Mini sendmail

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mini_sendmail is a vary small application that will send a file via SMTP as an email.

Downloading, Compiling, & Installing mini_sendmail

(The only prerequisite I know about is gcc & glibc-static, so mini_sendmail is pretty easy)

tar -xzf Mini_sendmail-1.3.6.tar.gz
cd mini_sendmail-1.3.6
echo $?
cp mini_sendmail /usr/local/bin
gzip mini_sendmail.8
cp mini_sendmail.8.gz /usr/local/share/man/man8

Troubleshooting failed builds

If you do run into a build error similar to:

$ make
gcc -O -c mini_sendmail.c
gcc -O -s -static mini_sendmail.o  -o mini_sendmail
/usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lc
collect2: ld returned 1 exit status
make: *** [mini_sendmail] Error 1

Install the glibc-static packet. On Fedora, run:

yum install glibc-static

Using mini_sendmail

To send a message with mini_sendmail, run a command like this:

cat email.txt |mini_sendmail

When email.txt looks something like this

subject: You can now put anything here for the email Subject
And here you will put the body of your message.

Test Message

Subject: This is a test message

This is a test message.

mini_sendmail with php

Some linux distributions do not include sendmail in their base installation. Other folks may not want to run sendmail. Either way, if you want to use PHP's mail() function and you do not have a mail server installed locally, you need to find another way for mail() to sucessfully send email from a PHP script. mini_sendmail is a good choice for a basic, "I only need to send mail for testing on my development server" type of environment.

  • Download and compile mini_sendmail (above).
  • Create a symbolic link, so it looks like sendmail really exists:
ln -s /usr/local/sbin/mini_sendmail /usr/sbin/sendmail
  • Edit your php.ini file to use appropriate options for sending mail: ; For Unix only. You may supply arguments as well (default: "sendmail -t -i").
sendmail_path = /usr/sbin/sendmail -t

Notes: I found I needed to supply the From address in the sendmail path; otherwise the mail server I was using would not send the email. I also found that I compiled PHP without setting up mini_sendmail first, so PHP kept giving me the error about mail() not being a declared function. I chose that as a sign to upgrade to PHP 5.2.2. Install mini_sendmail first, then install PHP.

mini_sendmail Manual File

mini_sendmail(8)                                              mini_sendmail(8)

      mini_sendmail - accept email on behalf of real sendmail

      mini_sendmail  [-f<name>]  [-t]  [-s<server>]  [-p<port>] [-T<timeout>]
      [-v] address ...

      With no flags, mini_sendmail reads its standard input up to an  end-of-
      file  and  sends  a  copy  of  the  message  found  there to all of the
      addresses listed.

      The message is sent by connecting to a local SMTP server.   This  means
      mini_sendmail can be used to send email from inside a chroot(2) area.

      -f     Sets  the  name  of  the  "from"  person (i.e. the sender of the

      -t     Read message for recipients.  To:, Cc:, and Bcc: lines  will  be
             scanned  for recipient addresses.  The Bcc: line will be deleted
             before transmission.

      -s     Specifies the SMTP server to use.  Without this it  uses  local-

      -p     Specifies  the  port to use.  Without this it uses 25, the stan-
             dard SMTP port.

      -T     Specifies timeout - defaults to one minute.

      -v     Verbose mode - shows the conversation with the SMTP server.


      Copyright © 1999  by  Jef  Poskanzer  <>.  All  rights

END                             12 July 2001                 mini_sendmail(8)