Blog Archives

Open Source Anti-Spam for Exchange

I have been a long time user of GFI software, relevant to this post is their Mail Essentials for Exchange package.  I find it to be a very powerful and easily setup anti-spam system for Exchange.  I have had very little trouble with it, and it is packed with useful features.  However, recently I had some configuration issues with my spam setup, with rollernet really, not even an issue with Mail Essentials, but it got me thinking about my spam filtration system. 

I am now on a quest to find an open source anti-spam solution for Exchange.  I’m open to Linux based solutions as a gateway of sorts, but would prefer something that resides on the Exchange server running under Windows.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a great respect for SpamAssassin and other gateway type spam fitlers, but it gives the end user a much better experience if the anti-spam software can interact with the user, especially if it integrates with Outlook. 

Surely there must be some kind of solution out there I could try.  At the very least I might install a few different packages under Linux and route incoming mail through them, and from there go to Exchange for evaluation.  I can use server virtualization to allow for an easy evaluation of various types of configurations.  ASSP I hear is very good and there was one other package that I found last night that sounds promising.  I think it could be beneficial to have an additional layer of spam protection at the gateway level before GFI gets the messages and does its thing.  My only concern is false positives.  Lots of services and companies on the internet today do NOT have the proper DNS/MX confiugration and even at a more basic level don’t have their network setup right.  All these network issues can have a major impact on e-mail deliverability.  Its always a risk then when dealing with spam filters that you may block legitimate messages.  I am always watching spam logs to ensure that I keep an eye on how the system is doing.  If web services and companies would do a little work to get their sytems in compliance with RFS’s for SMTP and DNS, and setup the proper network configuration and mail server options, it would be a much better world for mail delivery without false positives. 

Paperless home office!

I got a sheetfed scanner in the mail today, and started doing some searches for free or open source software for use in making our home office a paperless home office. I am so tired of all the clutter in all the papers we get from creditors, and not to mention all the papers from Sarah’s schooling and Liz’s activities. I found this great software called DocsVault, which has a free home edition for download. I had searched for a few hours and really hadn’t found much of anything that cought my eye. Some expensive server based systems looked great, but were overkill for my home needs. So I came across this software and downloaded it to give it a try. I was impressed right from the start, it has everything we need for organizationl; cabinets, drawers and folders. It stores everything in an internal database and can use my sheet fed scanner. It has backup and restore capabilities built in, and can burn stright to CD/DVD or to a hard drive location. It integrate with MS Office and save documents directly to the cabinet/drawer of your choice. It has search capabilities and lots of powerful features above and beyond what I thought I could get for free. I started today scanning in papers, anything from bills, tax paperwork and all the way to the girls drawlings. Its perfect and exactly what I need to take care of my digital home needs. This should decrease the clutter and allow for better archiving and make things easier to find.

E-mail server during transition

Moving presents some unique challenges you don’t run into any other time. Specifically regarding hosting my own e-mail server. Over the past few days, I’ve been contemplating how I should handle moving to a new location with an entire weekend where I will not have internet access or a location at which to setup and run my e-mail server. I started checking into online paid mail services and searched for some open source solutions for a free solution. I stumbled upon a free beta service from Google. I think its under Google Apps for Domains. What this lets me do is setup my MX records for mail delivery on my domains, and route all mail to servers hosted by Google. I can pre-configure my accounts and settings so that I can do an immediate switch over. Once I had all my settings configured, I proceeded to change my MX records. I was surprised at how many servers are available from Google, they have 7 or 8 servers available for mail services. I configured all of them plus my two backup mail servers at no-ip.com. This way in the extremely unlikely event that the godaddy mail servers go down (all 7 or 8 of them), mail will still fail over to my backup mail servers and queue for later delivery. The good thing is that POP3 access is available from Google, so I can get to my email during the weekend transition. I plan to export both my mailbox and Liz’s mailbox in Exchange to a PST file, then configure outlook on my laptop with profiles for both of our personal accounts. I can setup the PST files so we can get to all of our old messages, and still access new mail through POP3. I am going to leave the mail on the Google servers, and once I am all moved in and have my mail server setup and running, I can have my Mail Essentials POP3 downloader get all the mail I left on Google’s servers. I may take my time getting it set back up at the new house, since I want to have Verizon come install FIOS so I can drop Road Runner. With FIOS I can get twice the upload speed of Road Runner, plus 5 more MB of download speed. So its a way better deal and about the same price. Once I have tested FIOS and made sure it will work ok for my needs, I’ll drop RR.