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Editor's Note: Random Notes

Oct 15, 2004, 23:30 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

Reason Number 858 why I love Linux, Open Source software, and just penguins in general: Spamassassin.

As I mentioned last week, I went to my alma mater for my 15th annual reunion. When I left, I had shut down my machine, because, although I know you're not supposed to shut Linux down if you don't need to, I tend to be a little paranoid about leaving my systems on while I am gone. When I got back, I booted the machine, started Evolution, and wham! I was hit with 12,453 messages.

Now, keep in mind the most traffic I ever get is when I am out of the office for nearly a week, such as when I go out to LinuxWorld, or actually take a vacation. And, the most I ever gotten was about 3,000 messages. So, when I saw 12,453 on the way down from my POP server, I canceled the download and started looking at the messages that did come through.

Sure enough, there was a pattern: they were all bounce messages. Somehow or other, my address got picked up in somebody's address book or contact list and was used as a spoof for some virus delivery. When the bulk of these messages went out, they ran into some pretty effective spam blockers, when in turn sent poor innocent me the computer equivalent of "Take a Hike."

Now, with Windows, I would have to manage filters and hope I did not kill off some legitimate bounces from legitimate messages I might have sent or will send in the future. And, truth to tell, I started to try to do just that in Evolution. After all, easy e-mail filters just cry out to be used, don't they?

Then I remembered Spamassassin. And life was good. I threw the 150 or so messages that had gotten through into my spam folder, trained the Baysian filter, and hit Send and Receive once more. I still had a lot of messages, but this time only a few hundred actually made it to my main Inbox. And that was because I'd neglected to train Spamassassin for the French, German, Japanese, and what appeared to be Hebrew versions of "Take a Hike." One more retraining session, and I was good to go. What could have been hours of tedious filtering and filing turned into a 20-minute hiccup in an otherwise normal day.

It's things like this that remind me of all of the successes that Linux has had, and will continue to have. Something needs done, it gets done. No wizards, no EULAS, just the right tools at the right time.


As I also mentioned last week, the broadsides against Linux are coming fast and furious of late. Sun is squaring off against Red Hat, SCO is still squaring off with IBM, and Microsoft? Well, they're squaring off with everybody. I wonder if Redmond's proxies even realize that Microsoft will gladly let them expend their energies against Linux and each other instead of against Microsoft.


And now SCO is launching its own version of Groklaw. I get the sense that Pamela Jones is tickled rather than concerned, and I think that is a healthy attitude to have. For me, I am looking forward to the new ProSCO.net site. If anything, I will get Linux Today's comedy quotas filled.


Did anybody notice the new bootsplash and login screens for Ubuntu Linux that came out in the latest release this week? Apparently, some people thought that the photos of less than fully clothed twenty-somethings were a bit too sexual. having been in theatre, I have seen a lot worse. The word from the Ubuntu folks was that these folks were supposed to represent humanity. That's cool by me. I had a question, though. How did they come up with the money for a photo shoot with pro models?


Now, for something really irksome. Earlier this morning, you may have read the PR from Linspire about their new geographic tracking system. Apparently, when you first start Linspire on a new install, it will send your IP (anonymously, of course) and location to a central database that will light up your location on a map. While this seems rather benign, do I really want anyone knowing where my machine is? And, more seriously, does anyone at Linspire ever do anything than come up with silly marketing schemes?


Linspire, I must admit, does not corner the market on silly. I have had a strange little ditty running through my head all week, which I will share with you so you can join in (with huge, huge apologies to Mojo Nixon):

Linux is everywhere
Linux is everything
Linux is everybody
Linux is still the king

Man o man
What I want you to see
Is that the big L's
Inside of you and me

Linux is everywhere, man!
It's in everything.
It's in everybody...

Linux is in your jeans.
It's in your cheeseburgers
Linux is in Nutty Buddies!
Linux is in your Aunt Tilly!

It's in everybody.
It's in the young, the old,
the fat, the skinny,
the white, the black
the brown and the blue
people got Linux in 'em too

Linux is in everybody out there.
Everybody's got Linux in them!
Everybody except one person that is...
Yeah, one person!
The evil opposite of Linux.
The Anti-Linux

Anti-Linux got no Linux in 'em,
lemme tell ya.

Darl McBride has no Linux in him.

And Linux is in Jonathan Schwartz
but it's trying to get out, man!
It's trying to get out!
Listen up Jonny...!


Yes, look out American Idol, here I come!