Saving Identica and StatusNet?

There is a significant spam problem on, and it looks like some fresh ideas are needed to crush it. Here are mine, and a few ideas that I like from other people. is the open microblogging site based on the StatusNet software. It's a fantastic service, with features that leave Twitter in the dust. But spammers are not being caught and banned quickly. Users are becoming frustrated.

Mozilla Thunderbird, IMAP and Gmail--backup, embrace and extend

Ryan Cartwright has written an article on how to backup Gmail with Getmail. It is an excellent piece, but Getmail is a command line program, and while most readers of FSM will doubtless be at home there and in configuring XML files, we also like to behave like electric currents and take the course of least resistance to get from A to B. Besides, using the Thunderbird (or Evolution) e-mail clients to backup Gmail has other advantages too. Let me explain.

Spam prevention with Exim and greylistd - Part 2 - management and stats

In part one of this tutorial looked at installing and configuring greylistd alongside Exim to help combat the evils of Spam. In this second part I will look at getting some information out of greylistd -- handy if you need to troubleshoot why the CEO's "urgent" message hasn't arrived yet!

Spam prevention with Exim and greylistd - Part 1

Traditional methods of spam protection involve using Bayesian detection rules (usually via SpamAssassin) on messages after they have been accepted by your server. Most mail sysadmins may have encountered the constant cries from their users asking "can't you stop them sending it?". Of course you can't stop somebody sending a message but you can stop accepting them in the first place. Enter greylisting.

These two articles are kind of follow-ons to my previous article on spam prevention in exim mail servers. Think of it as an appendix. If you are starting from scratch you might find is useful to go and read that first.

Configure Exim with anti-spam

A few comments on my article The perfect network server in issue 17 requested some more in depth follow-up pieces. This is what I hope to be the first of those. It focuses on Exim, the mail transfer agent (MTA), specifically setting it up with spam scanning. It is based on setups I currently use, hosted on Debian GNU/Linux.

Mail servers: resolving the identity crisis

Dspam filters spam with the best. In my installation, it stops over 98% of all spam: I’ve only had one false positive in the last year, and that was a message to the Dspam list that contained a real spam!

Administering Dspam is a breeze. No rules to configure, new users can automatically benefit from a global dictionary and quarantine management is simple. But getting a Dspam quarantine set up the first time, without losing any email, can challenge the most seasoned mail administrators.

Filtering spam with Postfix

If you are responsible for maintaining an internet-connected mail-server, then you have, no doubt, come to hate spam and the waste of resources which comes with it. When I first decided to lock down my own mail-server, I found many resources that helped in dealing with these unwanted messages. Each of them contained a trick or two, however very few of them were presented in the context of running a real server, and none of them demonstrated an entire filtering framework.

The history and future of SMTP

SMTP is an abbreviation for “Simple Mail Transfer Protocol”, and is the standard internet protocol for sending email from one system to another. Although the word “simple” belies the inherent complexity of the protocol, SMTP has proved to be a remarkably robust, useful, and successful standard. The design decisions that made it so useful, though, have given spammers and infectious code an easy way to spread their unwanted messages. Its recent evolution reflects the tug-of-war between those unsavory players and the administrators who want to protect their systems and their users.

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