “Postfix: The Definitive Guide” (O’Reilly, US $34.95) by Kyle D. Dent changes all this.

This new book offers both a tutorial and complete reference for Postfix that system administrators of any level can tackle with ease. Gentler and more accessible in its approach than the official documentation, “Postfix: The Definitive Guide” provides a single, comprehensive source of documentation on this open source option. The book’s tutorial style will guide newcomers through the intricacies of Postfix, while also serving as a reference for seasoned users to thumb through whenever questions or problems arise. Altogether, this book makes the perfect resource for administrators who want to master Postfix or switch to it from other mail transfer agents.

Postfix was originally conceived as a replacement for sendmail, explains Dent, which, though more pervasive, challenges administrators with its intricate, monolithic architecture. “Postfix’s design eliminates many opportunities for security problems,” Dent notes. “It also eliminates much of the complexity that comes with managing a sendmail configuration. Postfix has been designed from the beginning to handle unexpected hardware or software problems gracefully.”

While basic Postfix configuration is easy, each site has unique needs that call for a certain amount of study. With careful background explanations and generous examples, this book eases readers from basic configuration to the full power of Postfix. It discusses the Postfix interfaces to various tools that round out a fully scalable and highly secure email system. These tools include POP, IMAP, LDAP, MySQL, Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL), and Transport Layer Security (TSL, an upgrade of SSL). A reference section for Postfix configuration parameters and an installation guide are included.

“Postfix: The Definitive Guide” covers the following topics and more:

-Basic installation and configuration
-DNS configuration for email
-Working with POP/IMAP servers
-Hosting multiple domains (virtual hosting)
-Mailing lists
-Handling unsolicited email (blocking spam)
-Security through SASL and TLS

Wietse Venema, creator of Postfix, writes in his foreword to the book, “One of the main goals of Postfix is wide adoption. Building Postfix was only the first challenge on the way to that goal. The second challenge was to make the software accessible…Truth to be said, I would not expect to see wide adoption of Postfix without a book that introduces the concepts behind the system, and that gives examples of how to get common tasks done. I was happy to leave the writing of this book to Kyle Dent.”

From compiling and installing Postfix to troubleshooting, “Postfix: The Definitive Guide” offers sys admins and anyone who deals with Postfix an all-in-one, comprehensive tutorial and reference to this MTA.

Additional Resources:

For more information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bio, and samples, see:

For a cover graphic in JPEG format, go to:

Postfix: The Definitive Guide
Kyle D. Dent
ISBN 0-596-00212-2, 264 pages, $34.95 US, $50.95 CA

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