'RunAsUser'' ''''


Run as nonroot (on a firewall) V8.8 and later

On firewalls, for reasons of additional security, it is often desirable to run sendmail as a user other than root. Beginning with V8.8 sendmail, you can accomplish this by using the RunAsUser option:

O RunAsUser=user: group                    configuration file (V8.8 and later) 
-ORunAsUser=user: group                    command line (V8.8 and later) 
define(`confRUN_AS_USER', `user: group')   mc configuration (V8.8 and later) 

Here, user is either the uid number of the identity you want sendmail to run under, or a symbolic name for that identity. If a symbolic name is specified and if that name cannot be looked up in the passwd(5) file, sendmail prints the following error:

readcf: option RunAsUser: unknown user bad symbolic name here

If the symbolic name is found in the passwd(5) file, the uid and gid that sendmail will run under are set from that file.

The :, if it is present, signals to sendmail that you also intend to specify a group identity.

The group is either the numeric gid that you want sendmail to run as, or a symbolic name for a group. If it is a symbolic name, that name is looked up in the group(5) file. If it is not found in that file, the following error is printed:

readcf: option RunAsUser: unknown group bad group name here

If the symbolic name is in that file, sendmail will run under the gid found there.

The sendmail program assumes the identity specified just after the configuration file is read for all but the daemon mode. As a daemon, sendmail remains root to listen for incoming SMTP connections. Each time it receives a connection, it validates that connection (Section 7.1.1), then fork(2)s. The child then processes the incoming message. Immediately after the fork (and before any data is read from or written to the connection), the child assumes the identity specified by this RunAsUser option.

Note that running as non-root can lead to problems, especially on machines that do more than simply relay mail between networks. As non-root, sendmail might not be able to read some :include: files, will certainly not be able to read protected ~/.forward files, and won't be able to save messages to the queue, unless permissions are relaxed to allow the non-root user such access. This option is intended to be used on a firewall machine. It should definitely not be used on nonfirewall machines.[58]

[58] Through careful tuning and attention to details, you might be able to get a serviceable sendmail system to run non-root. Others have done this, but details are not available as of this writing.

The RunAsUser option is not safe. If specified from the command line, it can cause sendmail to relinquish its special privileges.

    Part I: Build and Install
    Part II: Administration
    Part III: The Configuration File
    Chapter 21. The D (Define a Macro) Configuration Command
    Chapter 24. The O (Options) Configuration Command