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Postfix: The Definitive Guide 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596002121
ISBN-10: 0596002122
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Excellent book." Information Security Bulletin, September 2004

About the Author

Kyle D. Dent works as an independent consultant and software developer in the New York metropolitan area. He has designed and implemented various security, network, and web-based applications for technology and financial firms. He has been working with Postfix in various settings since it was released by IBM in 1998. Kyle grew up with computers in an IBM family, but originally started working in publishing and as a teacher of English as a Second Language. He is an avid supporter of public libraries serving as a trustee at his local library and on his regional library system board. He has recently started to learn the classical guitar.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1st edition (December 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596002122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596002121
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Williams on August 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
After many years bashing my head against sendmail in all it's gory details I had amassed a fair amount of knowledge and documentation on handling the Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) in Linux and Mac OS X. This caused a fair amount of teeth gnashing when I discovered it had gone the way of all flesh in OS X Panther to be replaced with Postfix.

Fortunately, my first needs were simple and I came to realise that Postfix was a much easier system to install and maintain. Now that my needs are more complex, I was glad when this book hit my desk at exactly the same time as I started upgrading the corporate servers from Mac OS 9 to OS X Server.

Postfix: The Definitive Guide seems to fit the bill. It is a well-written and well-constructed guide to mail systems in general and Postfix in particular.

The book starts with a good overview of the underlying technology in Chapters 1 and 2. I can't blame Dent for my slight confusion in the section on addresses and headers - having RFC822 superseded by RFC2822 was just a little too much coincidence for this particular "bear of little brain." He then follows it with a chapter discussing Postfix's architecture, important since Postfix uses a much more modular approach than the sendmail monolith, with each part of the mail handling process a different executable and the single queue turned into five.

Once the background is well covered, Dent then gets onto the nitty-gritty of configuring and administering Postfix. He has certainly covered everything I needed, including spam handling, multiple domains, relaying, SASL authentication and using LDAP.
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Format: Paperback
After over a month of trying to get my first email server up and running using the try a setting, see what happens method, I finally gave up and bought this book. Now I'm in business.

Everywhere I read, people claimed the easiest to configure MTA was postfix, so that is why I began to use it. True, the documention on the website is helpful and so are the included examples, but if you don't have the concepts down, that is useless.

Thats where this great book comes in. This book isn't just a paper copy of the online docs, unlike most other computer books. It explains what stuff is, does, and what it means. I can read the config file just fine, I just don't know what the settings do. For example, the online docs showed how to setup masquerading and examples, but never told me what that meant. From a newbie standpoint, the masquerade meant the same thing as an alias. Well, those words mean the same thing. I need the vocabulary from the book to help me understand. Conanical is a common work in computer land? Maybe in Silicon Valley but not in NJ.

A glowing chapter is DNS and e-mail which more than pays for the entire book. Not only to I understand DNS better, I can setup a backup mail system. Another great thing is the author shows you an entire setup zone file in one chunk, instead of line by line explanations and never showing you the whole thing put together. DNS and Bind book anyone? For shame.

Also, The Hosting Multiple Domains is a fantastic chapter.

Anyways, if you are lost and feeling like and idiot like I was, get this book. Thanks Mr. Dent for a fantastic book that is clear and easy to understand.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember folk on the Postfix mailing list complaining about how long it was taking for this book to be written. Well, I've been writing a computer book for the past year and all I can say is 'I feel your pain Kyle'. Anyway, the wait has been well worthwhile, and possibly a benefit because the book deals with several new features only recently added to Postfix.
You know that an O'Reilly book is at least going to be half-decent, and possibly excellent. In this case Mr. Dent's work has hit the mark spot on, and to my mind earns an excellent rating. Why ? Well, first of all his writing style is clear, concise and easy to read. Secondly he's covered everything you'd want to know about Postfix, rather than an easy feature subset. And third, he's avoided the common pitfall with software guide books where the writer simply presents a jazzed-up version of a reference guide---lists of configuration parameters and their explaination making up the bulk of the book.
Kyle takes the time, and it's much appreciated by the way, to explain how Postfix features work, why they exist (very important), and when they should be used (or not used). I was particularly overjoyed to see that he has covered the configuration of the server to support both SASL and TLS. I'm sure that those chapters will save me _days_ of hair pulling in crypto-hell.
In summary: If you already run Postfix, and you're not Wietse Venema (well, I'm sure he has a complimentary copy already), then RUN out and buy this book. If you don't run Postfix, but were thinking of changing to a better MTA, then consider your options again because now that this book exists, Postfix is a more attractive choice for many admins. Even if you don't ever plan to run Postfix, this book is a pretty good read for those who are just plain interested in e-mail technology.
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