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LCA: Lessons from 30 years of Sendmail

Feb 10, 2011, 22:32 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"The Sendmail mail transfer agent tends to be one of those programs that one either loves or hates. Both its supporters and its detractors will agree, though, that Sendmail played a crucial role in the development of electronic mail before, during, and after the explosion of the Internet. Sendmail creator Eric Allman took a trip to Brisbane to talk to the LCA 2011 about the history of this project. Sendmail is, he said, 30 years old now; in those three decades it has thrived without corporate support, changed the world, and thrived in a world which was changing rapidly around it.

"The history

"Sendmail had its start at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1980; it was initially something Eric did while he was supposed to be working on the Ingres relational database management system. In those days, the Computer Science department had a dozen machines, but the main system was "Ernie CoVAX," which was accessed via ASCII terminals. There was a limited number of ports, so users had to connect via a patch panel in the mail room; contention for available ports was often intense."

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