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Postfix Documentation
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6 - Installing the software after successful compilation

This text describes how to install Postfix from source code. See the PACKAGE_README file if you are building a package for distribution to other systems. See auxiliary/MacOSX/README- INSTALL.OSX for information about installing Postfix from source on Mac OS X.

6.1 - Save existing Sendmail binaries

IMPORTANT: if you are REPLACING an existing Sendmail installation with Postfix, you may need to keep the old sendmail program running for some time in order to flush the mail queue. As superuser, execute the following commands (your sendmail, newaliases and mailq programs may be in a different place):

# mv /usr/sbin/sendmail /usr/sbin/sendmail.OFF
# mv /usr/bin/newaliases /usr/bin/newaliases.OFF
# mv /usr/bin/mailq /usr/bin/mailq.OFF
# chmod 755 /usr/sbin/sendmail.OFF /usr/bin/newaliases.OFF \

6.2 - Create account and groups

Before you install Postfix for the first time you need to create an account and a group:

  • Create a user account "postfix" with a user id and group id that are not used by any other user account. Preferably, this is an account that no-one can log into. The account does not need an executable login shell, and needs no existing home directory. My password and group file entries look like this:


    Note: there should be no whitespace before "postfix:".

  • Create a group "postdrop" with a group id that is not used by any other user account. Not even by the postfix user account. My group file entry looks like:


    Note: there should be no whitespace before "postdrop:".

6.3 - Install Postfix

To install or upgrade Postfix from compiled source code, run one of the following commands as the super-user:

# make install       (interactive version, first time install)

# make upgrade       (non-interactive version, for upgrades)
  • The non-interactive version ("make upgrade") needs the /etc/postfix/ file from a previous installation. If the file does not exist, use interactive installation ("make install") instead.

  • The interactive version offers suggestions for pathnames that you can override interactively, and stores your preferences in /etc/postfix/ for convenient future upgrades.

6.4 - Configure Postfix

Proceed to the section on how you wish to run Postfix on your particular machine:

  • Send mail only, without changing an existing Sendmail installation (section 7).

  • Send and receive mail via a virtual host interface, still without any change to an existing Sendmail installation (section 8).

  • Run Postfix instead of Sendmail (section 9).

Postfix Documentation
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