Usually, you do not need to setup an email server under Linux desktop operating system. Most GUI email clients (such as Thunderbird) supports Gmail POP3 and IMAP configurations. But, how do you send mail via the standard or /usr/bin/mail user agents or a shell script? Programs such as sendmail / postfix / exim can be configured as a gmail smarthost but they are largely overkill for this use.
You can use gmail as a smart host to send all messages from your Linux / UNIX desktop systems. You need to use a simple program called ssmtp. It accepts a mail stream on standard input with recipients specified on the command line and synchronously forwards the message to the mail transfer agent of a mailhub for the mailhub MTA to process. Failed messages are placed in dead.letter in the sender’s home directory.
Type the following command under CentOS / RHEL / Red Hat / Fedora Linux:
# yum install ssmtp
Type the following command under Debian / Ubuntu Linux:
# apt-get update && apt-get install ssmtp
Configure gmail as a smarthost
Open /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf, enter:
# vi /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf
Update file with the following settings:
AuthUserfirstname.lastname@example.org AuthPass=Your-Gmail-Password FromLineOverride=YES mailhub=smtp.gmail.com:587 UseSTARTTLS=YES
Also, make sure you disable Sendmail:
# service sendmail stop
# chkconfig sendmail off
# mkdir /root/.bakup
# mv /usr/sbin/sendmail /root/.bakup
# ln -s /usr/local/ssmtp/sbin/ssmtp /usr/sbin/sendmail
Now, you can use mail / mailx command to send email messages. You can also write a shell script to backup your files and email to somewhere else (see below). You can test settings using following syntax:
$ echo "This is a test" | mail -s "Test" email@example.com
A note about sSMTP
sSMTP works well for desktop systems, but it is not a replacement for Sendmail / Postfix / Exim / Qmail for email server environment. This software is perfect for a single user system.
- man page ssmtp
- A shell script to backup directories & files and email them as .tar.gz file.
- Alpine is a text-based e-mail client. It supports POP3 and IMAP configurations.