jbminn

2 minute read

I get lots of email every day, as does almost anyone who has had an online identity for ten + years. Much of this is spam (you’re shocked, I know)

I have to deal with it in some way. The beauty of my approach is that I deal with the majority of the spam w/o ever seeing it.

I have run my own email server for many years now. I began using sendmail & have stuck with it, mostly because I know it well and have it tuned to my needs. I have explored both postfix and qmail, and found neither to quite match my needs in terms of a plugin replacement for sendmail. That’s mostly due to two factors:

  • I use a combination of spamassassin, mailscanner & mailwatch for spam processing
  • I relay mail for a select group of additional domains

My spam processing is actually quite cool. I have my sendmail startup wrapped inside my MailScanner startup, so any time sendmail is started, MailScanner gets fired up too. MailScanner uses spamassassiin, which I have tuned over the years with the bayes scheme. I then process everything through [mailwatch][2], which does a great job of categorizing the spam (all mail really), and presenting it to me in nice tables. The graphing is awesome, and while initially it was simply very cool, I have now grown to depend upon it for trending data.

Consider this:

My mail is now consistently 83% – 88% spam. This is both amazing and valuable data: for each piece of spam that these tools process for me, I save approximately 15 seconds of time that it would take to at a minimum, select the mesage and click ‘Delete’ . On average, I receive about 800 messages per day. The simple math says this saves me 176 minutes per day, or just less than 3 hours. All of this data, including the creation of the statistics, is created for me by these tools.

3 hours. Think about that a bit. 3 hours. I love these tools.

[2]: http://mailwatch.sourceforge.net/