newbie looking for debug syntax and filter feeding help

John Baker johnnyb at
Wed Sep 27 21:57:45 IST 2006

Hello all

I'm in the first month at my first sys admin job trying to figure out 
how to use Mailscanner and its related applications correctly.

My predecessor set up a version 4.50.15 on Ubuntu Breezy in January with 
a very heavily customized MailScanner.conf file. Then it sat running 
with a learning Bayes filter with no maintenance between March and 
September while nobody was on this job until it got all buggered up last 

For the most part I have been able to figure out what it does and how to 
adjust it. But for command line debugging of Spam Assassin and 
particularly the care and feeding of the Bayes filter I've run into 
command syntax issues that are giving me a headache.

We use it with postfix and ,accordingly, its set to run as user and 
group postfix. But this: SpamAssassin User State Dir = 
/var/spool/MailScanner/spamassassin is set as well. So, Spamassasin 
debugging for things like the bayes filter fail because it looks for the 
database files in ~/.spamassasin directory for whatever user it sees as 
running the command. For example.

su postfix -p -c 'spamassassin -D -p 
/opt/MailScanner/etc/spam.assassin.prefs.conf --lint'


[10528] dbg: bayes: no dbs present, cannot tie DB R/O: 
[10528] dbg: bayes: not scoring message, returning undef
[10528] dbg: bayes: opportunistic call attempt failed, DB not readable

But bayes.mutex  bayes_seen  bayes_toks are all sitting in 
/var/spool/MailScanner/spamassassin/ and being updated by the 
MailScanner/Spamassassin process. I just can't seem to get the syntax 
right for doing anything with them manually.

So, what would be the best command syntax making spamassasin and 
sa-learn run manually as they would from MailScanner.

And in general, could anyone point me in the direction of a good 
FAQ/tutorial for feeding the bayes filter spam and ham?



Network Systems Administrator
Marlboro College
Phone: 451-7551 off campus; 551 on campus

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