newbie looking for debug syntax and filter feeding help

Julian Field MailScanner at
Thu Sep 28 08:44:24 IST 2006

Hash: SHA1

John Baker wrote:
> 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.
That's not a good sign. I would advise upgrading to the latest version 
(I'll be doing a new release this weekend) at which point you can do a 
"MailScanner --changed" to see all the settings he tweaked. You may want 
to "untweak" a lot of his settings back to the defaults I supply. Most 
people only modify a few settings as most of the rest of it I try to 
make as sensible as possible.

> 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 week.
You could just delete the Bayes database file and let it re-learn. There 
is also a good starter file at which would be a good 
place to start.
> 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'
> returns:
> [10528] dbg: bayes: no dbs present, cannot tie DB R/O: 
> /var/spool/postfix/.spamassassin/bayes_toks
> [10528] dbg: bayes: not scoring message, returning undef
> [10528] dbg: bayes: opportunistic call attempt failed, DB not readable
I would just make /var/spool/postfix/.spamassassin writable by the 
postfix user, and not worry about your current bayes db (certainly if it 
got all buggered up last week as you say).
> 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.
You can manually change the setting for where it should find the bayes 
db files by using the "bayes_path" setting in 
/etc/MailScanner/spam.assassin.prefs.conf. So you could say
bayes_path /var/spool/MailScanner/spamassassin/bayes
(and yes, I do mean to put the extra "bayes" on the end, it is used by 
SA as the start of the filename).

> And in general, could anyone point me in the direction of a good 
> FAQ/tutorial for feeding the bayes filter spam and ham?
Start from the one at will save you the bother.


- -- 
Julian Field
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