Reloading confs

Greg Borders gborders at
Fri Aug 25 15:17:34 IST 2006

Logan Shaw wrote:
>> You shouldn't ever start sendmail (or restart sendmail) - you should
>> only restart MailScanner which in turns stops/starts sendmail for you.
> <snip>
> I've never really understood this.
> <snip>
> So is there something I'm missing?  Is there a reason why it
> is the way it is?
>   - Logan
This is one of the single most common things I've seen when dealing with 
folks that are new to MailScanner.
I too had to struggle with the logic of it at first.  The thing of it 
is, it's a real change from the way you would expect it to work.
Typically you would think, "I have my MTA and it does all the mail work, 
sending / recieving etc. as a service, running happily in the background."
"Then I have my virus scanner, it does the same, scans all activity for 
files getting saved."
So here's MailScanner, it should follow the same logic, and just run and 
flag all the e-mails that come and go as a service like the others.

That's the fatal flaw in the thinking.  MailScanner isn't just another 
service.  It's a way of life for e-mail. By adding MailScanner to your 
systems, you are taking the services you know and trust, and turning 
them over to a caretaker to do it for you, and it does it better. A lot 

Since MailScanner is now "in control", you turn off the standalone 
services.  Sendmail/Postfix/Exim/Etc. daemons are stopped.  Virus 
checkers are stopped.
All is quiet on the server, and then you fire up the MailScanner 
service.  It is now the conductor of your e-mail orchestra, and calls 
upon the other programs as needed, to get the job done.

This is my take on the flow of programs within a properly setup 
MailScanner system:
MailScanner fires up instances of the MTA, waiting for messages to 
arrive. AKA "Children"
MailScanner fires up instances of the MTA, waiting for messages to be sent.
MailScanner fires off a slew of tasks once messages arrive.
A batch of them are ready, MailScanner runs them thru spamassassin.
Now any that didn't get flagged, are scanned for viruses with the ClamAV 
for example, (or more if you want).
Then they are delivered/stored/etc. all based upon the settings in the 
.conf file with another MTA child.

Whether users send messages out, or receive them, they go thru the same 
steps, and the are delivered by MailScanner via the tools that are wired 
into it.

Julian has cooked up the very clever system that calls upon many 
external pieces to perform at the times needed, and has created the best 
most flexable open e-mail filtering system on the market. We can use 
many MTA's, many virus scanners, many spam scanners, and still have room 
for custom functions to do even more if we want.

Take a look at the administrators guide, the first figure "MailScanner 
Process Flow".  That will make it crystal clear on the total path, and 
number of tests MailScanner actually performs.

It's a wonderful concept, once you can wrap your brain around the idea 
that MailScanner is more than just an add on service. Bolt on Steve's 
Mailwatch and you have more than most e-mail admins can dream about. ^__^

Greg. Borders
Sys. Admin.

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