when installing msmtp under Debian/Ubuntu, which package should I choose, msmtp or msmtp-mta? what's the differences between them?

All the help articles I read install msmtp only, but isn't msmtp-mta, the regular MTA, a better option?

Also, All the help articles I read config msmtp using merely a ~/.msmtprc file, not system-wide, however, how about those cron jobs that send mails to root? How should I take care of them as well?



The Arch Linux Wiki, a great resource in general for all Linux operating systems, explains that msmtp-mta merely creates an alias for sendmail. This means you will have broader support for programs that require a sendmail compatible system.

There is an existing question which discusses how to configure the mailing system of cron. However, again, I would just recommend the Arch Linux Wiki which explains that msmtp-mta will probably cause cron to Just Work.

  • 1
    Should be noted that cron is usually among programs that "require a sendmail compatible system" at the standard path. – grawity Apr 6 '18 at 11:48

The package description for msmtp-mta documents that it is a wrapper which will pull in msmtp as a dependency anyway.

This package provides the regular MTA program.

This is somewhat obscure, but apparently means sendmail and newaliases.

The package's file listing reveals exactly what it contains. As of right now (version 1.6.6-1) it contains the following files:


(In case you are unfamiliar with Debian packages, the stuff in /usr/share/doc/mssmtp-mta is just standard metadata for the package, and the /usr/share/lintian/overrides are specifics for the lintian package integrity checker, probably to say that it's okay for it to ship the same binaries as some other packages which also implement the legacy Sendmail command-line API.)

  • Thanks for your answer @ tripleee, upvoting. but please allow me to give the answer to @ QasimK, who needs points more than us. – xpt Apr 7 '18 at 4:07
  • Sure (-: I'm somehow finally back above 1000 for other reasons now :-) – tripleee Apr 7 '18 at 4:13

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