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Welcome to SpamAssassin! ------------------------ What SpamAssassin Is -------------------- SpamAssassin is a mail filter which attempts to identify spam using a variety of mechanisms including text analysis, Bayesian filtering, DNS blocklists, and collaborative filtering databases. SpamAssassin is a project of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). What SpamAssassin Is Not ------------------------ SpamAssassin is not a program to delete spam, route spam and ham to separate mailboxes or folders, or send bounces when you receive spam. Those are mail routing functions, and SpamAssassin is not a mail router. SpamAssassin is a mail filter or classifier. It will examine each message presented to it, and assign a score indicating the likelihood that the mail is spam. An external program must then examine this score and do any routing the user wants done. There are many programs that will easily perform these functions after examining the score assigned by SpamAssassin. How SpamAssassin Works ---------------------- SpamAssassin uses a wide range of heuristic tests on mail headers and body text to identify "spam", also known as unsolicited commercial email. Once identified, the mail can then be optionally tagged as spam for later filtering using the user's own mail user-agent application. SpamAssassin typically differentiates successfully between spam and non-spam in between 95% and 100% of cases, depending on what kind of mail you get and your training of its Bayesian filter. Specifically, SpamAssassin has been shown to produce around 0.9% false negatives (spam that was missed) and around 0.1% false positives (ham incorrectly marked as spam). See the rules/STATISTICS*.txt files for more information. SpamAssassin also includes plugins to support reporting spam messages automatically or manually to collaborative filtering databases such as Pyzor, DCC, and Vipul's Razor. The distribution provides "spamassassin", a command line tool to perform filtering, along with the "Mail::SpamAssassin" module set which allows SpamAssassin to be used in spam-protection proxy SMTP or POP/IMAP server, or a variety of different spam-blocking scenarios. In addition, "spamd", a daemonized version of SpamAssassin which runs persistently, is available. Using its counterpart, "spamc", a lightweight client written in C, an MTA can process large volumes of mail through SpamAssassin without having to fork/exec a perl interpreter for each message. Questions? Need Help? --------------------- If you have questions about SpamAssassin, please check the Wiki to see if someone has already posted an answer to your question. (The Wiki doubles as a FAQ.) Failing that, post a message to the spamassassin-users mailing list. If you've found a bug (and you're sure it's a bug after checking the Wiki), please file a report in our Bugzilla. : http://wiki.apache.org/spamassassin/ : http://wiki.apache.org/spamassassin/MailingLists : http://bugzilla.spamassassin.org/ Please also be sure to read the man pages. Upgrading SpamAssassin ---------------------- IMPORTANT: If you are upgrading from a previous major version of SpamAssassin, please be sure to read the notes in UPGRADE to find out what has changed in a non-backwards compatible way. Installing SpamAssassin ----------------------- See the INSTALL file. Customising SpamAssassin ------------------------ These are the configuration files installed by SpamAssassin. The commands that can be used therein are listed in the POD documentation for the Mail::SpamAssassin::Conf class (run the following command to read it: "perldoc Mail::SpamAssassin::Conf"). Note: The following directories are the standard defaults that people use. There is an explanation of all the default locations that SpamAssassin will look at the end. - /usr/share/spamassassin/*.cf: Distributed configuration files, with all defaults. Do not modify these, as they are overwritten when you upgrade. - /etc/mail/spamassassin/*.cf: Site config files, for system admins to create, modify, and add local rules and scores to. Modifications here will be appended to the config loaded from the above directory. - /etc/mail/spamassassin/*.pre: Plugin control files, installed from the distribution. These are used to control what plugins are loaded. Modifications here will be loaded before any configuration loaded from the above directories. You want to modify these files if you want to load additional plugins, or inhibit loading a plugin that is enabled by default. If the files exist in /etc/mail/spamassassin, they will not be overwritten during future installs. Per-User Customising -------------------- Per-user customisation only works on some installs. (If it doesn't work on your install, that's the fault of the integrator, not the SpamAssassin development team, so don't bug them - see http://wiki.apache.org/spamassassin/AskingAboutIntegrations.) (VERY incomplete, unconfirmed list: it does not work at fastmail.fm, or when part of the ECM Mac OS X package - delete this parenthetical before updating the dox unless massively improved.) If it does work, here's how to tweak it: - /usr/share/spamassassin/user_prefs.template: Distributed default user preferences. Do not modify this, as it is overwritten when you upgrade. - /etc/mail/spamassassin/user_prefs.template: Default user preferences, for system admins to create, modify, and set defaults for users' preferences files. Takes precedence over the above prefs file, if it exists. Do not put system-wide settings in here; put them in a file in the "/etc/mail/spamassassin" directory ending in ".cf". This file is just a template, which will be copied to a user's home directory for them to change. - $USER_HOME/.spamassassin: User state directory. Used to hold spamassassin state, such as a per-user automatic whitelist, and the user's preferences file. - $USER_HOME/.spamassassin/user_prefs: User preferences file. If it does not exist, one of the default prefs file from above will be copied here for the user to edit later, if they wish. Unless you're using spamd, there is no difference in interpretation between the rules file and the preferences file, so users can add new rules for their