Systems Engineering for Network Debugging, Integration and Test. A two-year European Commission funded project to produce software tools for distributed applications running on networks of microcontrollers.

Last updated: 1994-07-21



The BSD Unix Message Transfer Agent supporting mail transport via TCP/IP using SMTP. Sendmail is normally invoked in the background via a Mail User Agent such as the mail command.

Sendmail was written by Eric Allman at the University of California at Berkeley during the late 1970s. He now has his own company, Sendmail Inc.

Sendmail was one of the first programs to route messages between networks and today is still the dominant e-mail transfer software. It thrived despite the awkward ARPAnet transition between NCP to TCP protocols in the early 1980s and the adoption of the new SMTP Simple Mail Transport Protocol, all of which made the business of mail routing a complex challenge of backward and forward compatibility for several years. There are now over one million copies of Sendmail installed, representing over 75% of all Internet mail servers.

Simultaneously with the announcement of the company in November 1997, Sendmail 8.9 was launched, featuring new tools designed to limit junk e-mail. SendMail 8.9 is still distributed as source code with the rights to modify and distribute.

The command

 sendmail -bv ADDRESS

can be used to learn what the local mail system thinks of ADDRESS. You can also talk to the Sendmail daemon on a remote host FOO with the command

 telnet FOO 25

Last updated: 1998-08-25


sendmail's configuration file, which it reads once when starting up, usually found in the /etc directory.

Only real Unix Gurus can understand, let alone modify, this file since it consists moslty of header rewrite rules written as M4 macros, as well as various other one- or two-character commands.

Last updated: 1996-12-09

Sendmail Inc.


The company, announced in November 1997 and launched in March 1998, created by Eric Allman, the original author of Sendmail. Allman is Chief Technology Officer, Greg Olson is President and CEO.

Sendmail Inc. will sell commercial upgrades, service and support to Internet Service Providers and corporations running critical e-mail applications, while still continuing freeware development.

Sun Microsystems founders Bill Joy and Andy Bechtolscheim are among the investors in the company, along with Tim O'Reilly of publishers O'Reilly & Associates and John Funk of e-mail company InfoBeat Inc..

Allman said that he devoted the fist six months of the life of Sendmail Inc. to finalising the freeware release. A commercial version was due in summer 1998, at around $1000 per server. The company is expected to reach $40m annual sales within three years. Funding is in the region of $1.25m.

Address: Emeryville, California, USA.

Last updated: 1998-08-25

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