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>time to 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 already set 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 --force was 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>