Developer(s) Sendmail Consortium, Sendmail, Inc.
Stable release 8.14.5 / May 17, 2011; 6 months ago (2011-05-17)
Preview release MeTA1 1.0.Alpha1.0 / April 30, 2011; 6 months ago (2011-04-30)
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Mail transfer agent
License Sendmail License
Sendmail headquarters in Emeryville (in the same building as Jamba Juice).

Sendmail is a general purpose internetwork email routing facility that supports many kinds of mail-transfer and -delivery methods, including the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) used for email transport over the Internet.

A descendant of the delivermail program written by Eric Allman, Sendmail is a well-known project of the free and open source software and Unix communities, and has spread both as free software and proprietary software. Greg Olson incorporated the company and drove sales in the early years. When sales went flat in Europe, he took charge of the territory and European sales resumed their brisk pace. He served as Sendmail's CEO for a time.



Allman had written the original ARPANET delivermail which shipped in 1979 with 4.0 and 4.1 BSD. He wrote Sendmail as a derivative of delivermail early in the 1980s at UC Berkeley. It shipped with BSD 4.1c in 1983, the first BSD version that included TCP/IP protocols.

In 2001, approximately 42% of the publicly-reachable mail-servers on the Internet ran Sendmail.[1] More recent surveys have suggested a decline, with 29.4% of mail servers in August 2007 detected as running Sendmail in a study performed by E-Soft, Inc.[2] Sendmail is trailed by Microsoft Exchange Server, Exim, and Postfix; these four being the only mail servers with more than 10% of the total.

Allman designed Sendmail to incorporate great flexibility, but it can be daunting to configure for novices.[3] Standard configuration packages delivered with the source code distribution require the use of the M4 macro language which hides much of the configuration complexity. The configuration defines the site-local mail delivery options and their access parameters, the mechanism of forwarding mail to remote sites, as well as many application tuning parameters.

Sendmail supports a variety of mail transfer protocols, including SMTP, ESMTP, DECnet's Mail-11, HylaFax, QuickPage and UUCP. Additionally, Sendmail v8.12 as of September 2001 introduced support for milters - external mail filtering programs that can participate in each step of the SMTP conversation.

New development

The next generation of Sendmail was initially called Sendmail X, previously it was called Sendmail 9, but it does not derive from the Sendmail version 8 code base. However, the development of Sendmail X was stopped in favor of a new project called MeTA1.

The first release of Sendmail X (smX- was made available on October 30, 2005. The final release was smX-1.0.PreAlpha7.0., released on May 20, 2006 under the same license used by Sendmail 8.

As of August 2010 development on MeTA1 continues, with the released code at the alpha stage.

Sendmail 8 releases

The information derives from RELEASE_NOTES file from sendmail distribution.


Sendmail originated in the early days of the Internet, an era when considerations of security did not play a primary role in the development of network software. Early versions of Sendmail suffered from a number of security vulnerabilities that have been corrected over the years.

Sendmail itself incorporated a certain amount of privilege separation in order to avoid exposure to security issues. As of 2009, current versions of Sendmail, like other modern MTAs, incorporate a number of security improvements and optional features that can be configured to improve security and help prevent abuse.

History of vulnerabilities

Sendmail vulnerabilities in CERT advisories and alerts:

The UNIX-HATERS Handbook dedicated an entire chapter to perceived problems and weaknesses of sendmail.


As of sendmail release 8.12.0 the default implementation of sendmail runs as the Unix user smmsp[4] — the sendmail message submission program.

See also


  1. ^ D. J. Bernstein (2001-10-04). "Internet host SMTP server survey". 
  2. ^ "E-Soft MX survey". 
  3. ^ "Sendmail Installation and Operations Guide". 
  4. ^ "Sendmail release notes". The Sendmail Consortium. Retrieved 2009-08-30. "8.12.0/8.12.0 2001/09/08 *NOTICE*: The default installation of sendmail does not use set-user-ID root anymore. You need to create a new user and a new group before installing sendmail (both called smmsp by default). [...] Please see sendmail/SECURITY for details." 


  • Bryan Costales with Eric Allman (October 2007). sendmail, 4th Edition. O'Reilly and Associates.  — This is the Sendmail "bible" containing 1308 pages about Sendmail. It is also known as "The Bat Book", because of the picture on its cover. The 1st Edition was published in November 1993.
  • Bryan Costales, George Jansen, Claus Assmann, Gregory Shapiro (September 2004). sendmail 8.13 Companion. O'Reilly and Associates.  — A companion to sendmail, 3rd Edition, this book documents the improvements in V8.13 in parallel with its release.
  • Craig Hunt (December 2003). sendmail Cookbook. O'Reilly. 
  • Nick Christenson (2002-09-13). sendmail Performance Tuning. Addison-Wesley.  [1]

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sendmail — Entwickler Sendmail Consortium, Sendmail, Inc. Aktuelle Version 8.14.5 (17. Mai 2011) Betriebssystem alle bekannteren Unix Derivate Kategorie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sendmail — est un serveur de messagerie électronique dont le code source est ouvert. Il se charge de la livraison et de l envoi de courriers électroniques (courriels). Descendant du logiciel ARPANET Delivermail, Sendmail est un programme très flexible… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • SendMail — Логотип Тип Почтовый сервер Разработчик Sendmail Consortium, Sendmail, Inc. ОС Кроссплатформенная Верс …   Википедия

  • Sendmail — Тип Почтовый сервер Разработчик Sendmail Consortium, Sendmail, Inc. Операционная система Кроссплатформенная Последняя версия 8.14.5 (16 мая 2011) Лицензи …   Википедия

  • Sendmail — Desarrollador Sendmail, Inc. Información general Última versión estable …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sendmail — Sendmail,   älterer, kostenlos verteilter Message Transfer Agent, der auf dem größten Teil als Mail Server im Internet genutzt wird; anfänglich für den Unix Ableger BSD (BSD Unix) entwickelt, ist das Programm inzwischen für fast jede Plattform… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Sendmail — es un popular agente de transporte de correo (MTA Mail Transport Agent) en Internet, cuya tarea consiste en encaminar los mensajes correos de forma que estos lleguen a su destino. Se afirma que es el más popular MTA, corriendo sobre sistemas Unix …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • SENDMAIL — Один из старейших агентов передачи почты (MTA mail transfer agent). Распространяется бесплатно вместе с исходными кодами. Существуют версии программы для практически всех операционных систем и аппаратных платформ Словарь бизнес терминов. Академик …   Словарь бизнес-терминов

  • sendmail — ● np. m. ►MAIL Nom de la commande ultra classique sous Unix lançant le MTA Sendmail …   Dictionnaire d'informatique francophone

  • Sendmail — n. UNIX message transfer agent (developed by Sendmail Inc.) …   English contemporary dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.