SpamAssassin Failure

SpamAssassin is a free tool for mailservers to identify SPAM. It has a several parameters it checks (forged headers, HTML only content, blacklisted hosts, improper mail relays, etc) and assigns a score for every parameter. If the total score is greater than the threshold, it is marked as spam and either tagged, moved to a separate mailbox or deleted. I started using SpamAssassin in April of 2005 and it has caught thousands of messages. I know this isn’t large, but it made my inbox manageable.

Originally I set the threshold at 5 however this still lead to several messages a day. So I kept reducing the score, by 0.1 till I stopped at 4.5 and I only had 1 spam message every 3-4 days. I was completely satisified even though an occasional non-spam did get improperly marked (usually an SMS from a cell phone).

As of June 15, SpamAssassin has failed me. I am getting dozens of junk mail passing into my inbox daily. I am seeing scores of 3, 0 and even -0.7. Either the spammers got smart or the scores are not properly being assigned. I am using the latest version SpamAssassin 3.1.3 and I haven’t changed any options.

I may have to investigate further with my hosting provider. But I am curious if anyone else seen this?

MPlayer 1.0pre8 Released

After almost 14 months, the MPlayer developers put out a new release: 1.0pre8 (I doubt 1.0 will ever happen). The official announcement was made on the mailing list on Monday. The mailing list had implied a release was pending.

In the meantime, Fedora Core 4 came and went and Fedora fans are on FC5. The good news is that MPlayer properly supports GCC4.x (which FC4 and FC5 use). Anyone who has used a development build already knows these improvements. Additionally the long overdue GTK2 update for the GUI was available. However the most significant changes will be in the background with many improvements in file format support as well as DVD and MPEG updates.

As always, I updated my MPlayer compile guide for Fedora. It never ceases to amaze me how many people actually read it and use it. For the more practical users, most repositories should be coming online soon with updates for yum. Simply run:

# su -c 'yum update mplayer'

I’ve checked Livna, FreshRPMs and ATrpms, none seem to have the update yet. So yum users will have to wait.

Net Neutrality Defeated

In a serious blow to the freedom of the internet as a whole, the US House of Representatives defeated the Net Neutrality vote that would have prevented telecommunication companies from discriminating how and which websites can be accessed by end users. The effects which by far are not exagerated are listed on the It’s Our Net website.

The bottom line is your internet provider (broadband, dial-up, etc) is not restricted from treating all websites equally. For example, if Comcast were to feel a particular website was consuming too much bandwidth, that website can be restricted or possibly taxed. This will undoubtedly effect every website and every web user.

How does this affect Linux? Linux and most open source owes its great success to the ability for any user to access and contribute via the internet. Any company with an agenda or incentive is now able to obstruct that.

As it is many telecommunications companies act as local monopolies, with this new development I can only see further loss of consumer rights and freedoms.