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Re: [Savannah-hackers-public] new mailing list blurb

From: Sylvain Beucler
Subject: Re: [Savannah-hackers-public] new mailing list blurb
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 00:14:07 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.17 (2007-11-01)

On Fri, Jan 18, 2008 at 03:16:59PM -0700, Bob Proulx wrote:
> Sylvain Beucler wrote:
> > - We at Savannah represent a strong stand against services that keep
> >   their source code private (such as SourceForge, of course). Hence,
> >   we need a permanent location where the listhelper source code can be
> >   downloaded, if possible with instructions on how to set it up at
> >   other places. If the license is AGPL, all the better :)
> The custom source is licensed under the GPL and is free software.  The
> main part of listhelper is a shell script and a procmail file plus a
> few other associated files and crontabs.  The message catagorization
> is done by SpamAssassin.  There are some custom spam filter rules
> based upon 'grep' and 'md5sum'.  Some Ruby is used for mime component
> handling.  Listhelper is an aggregation of available technologies.
> All of the projects used are available under a free software license.
> Most of the contribution is really the server cpu time it takes to
> process messages plus the babysitting needed to manage it because the
> nature of spam is that the environment is always in motion around it.
> I frequently write custom spam filter rules that are good for about
> two weeks before they become stale.  A snapshot of the custom part of
> the spam rules this winter would be quite stale this next spring.
> The babysitting of the hold queues by the listhelper volunteers is a
> critical element.  Without the human review the system would not work.
> The listhelper scripts enable human review of the mailing list hold
> queues more efficiently than was previously possible.
> A problem with distributing listhelper code is one of preparing it for
> generic distribution such that it would work in a generic environment.
> I wrote it in situ specifically for the purpose for which it is
> working now and it would take some effort to make it transportable.
> Also the GNU Mail system was announced which if completed would make
> listhelper obsolete.  Listhelper was written to bridge the gap until
> then.  Therefore there wasn't a lot of reason to do this in
> anticipation of it being replaced.

The code can be published nonetheless, even as-is.
This description is a first step.

for example - it's specific to Savannah but it can be quite
helpful. This could be improved by grepping for "file:" and publishing
such files automatically somewhere. The Debian mail team also publish
their spam filtering setup at
shows how putting pieces of free software together can be non-trivial
and worthy of publication as well.

If your rules are changing, it would nice to see them, maybe not
necessarily for using them as-is, but to learn about spam fighting
(similarly I don't expect anyone to use my Savannah installation notes
verbatim, but they are fairly useful to understand how everything
works behind the scenes).

As for the GNU Mail system, it was first planned for April 2006 and I
still haven't seen a single line of code, so I wouldn't so much count
on it. As for obsolescence, we'll see - for one, the new mail system
is planned to work for a single site, yours can be extended to
multiple sites. listhelper doesn't rely on the latest fashion web
framework either ;)


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