s/qmail (pronounced skew-mail) is a Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) based on Qmail suited for high-speed and confidential email transport over IPv4 and IPv6 networks.

s/qmail preserves the Qmail ecosystem and ought to be a drop-in replacement for most sites.
s/qmail's mascot is the phoenix (SQRP).


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Scope and History

While Qmail provides the framework for a distributed MTA, my own developments and extensions for Qmail (e.g. SMTP Authentication, Spamcontrol) are considered necessary protocol extensions. s/qmail is a complete refactoring of the source code according to current demands for 64-bit systems and including IPv6 capabilities.

After now 20 years of Qmail's superior and uncompromised email delivery (since Qmail 1.01), s/qmail posses most of the 'future' Qmail features Dan Bernstein was heading for (see also: Qmail TODO).

The s/qmail 'universe' can be depict from here:

Figure: The s/qmail 'Big Picture' (available as PDF)

Communication and security features:

Note: DKIM is still under investigation.

Protocol extension: QMTPS

The Quick Mail Transport Protocol QMTP is an invention of Dan Bernstein and is a simple but fast host-to-host transparent email transport protocol, with very little protocol overhead. It has been adopted by Postfix as well. Also a Net-QMTP Perl module is available.

s/qmail provides additionally the TLS-secured protocol QMTPS to couple several s/qmail instances and distributed queues among different nodes.
IANA has now assigned port 6209 for QMTPS.

s/qmail's implementation of QMTPS supports together with sslserver X.509 client certificates enables qmail-qmtpd to relay email based on valid certificates used by qmail-remote.

Distributed Queueing:

Based on SMTP but rather preferably QMTP(S) or QMQP, s/qmail can be instructed to work in a distributed queue environment, typically given in case of a Cloud service. Authentication among the nodes and encryption on the links can be guaranteed using QMTPS. This feature is called enhanced 'Qmail Multiple Queues' (QMQ).

Figure: The s/qmail 'channels' and distributed queueing

It's light-weight design allows to deploy s/qmail nodes rapidly in a Cloud based service domain.

Included packages:

The basic s/qmail installation includes the following packages (adapted mostly from Dan Bernstein):

Supported Qmail packages:

s/qmail provides full support for the following vanilla Qmail add-ons unaltered:

Note 1: For those packages TLS encryption and IPv6 capabilities for any data-in-flight is possible with s/qmail.
Note 2: s/qmail Recipients extension is capable to understand ezmlm's VERP addresses.
Note 3: Authentication and recipient verification is provided out-of-the-box for vpopmail and VMailMgr as well.

My s/qmail extensions will work natively with Qmail:

Dependencies and installation of s/qmail

The installation of s/qmail tries to conform to existing Qmail systems as well as to provide a pre-configured and working MTA together with an easy update scheme:


For installation, s/qmail requires a development environment and additionally the OpenSSL development libraries (in particular on Linux).

In particular, the following packages are recommended:

Quick installation of s/qmail:

s/qmail uses D.J.B's slashpackage convention for installing while trying to keep the standard Qmail installation essentially unaltered:

Note: The package/install step respects your current Qmail settings.

Upgrade to s/qmail from qmail (+ perhaps Spamcontrol):

s/qmail will preserve your current qmail installation entirely under the following circumstances:


The basic s/qmail configuration is done by means of conf-XX files (in alphabetic order):

*) These files are coupled and need to be adjusted as one entity!

Step-by-step installation:

For an individual step-by-step installation the following commands can be executed:

  1. package/dir -- sets up the directories
  2. package/ids -- sets up the s/qmail users
  3. package/ucspissl -- hooks up the required sources and libs with package ucspi-ssl
  4. package/compile -- compiles the sources
  5. package/upgrade -- potentially does the upgrade
  6. package/legacy -- installs the binaries in the qmail directory
  7. package/man -- installes the man pages
  8. package/control -- populates the mininmal required control files for running
  9. package/sslenv -- sets up the SSL/TLS environments together with X.509 certs and key files (from ucspi-ssl)
  10. package/service -- sets up the run script for daemontools' /service and additionally the logging
  11. package/scripts setup optional, undocumented and unmaintained scripts
  12. package/run -- touches qmail/alias/ files and sets default-delivery


A concise documentation for s/qmail is under construction. However, some survival information can be found here:

s/qmail current release and download

Once you checked the s/qmail requirements and complied to those, you are ready to go for download and installation.


The current release of s/qmail can be downloaded here:

Additional packages:

I also recommend to use


Naming conventions:

Open defects:

Closed defects:

Note: The given release number following the defect number tells, in which version of s/qmail this change was applied.

Release plan:

s/qmail will be maintained and my release plan includes the following topics:

Tickets, Change Requests, communication:

An EZMLM mailing list working together with s/qmail keeps you updated with current developments, bug fixes, and features discussed. This list also can be used to file

To inscribe use: s/qmail mailing list

I can't guarantee a certain response level; but reasonable issues will be answered.