SpamAssassin timed out and was killed... box too slow?

mikea mikea at MIKEA.ATH.CX
Mon Jun 2 21:17:32 IST 2003

On Mon, Jun 02, 2003 at 12:59:20PM -0700, Chris W. Parker wrote:
> Hello.

> We have relatively low email traffic (approx. 450/day on work days)
> and I receive quite a few of these in my /^/> /var/log/maillog:

> May 17 04:03:08 filter MailScanner[3324]: SpamAssassin timed out and
> was killed, consecutive failure 1 of 20

> Does this mean my computer is too slow? It's a 200mhz pentium!!! :)
> I can imagine that it IS too slow, but I just want to make sure it's
> not a configuration problem. Do you think increasing the timeout
> would help or would that make it worse?

It more probably means that sometimes the first attempt to check
some IP address or machine name in a DNSbl is timing out. If you
see things like

: consecutive failure 1 of 20
: consecutive failure 2 of 20
: consecutive failure 3 of 20
: consecutive failure 4 of 20
: ...
: consecutive failure 20 of 20

then you have a problem and need to fix it.

If the box isn't keeping up with incoming mail, than that can be
a problem, too, and you may want to review your DNSbl configuration.

But it you're just seeing the occasional "failure 1 of 20" and the
box is keepnig up, things probably are OK.

As to box speed, that's not really a consideration: my 233 MHz P-III
keeps up nicely with about about 6K inbound mails each workday, of
which about 20 to 25% are spam on any given workday.

it's memory size that's the worst constraint, with swap device speed
being next in my experience. CPU speed is way down on the list.

Mike Andrews
mikea at
Tired old sysadmin since 1964

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