1. Introduction

The intent of this document is to explain how email works, and answer some of the questions that appear to meet the definition of `frequently asked questions' about e-mail software under Linux.

Modern Linux distributions give you a usable, preconfigured setup for electronic mail out of the box, usually featuring a late version of sendmail-v8. This HOWTO will assume that you have such a setup and a working Internet connection.

(For information on how to set up a PPP or SLIP link to an ISP, see the ISP Hookup HOWTO.)

Accordingly, unlike Vince Skahan's 1.x versions, this HOWTO focuses on user issues and architecture; most technical hair about UUCP, IDA sendmail and other formerly important topics has been dropped.

1.1. New versions of this document

This document will be posted monthly to the newsgroup comp.os.linux.answers You should also be able to view the latest version of this HOWTO on the World Wide Web at

1.2. Hardware requirements for email programs

There are no specific hardware requirements for mail under Linux. If you have the hardware necessary to connect to the Internet, it can support email over that link.

1.3. Software sources for email programs

The software you will need for email support is probably preinstalled in your Linux distribution. You will find updates on the Metalab Linux Archive, especially in the mail subdirectory.