Top spam-killer server program SpamAssasin gets new release

If you really hate spam, and you run your own e-mail servers, you'll be glad to know that Apache has released a new version of its award-winning, open-source anti-spam program SpamAssassin.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), announced on February 11 an early  Valentine's Day present to system and e-mail administrators with the release of Apache SpamAssassin 3.4.0, the award winning spam killing and email filtering program.

SpamAssassin Logo

This is the first new release of SpamAssassin in two years. With this release, the project "continues battling the ever evolving techniques used by spammers with an enterprise-grade release," said Apache SpamAssassin Vice President Kevin A. McGrail in a statement. "The number one feature of SpamAssassin is the proven classification scoring framework that allows system administrators to use new ideas to improve email classification, thereby making SpamAssassin timeless."

SpamAssassin can be used on a wide variety of e-mail systems including procmail, sendmail, Postfix, qmail, and many others. Personally I've used it successfully with sendmail, Postfix and qmail. 

To zap spam, SpamAssassin uses a comprehensive set of features and support for email classification including text-based patterns, Bayesian filtering, checksum filters, sender authentication and automated rule channel updates, In addition SpamAssassin 3.4.0 comes with native IPv6 support, improved DNS Blocklist technology and support for massively-scalable Bayesian filtering using the Redis backend. By taking this multi-step/tiered approach to classifying email the program does an excellent job of catching spam while avoiding labeling legitimate emails as spam.

Apache SpamAssassin is widely deployed at enterprise organizations around the globe, including national, regional and local ISPs, email service providers, Fortune Global 500 companies as well as small and medium-sized businesses, all levels of the education sector,governments, and private individuals. I currently use it myself on all my mail servers and even before this latest release it worked extremely well.

"SpamAssassin is the centerpiece of our anti-spam solution at the ASF," said Joseph Schaefer, ASF's Senior System Administrator. "We receive roughly half a million connections a day, directed primarily at our mailing lists, and manage to remain almost entirely spam free, thanks SpamAssassin!"

I don't see anything like that much traffic but I do see over a thousand e-mails a day come through my mail servers and mailing lists and it works well. In addition, SpamAssassin is easy to set up and manage. Apache also provides daily rule updates so it can catch messages from the latest spam trend--Olympics-related  male "enhancement" e-mail--before your users are bugged by them.

If you have a Linux-based server and use cPanel, the popular Web-hosting control panel, you may already have SpamAssassin at your fingertips. In a statement, Eric Ellis, cPanel's Director of Development Operations aid SpamAssassin is "the best solution to obliterate unsolicited email on your server and stay compliant with well-known retention standards." I agree.

As with all Apache programs, Apache SpamAssassin software is released under the open-source Apache License v2.0, SpamAssassin is written largely in  Perl. While SpamAssassin is used primarily on Unix and Linux servers it can also be used on Mac OS X and Windows. SpamAssassin is free and is available for download today.

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