Problem: I've just been handed a new project - to control spam/junk e-mail within the company. Our e-mail server is an IBM AIX box, running Sendmail; local clients use Outlook/Outlook Express to retrieve e-mail. I've seen lots of products for spam control for Exchange Server. Any recommendation for Sendmail on AIX?

Solution: There are several ways you can address your spam/junk mail problem. Take a look at the SpamAssassin site to get information on what you're trying to do. O'Reilly Media has just released a book on SpamAssassin that's also worth looking at.

While it should be possible to implement this on your existing AIX system, give some thought to setting up SpamAssassin on a separate system that will relay all the mail it receives to your Sendmail MTA on the AIX box. This way, you can work on setting up and debugging SpamAssassin without impacting your existing Sendmail configuration. By setting up an MX record for this secondary box , you also have a system on which mail can spool up when your AIX system is down or being rebooted. You should see several links on the SpamAssassin site on how-to guides to help you get this done.

Once you have your system up and running, subscribe to the listservs for SpamAssassin and any other package you implement with it such as clamav, amavisd, etc. You will pick up quite a bit of good information that will help you keep your system running as smoothly as possible. You might want to start a notebook with everything you find. You may not need today, but sometime down the road it will come in very handy. Another stop on your travels should be for a collection of prewritten rules, updated on a periodic basis, that will further help control the spam you receive.

Don't try to turn up everything at once. Bring up a basic system and learn how that works. As you get more comfortable, you can start adding rule sets and refine how things run. You will find reference to commands you can add such as qshape, which will give you a running idea of how many messages are backed up in the active queue, and Perl scripts that will help you see if an expected e-mail actually arrived and what happened to it.

Ron Nutter, a Master Certified Novell Engineer and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer tracks down the answers to your questions.