update-exim4defaults - Manage exim4 daemon default file.


update-exim4defaults [ --qflags flags ][ --queuerunner combined|queueonly|separate|ppp|no|nodaemon ][ --queuetime time ][ --commonoptions options ][ --queuerunneroptions options ][ --smtplisteneroptions options ][ --remove-common options ][ --remove-queue options ][ --remove-smtp options ][ --force|-f ][ --help|-h ][ --init ]


update-exim4defaults allows to set run parameters for the

Exim daemon in /etc/default/exim4.Its main purpose is for interaction with packages enhancing

Exim like virus-scanners that need to change the way the exim daemon is started.


  • --help|-h
        Print short usage instructions and exit.
  • --qflags flags
        Set qflags, special flags given to exim directly after the « -q ». See

exim(8) for more information.

  • --queuerunner combined|queueonly|separate|ppp|no|nodaemon
        Should the init script start one daemon that listens on the smtp port for incoming connections and runs the queue at regular intervals (combined), or should it start two separate daemons, one listening on the smtp port, the other running the queue (separate), or should the queue only be run by /etc/ppp/ip-up.d/exim4 (ppp), or shouldn't we run the queue at all, for example if you'd rather do this with

cron ? Or should we only start a queuerunner (queueonly)or no daemon at all (nodaemon)?

  • --queuetime time
        In which intervals should we run the queue? This passed as option -q<qflags>timeto Exim, e.g. -q30m or -qq1h.
  • --commonoptions options
        Options passed both to queue-running and listening instances of Exim.
  • --queuerunneroptions options
        Options only passed to the instance of Exim running the queue.
  • --smtplisteneroptions options
        Options only passed to the instance of Exim listening on the SMTP port.
  • --force|-f
        Without this option

update-exim4defaults exits with an error if at least one of the options --queuetime, --commonoptions, --queuerunneroptions or --smtplisteneroptions is used and the corresponding value in /etc/default/exim4 is alreadyset to a nonempty value.

  • --remove-common option
        Try to remove the given option from COMMONOPTIONS.
  • --remove-queue option
        Try to remove the given option from QUEUERUNNEROPTIONS.
  • --remove-smtp option
        Try to remove the given option from SMTPLISTENEROPTIONS.

The --remove-commands cannot be used at the same time as any of --commonoptions, --queuerunneroptions or --smtplisteneroptions. The --remove-commands will additionally remove whitespace at the beginning and the end of the option and exchange multiple spaces wi a single one.

  • --init
        create a default /etc/default/exim4 file and exit immediately. Unless --forcewas also specified

update-exim4defaults exits (successfully) without doing anything if /etc/default/exim4 already exists. All other options are ignored.


  • 0
        change was successful or nothing needed to be done.
  • 1
        generic error: wrong options, unreadable configuration file, etc.
  • 2
        QUEUEINTERVAL was already set.
  • 4
        COMMONOPTIONS was already set.
  • 8
        QUEUERUNNEROPTIONS was already set.
  • 16
        SMTPLISTENEROPTIONS was already set.
  • 32
        QFLAGS was already set.
  • 64
        --remove-something failed, i.e. the value of the option was not changed.

Exit codes 2 to 32 will be summed up, if more than one unsuccessful option was given.


  • /etc/default/exim4
        The configuration file.
  • /etc/init.d/exim4
        The Exim init-script.
  • /etc/ppp/ip-up.d/exim4
        The queuerunner in this file also uses COMMONOPTIONS and QUEUERUNNEROPTIONS and does not run if QUEUERUNNER=no.


This manual page needs a major re-work. If somebody knows better groff than us and has more experience in writing manual pages, any patches would be greatly appreciated.


R exim (8), /usr/share/doc/exim4-base/


Andreas Metzler <ametzler at downhill.at.eu.org>