As you've seen, qmail has essentially no pre-compilation configuration. You should never have to recompile it unless you want to change the qmail home directory, usernames, or uids. qmail does allow quite a bit of easy post-installation configuration. If you care how your machine greets other machines via SMTP, for example, you can put an appropriate line into /var/qmail/control/smtpgreeting. But this is all optional---if control/smtpgreeting doesn't exist, qmail will do something reasonable by default. You shouldn't worry much about configuration right now. You can always come back and tune things later. There's one big exception. You MUST tell qmail your hostname. The easy way to do this is to run the qmail-config script: # ./qmail-config qmail-config finds your fully-qualified hostname in DNS and puts it into control/me. It also selects good defaults for a few other controls. (Why doesn't qmail do these lookups on the fly? This was a deliberate design decision. qmail does all its local functions---header rewriting, checking if a recipient is local, etc.---without talking to the network. The point is that qmail can continue accepting and delivering local mail even if your network connection goes down.) Next, read through FAQ for information on setting up optional features like masquerading. If you really want to learn right now what all the configuration possibilities are, see qmail-control.0.