MS vs. Amavis

Peter Bates Peter.Bates at LSHTM.AC.UK
Mon Jul 28 14:33:15 IST 2003

Hello all...

>Can someone who used both virusscanners do a quick comparation 
>between these scanners - which is better for which function and why.

Others have answered, but I thought I'd stick my oar in.

We've pretty much now completed moving from amavisd(new) to MailScanner, and are very happy with MS. Being Postfix users, the main thing that triggered this move was, rather obviously, Postfix support in MS.

Prior to that we used amavis (the shell-script version), amavisd (the perl 'daemonized' version, and then 'amavisd-new' (one of 3 current forks but the only one to really add SpamAssassin support).

Although amavis (in its various incarnations) served us well for a number of years, I think it was mostly the Postfix support that kept us with it for so long...

Commonalities between the two:

- both written in Perl
- both reliant on external modules (but Julian's RPM installation process, for example, is a breeze/doddle/dream)
- both support a wide range of AV scanners
- both support/hook into SpamAssassin.

I can't really now think of many pros to using amavisd (which is unfortunate, but there you go!), but various cons:

- one large monolithic Perl script and a single configuration file (which also contained embedded chunks of Perl)
- dual-MTA setup left essentially two records of any message passing through the system, and more Received: headers
- reliance on acting as an MTA to reinject the messages - I have seen oddly formatted messages (generally spam, however!) that have failed to pass through.

In contrast, the main things I now like MS for:

- code and configuration split up into fairly logical chunks
- batch-based scanning (amavisd is strictly 'per message')
- extremely configurable with rulesets (amavisd does have support for this stuff, but often results in hand-patching the 'amavisd' main script)

... just my thoughts.

Peter Bates, Systems Support Officer, Network Support Team.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Telephone:0207-958 8353 / Fax: 0207- 636 9838 

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