[darcs-users] darcs vs sendmail

Trent W. Buck trentbuck at gmail.com
Sat Mar 14 04:31:20 UTC 2009

Florent Becker <florent.becker at ens-lyon.org> writes:

> trentbuck at gmail.com (Trent W. Buck) writes:
>> Eric Kow <kowey at darcs.net> writes:
>>> Darcs send relies on your mail transfer agent (sendmail, etc).  So the
>>> question for us darcs hackers is why does this happen?  Is it something
>>> we can fix (darcs isn't listening to sendmail properly), or is it the
>>> kind of situation where the universe is broken (MTAs silently accept
>>> messages they can't actually send) and the only thing we can do is post
>>> some diagnostic steps on the FAQ?
>> Unfortunately, if you do a stock Debian 4.0 or 5.0 install (i.e. "keep
>> clicking next"), you will get a host that provides /usr/sbin/sendmail
>> which accepts mail and KEEPS IT.  (In previous releases, you were forced
>> to configure the MTA at install time.)
> Trent, Petr, as Debian maintainers, what would you think about recommending
> (or suggesting) msmtp in the darcs package, and add "sendmail-command
> msmtp …" to /etc/darcs/prefs if msmtp is installed.

The Debian darcs package already suggests exim4 | mail-transport-agent,
which AIUI is the correct way to talk about a generic MTA (msmtp or
otherwise).  I don't think it is appropriate for the *Debian* darcs
package to endorse a *specific* MTA.

(However I think it's reasonable for Darcs upstream to say "we recommend
you use msmtp because it works for us.")

Regarding Recommends vs. Suggests,

  RECOMMENDS declares a strong, but not absolute, dependency.  The
  Recommends field should list packages that would be found together
  with this one in all but unusual installations.

  SUGGESTS is used to declare that one package may be more useful with
  one or more others. Using this field tells the packaging system and
  the user that the listed packages are related to this one and can
  perhaps enhance its usefulness, but that installing this one without
  them is perfectly reasonable.


I choose to keep this relationship as a suggestion, not a dependency,
because pushing via ssh does not need an MTA, and I believe the ssh-push
workflow is at least as valid (and probably *more* common) than the
pushing via email workflow.

Also note that in current releases of Debian and Ubuntu, recommendations
are OPT OUT.  That means that if you ask for Darcs, and Darcs recommends
an MTA, that MTA will be installed unless you go out of your way to
forcibly ignore the recommendation.

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