Delivery of e-mail to the superuser's account [was: Re: [plug] fetchmail]

James Devenish devenish at
Wed Apr 7 17:14:35 WST 2004

In message <1081327142.2404.212.camel at>
on Wed, Apr 07, 2004 at 06:39:03PM +1000, Onno Benschop wrote:
> The only comment I'd have is that you're delivering mail to root - bad!

Are there any references for this? I know that in Linux circles root
deliveries are frowned upon, but it's one of those deprecations that
that I've always ignored because it's so prevalent in existing systems
(e.g. existing sendmail installations). While refusing to deliver to
root seems to suit some platforms innately (e.g. Mac OS X), I'm not
quite clear on this for general UNIX systems. Intuitively, I suspect
it's frowned upon because it implies that the delivery agent needs to
write to a root-owned mbox, and most systems don't have a fine-grained
way of allowing the daemon to /only/ be able to do that singular
activity as the root user. But I don't really know. As a human
management issue, delivering to root is often convenient because it will
always work (i.e. the root user is never deleted, the root user never
goes on annual leave, it provides a unified place for other admins to
look, etc). Does everyone set up users named 'admin' to receive root's
mail or what? I understand you wouldn't want people using their remote
POP/IMAP connections to log to read root's mail, but that's a different
matter to the ones that I would expect to be involved in the
deprecation of root delivery.

More information about the plug mailing list