Configuring SpamAssassin and spamd

Michele Neylon :: Blacknight Solutions michele at BLACKNIGHTSOLUTIONS.COM
Sat Feb 28 17:33:19 GMT 2004

Posted to FAQ:

Mr. Michele Neylon
Blacknight Internet Solutions Ltd
Tel. + 353 (0)59 9137101
Lowest price domains in Ireland

> -----Original Message-----
> From: MailScanner mailing list [mailto:MAILSCANNER at JISCMAIL.AC.UK]On
> Behalf Of Julian Field
> Sent: 28 February 2004 16:39
> Subject: Re: [MAILSCANNER] Configuring SpamAssassin and spamd
> Quoting Kai Schaetzl <maillists at CONACTIVE.COM>:
> > Don Newcomer wrote on         Fri, 27 Feb 2004 16:59:42 -0500:
> >
> > > I see my other option being to call spamd from procmail.
> Would using MS
> > > still be faster?
> > >
> >
> > you either use MS + SA (which calls the SA lib, not the script) or a
> > milter + spamd, not both. And you sure not use procmail for this on
> > non-home machines.
> I don't know how many times I have explained this now.... :-)
> Fundamentally, SpamAssassin is a big library of Perl functions, that
> implement a system for working out a score for each message based upon its
> contents.
> Spamd is a daemon which takes requests from the spamc client program and
> calls the function library to process them, then gets the results back and
> returns some output through the spamc client program. The library
> has to be
> setup once when the spamd program starts, so is quite fast.
> However, it has
> overheads involved in starting up the spamc client program for
> each message
> and all the I/O involved in passing the message through spamc and
> onto spamd.
> Another way of talking to the library is using the "spamassassin" script,
> which is a very slow way of talking to the library. The entire library has
> to be setup every time you call the "spamassassin" script. However, it is
> useful for doing stuff like checking all your configration files
> are correct
> and things like that.
> The third way of using the library is the way MailScanner does
> it. It calls
> the function library directly from Perl, with no overheads involved in
> starting any other programs at all (not even the overhead of running the
> spamc program). It gives the message directly to the function library, and
> gets the results straight back from it, with absolutely as little
> I/O as is
> possible. This is definitely the fastest way of using
> SpamAssassin, and also
> doesn't rely on anything else not crashing (spamc relies on spamd always
> being there, and fails totally if it's not running properly).
> So don't think that calling procmail (in order to call spamc in
> order for it
> to talk to spamd in order for it to pass the message the function library
> and return all the results all the way back to sendmail) is going
> to be any
> faster, because it will not and cannot be faster. In comparison,
> MailScanner
> bypasses procmail, spamc and spamd in the processing of a message by
> SpamAssassin.
> Please can someone post this in the FAQ so I don't have to explain it all
> again? Thanks folks!
> --
> Jules
> mailscanner at

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