Analysis of Sendmail, Inc.'s Largest Open Source Release in Twenty Years

  • Written By: P. Hayes
  • Published: March 1 2000

Event Summary

Demo 2000, Indian Wells, CA - Sendmail, Inc., the provider of the ubiquitous Sendmail Internet Mail platform for e-communications, applications and services, announced Open Source sendmail 8.10, the largest feature release in the 20 year history of the mail transfer agent (MTA), which routes the vast majority of mail traffic across the Internet.

Designed to satisfy the accelerating demands of Internet communications, sendmail 8.10 now includes SMTP authentication and support for the lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) and multiple queues. Nearly 5,000 users participated in the beta testing of the new version to ensure its quality and performance. (Source: Sendmail, Inc.).

Market Impact

During sendmail 8.10's development, over 5,000 beta users tested the product to reveal any issues and recommend improvements prior to the products final release. Revision 8.10 has improved in three key areas: security, integration and performance. Release 8.10 provides support for multi queuing, which allows mail to be transferred via multiple queues, allowing for a pseudo-form of "load balancing". The concept of multiple mail delivery queues allows for a solid message processing performance in sendmail. Release 8.10 also incorporates Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPV6), which allows support for trillions of hosts.

Security has been revamped and improved to protect an organization against spam. A new feature called " SMTP Authentication" has been added, which forces a spammer to provide a password prior to relay. DNS Blackhole capabilities have been configured to block mail from known spammers found on the Internet's black list. Release 8.10 includes a relay control mechanism, which identifies and purges large recipient base emails, a common technique among spammers.

Sendmail has released a shrink-wrapped commercial version of sendmail 8.10. The package is simply being called " Sendmail Switch". The product is attractively priced at $99 (USD) as an introductory promotion into the marketplace. The retail version includes a graphical user interface (GUI) and is slated to ship to market in March of 2000 (probability 95%).

User Recommendations

Current Sendmail product users will be pleased with the expected stability, in addition to the enhanced LDAP support, allowing for integration into all environments. The enhanced anti-spam measures will be a breath of fresh air for ISP network administrators struggling to keep spam down to a minimum.

The multiple mail queues are a welcome addition to any environment. Faster processing and routing of messages is always a serious plus. If you are either looking to upgrade your existing sendmail installation, or implement a new message transfer agent (MTA), take a look at sendmail 8.10 .

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