own use in the "~/.spamassassin/user_prefs" file, if they like. (spamd disables this for security and increased speed.) - $USER_HOME/.spamassassin/bayes* Statistics databases used for Bayesian filtering. If they do not exist, they will be created by SpamAssassin. Spamd users may wish to create a shared set of bayes databases; the "bayes_path" and "bayes_file_mode" configuration settings can be used to do this. See "perldoc sa-learn" for more documentation on how to train this. File Locations: SpamAssassin will look in a number of areas to find the default configuration files that are used. The "__*__" text are variables whose value you can see by looking at the first several lines of the "spamassassin" or "spamd" scripts. They are set on install time and can be overridden with the Makefile.PL command line options DATADIR (for __def_rules_dir__) and CONFDIR (for __local_rules_dir__). If none of these options were given, FHS-compliant locations based on the PREFIX (which becomes __prefix__) are chosen. These are: __prefix__ __def_rules_dir__ __local_rules_dir__ ------------------------------------------------------------------------- /usr /usr/share/spamassassin /etc/mail/spamassassin /usr/local /usr/local/share/spamassassin /etc/mail/spamassassin /opt/$DIR /opt/$DIR/share/spamassassin /etc/opt/mail/spamassassin $DIR $DIR/share/spamassassin $DIR/etc/mail/spamassassin The files themselves are then looked for in these paths: - Distributed Configuration Files '__def_rules_dir__' '__prefix__/share/spamassassin' '/usr/local/share/spamassassin' '/usr/share/spamassassin' - Site Configuration Files '__local_rules_dir__' '__prefix__/etc/mail/spamassassin' '__prefix__/etc/spamassassin' '/usr/local/etc/spamassassin' '/usr/pkg/etc/spamassassin' '/usr/etc/spamassassin' '/etc/mail/spamassassin' '/etc/spamassassin' - Default User Preferences File '__local_rules_dir__/user_prefs.template' '__prefix__/etc/mail/spamassassin/user_prefs.template' '__prefix__/share/spamassassin/user_prefs.template' '/etc/spamassassin/user_prefs.template' '/etc/mail/spamassassin/user_prefs.template' '/usr/local/share/spamassassin/user_prefs.template' '/usr/share/spamassassin/user_prefs.template' After installation, try "perldoc Mail::SpamAssassin::Conf" to see what can be set. Common first-time tweaks include: - required_score Set this higher to make SpamAssassin less sensitive. If you are installing SpamAssassin system-wide, this is **strongly** recommended! Statistics on how many false positives to expect at various different thresholds are available in the "STATISTICS.txt" file in the "rules" directory. - rewrite_header, add_header These options affect the way messages are tagged as spam or non-spam. This makes it easy to identify incoming mail. - ok_locales If you expect to receive mail in non-ISO-8859 character sets (ie. Chinese, Cyrillic, Japanese, Korean, or Thai) then set this. Learning -------- SpamAssassin includes a Bayesian learning filter, so it is worthwhile training SpamAssassin with your collection of non-spam and spam, if possible. This will make it more accurate for your incoming mail. Do this using the "sa-learn" tools, like so: sa-learn --spam ~/Mail/saved-spam-folder sa-learn --ham ~/Mail/inbox sa-learn --ham ~/Mail/other-nonspam-folder If these are mail folders in mbox format, use the --mbox switch, for Maildirs use a trailing slash, like Maildir/cur/. Use as many mailboxes as you like. Note that SpamAssassin will remember what mails it has learnt from, so you can re-run this as often as you like. Locali[sz]ation --------------- All text displayed to users is taken from the configuration files. This means that you can translate messages, test descriptions, and templates into other languages. If you do so, we would *really* appreciate it if you could contribute these translations, so that they can be added to the distribution. Please file a bug in our Bugzilla, and attach your translations. You will, of course, be credited for this work! : http://bugzilla.spamassassin.org/ Disabled code ------------- There are some tests and code in SpamAssassin that are turned off by default: experimental code, slow code, or code that depends on non-open-source software or services that are not always free. These disabled tests include: - DCC: depends on non-open-source software (disabled in init.pre) - DomainKeys: experimental (disabled in init.pre) - MAPS: commercial service (disabled in 50_scores.cf) - MSExec: experimental (disabled in init.pre) - Razor2: depends on service that is not always free (disabled in init.pre) - TextCat: slow (disabled in init.pre) To turn on tests disabled in 50_scores.cf, simply assign them a non-zero score, e.g. by adding score lines to your ~/.spamassassin/user_prefs file. To turn on tests disabled by commenting out the required plugin in init.pre, you need to uncomment the loadplugin line and make sure the prerequisites for proper operation of the plugin are present. Automatic Whitelist System -------------------------- SpamAssassin includes automatic whitelisting; The current iteration is considerably more complex than the original version. The way it works is by tracking for each sender address the average score of messages so far seen from there. Then, it combines this long-term average score for the sender with the score for the particular message being evaluated, after all other rules have been applied. This functionality is on by default, and is enabled or disabled with the "use_auto_whitelist" option. A system-wide auto-whitelist can be used, by setting the auto_whitelist_path and auto_whitelist_file_mode configuration commands appropriately, e.g. auto_whitelist_path /var/spool/spamassassin/auto-whitelist auto_whitelist_file_mode 0666 The spamassassin -W and -R command line flags provide an API to add and remove entries 'manually', if you so desire. They operate based on an input mail message, to allow them to be set up as aliases which users can simply forward their mails to. See the spamassassin manual page for more details. The default address-list implementation, Mail::SpamAssassin::DBBasedAddrList, uses Berkeley DB files to store the addresses. (end of README) // vim:tw=74:
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