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Postfix 3.6 changes terminology: white and black are deprecated

The Postfix project, under the lead of Wietse Venema, has announced to deprecate all occurrences of "white" and "black" in the Postifx configuration.

Postfix logo

In a heated mailing list thread, the initial writer and maintainer of Postfix (which is one of the most widely used Open Source SMTP servers worldwide), described that the terms "allow" or "deny" should be used instead:

Postfix version 3.6 deprecates terminology that implies white is better than black. Instead, Postfix prefers 'allowlist', 'denylist', and variations on those words.

Wietse Venema

Changed parameters

In the Postfix configuration (main.cf) the following parameters will be marked as deprecated:

postscreen_whitelist_interfaces
postscreen_blacklist_action
postscreen_dnsbl_whitelist_threshold

Instead they were renamed to the following:

postscreen_allowlist_interfaces
postscreen_denylist_action
postscreen_dnsbl_allowlist_threshold

Changed output in logging

The log output of postscreen is also affected by this change. Any log output mentioning "white" or "black" is replaced by "allow" and "deny":

    postfix/postscreen[pid]: ALLOWLIST VETO [address]:port
    postfix/postscreen[pid]: ALLOWLISTED [address]:port
    postfix/postscreen[pid]: DENYLISTED [address]:port

To keep the old terminology in the log output, the following parameter can be used in the Postfix configuration:

respectful_logging = no

Note that the initial release of Postfix 3.6 contains a bug where this parameter contains a typo or rather is missing a letter. It was expecting "respecful_logging" with a missing "t". This bug was fixed in Postfix 3.6-20210224.

Claudio Kuenzler
Claudio has been writing way over 1000 articles on his own blog since 2008 already. He is fascinated by technology, especially Open Source Software. As a Senior Systems Engineer he has seen and solved a lot of problems - and writes about them.

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