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23. Environment for running local transports

Local transports handle deliveries to files and pipes. (The autoreply transport can be thought of as similar to a pipe.) Exim always runs transports in subprocesses, under specified uids and gids. Typical deliveries to local mailboxes run under the uid and gid of the local user.

Exim also sets a specific current directory while running the transport; for some transports a home directory setting is also relevant. The pipe transport is the only one which sets up environment variables; see section 29.3 for details.

The values used for the uid, gid, and the directories may come from several different places. In many cases, the router that handles the address associates settings with that address as a result of its check_local_user, group, or user options. However, values may also be given in the transport's own configuration, and these override anything that comes from the router.

23.1. Uids and gids

All transports have the options group and user. If group is set, it overrides any group that the router set in the address, even if user is not set for the transport. This makes it possible, for example, to run local mail delivery under the uid of the recipient (set by the router), but in a special group (set by the transport). For example:

  # Routers ...
  # User/group are set by check_local_user in this router
    driver = accept
    transport = group_delivery  
  # Transports ...
  # This transport overrides the group
    driver = appendfile
    file = /var/spool/mail/$local_part
    group = mail

If user is set for a transport, its value overrides what is set in the address. If user is non-numeric and group is not set, the gid associated with the user is used. If user is numeric, group must be set.

When the uid is taken from the transport's configuration, the initgroups() function is called for the groups associated with that uid if the initgroups option is set for the transport. When the uid is not specified by the transport, but is associated with the address by a router, the option for calling initgroups() is taken from the router configuration.

The pipe transport contains the special option pipe_as_creator. If this is set and user is not set, the uid of the process that called Exim to receive the message is used, and if group is not set, the corresponding original gid is also used.

23.2. Current and home directories

Routers may set current and home directories for local transports by means of the transport_current_directory and transport_home_directory options. However, if the transport's current_directory or home_directory options are set, they override the router's values. In detail, the home directory for a local transport is taken from the first of these values that is set:

The current directory is taken from the first of these values that is set:

If neither the router nor the transport sets a current directory, Exim uses the value of the home directory, if it is set. Otherwise it sets the current directory to / before running a local transport.

23.3. Expansion variables derived from the address

Normally a local delivery is handling a single address, and in that case the variables such as $domain and $local_part are set during local deliveries. However, in some circumstances more than one address may be handled at once (for example, while writing batch SMTP for onward transmission by some other means). In this case, the variables associated with the local part are never set, $domain is set only if all the addresses have the same domain, and $original_domain is never set.

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