Huntsville Macintosh Users Group
Configuring Postfix Configuring Postfix
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by Marius Schamschula

Apple has stopped using sendmail under Mac OS X 10.3, Panther. Instead, Apple has switched to Postfix. The default installation does not work out of the box. There are a few configuration steps required to activate Postfix.


Edit /etc/postfix/aliases

First we want to define the standard mail aliases.

If you have run sendmail under Mac OS X 10.2.x or below, you will have the /etc/aliases file. Postfix keeps its version in /etc/postfix/aliases. It is best to transfer your settings manually, but you may cheat and copy it using the command line (/Applications/utilities/Terminal):

sudo cp /etc/aliases /etc/postfix

The shell will ask for your administrative password.

If you never had configured sendmail you will want to edit /etc/postfix/aliases. The best method is to use pico.

sudo pico /etc/postfix/aliases

Note: the file includes some basic instructions at the beginning and a full man(ual) page at the end.

Build aliases database

We now build the aliaases database:

sudo postalias /etc/postfix/aliases
sudo newaliases

Edit /etc/postfix/

/etc/postfix/ is the main configuration file for Postfix. We need to customize the generic default file to our specifications.

sudo pico /etc/postfix/

Change the following lines (substitute your own data for lines 75 and 253):

75: mydomain = 
91: myorigin = $mydomain 
105: inet_interfaces = all 
152: mydestination = $myhostname, localhost.$mydomain 
239: mynetworks_style = subnet 
253: mynetworks =,

Edit /etc/postfix/

We need to uncomment line 77.

sudo pico /etc/postfix/

Delete the leading # sign. i.e.:

#smtp      inet  n       -       n       -       -       smtpd


smtp      inet  n       -       n       -       -       smtpd

Setting the Permissions

For some reason the permissions of a number of files and directories are incorrectly set. We need to fix this. Note: You may have to restore these settings after repairing Disk permissions (see the article on repairing disk permssissions for more information).

sudo chown -R postfix /private/var/spool/postfix/*
sudo chown root /private/var/spool/postfix
sudo chgrp postdrop /private/var/spool/postfix/public
sudo chgrp postdrop /private/var/spool/postfix/maildrop
sudo chgrp postdrop /usr/sbin/postdrop
sudo chgrp postdrop /usr/sbin/postqueue

Edit /etc/hostconfig


Incoming Mail

Postfix accepts incoming mail and forwards outgoing mail. However, how can you retrieve your mail? This requires the imap and/or pop3 protocols. uw-imap from the University of Washington can provide this functionality.

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