Setting up server tools for spam- and virus-free mail

Thursday, 20 November 2003, 4:56 PM EST

It is amazing how much easier it is to get through an inbox uncluttered by unwanted messages. After a week of email nearly free of spam and viruses, the time and effort it took to configure a Linux mail server with SpamAssassin, MIMEDefang, and sendmail seem well worth the trouble.

This process started when I decided to see if my Linux skills had advanced enough to replace an ailing Mac OS X 10.1 mail server. The Mac was easy to set up and administer, but AppleMail was just not stable, rarely running longer than a week without crashing, and Apple's suggested fix -- upgrade to server 10.2 or 10.3 -- carried a $500 price tag. Ouch.

So, instead, I sent off for a set of Red Hat Linux 9 disks for $6.95, and turned a 1 GHz Pentium 4 machine into a new mail server with sendmail, running POP3 and IMAP (the details). After a few minor misadventures, I had a plain vanilla mail server that was stable and reliable.

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