February 09, 2004

Kick-ass mail serving

I'm finally caving in and doing something about my mail server. It's a Linux box running Gentoo and it does the job very admirably. The problem is spammers and virus writers. These people cause my poor mail server to deliver me lots of e-mail that I have no desire to see. I am getting around 100 copies of the MyDoom virus per day to two addresses. That's not a huge amount - I know people deal with more - but it is annoying.

I use qmail on the server which is a good MTA. There are other good MTAs too - Postfix, Exim - I'm not starting a holy war here. I simply decided to try qmail this time and I quite like it. I'm going to install qmail-scanner which is a qmail add-on that harnesses tools like SpamAssassin and F-Prot into my mail delivery path.

I used SpamAssassin on my previous mail server for a while, and had a lot of luck with it until razor failed one day and SpamAssassin just sat waiting for it - no mail was delivered. This was unacceptable and I hope they've fixed this. I guess I'll find out.

The really exciting thing about installing this software isn't the combination of excellent tools working to make my life easier (though that is cool). The exciting thing is how easy it is to get it all installed:

> emerge f-prot
> emerge Mail-SpamAssassin
> emerge qmail-scanner

The Gentoo portage package system resolves all of the dependencies (software, perl-packages, you-name-it), downloads them, patches them (where necessary), builds them and then installs them. Great! Sometimes I really do think that windows developers could learn a lot about distribution from Gentoo's package system.

Posted by Simon at February 9, 2004 05:54 PM