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Spam IT

11 Anti-spam Products Tested 200

An anonymous reader writes "When we achieve world peace, that's when we'll get the perfect anti-spam solution. In the meantime, ZDNet has a comprehensive review of eleven of the latest anti-spam products including solutions from BitDefender, Clearswift, CA eTrust, GFI, IronPort, MailGuard, McAfee, MessageLabs, NetIQ, Network Box and Symantec Brightmail."
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11 Anti-spam Products Tested

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  • SpamBayes? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by opusman ( 33143 ) * on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:21PM (#11012572) Homepage
    Seems like a glaring ommission.
    • Re:SpamBayes? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Umbral Blot ( 737704 )
      Has anyone tried using all 11 on top of each other? Or would you kill too much of your desireable email. I am using Thunderbirds default spam filter, and the only span I see are ads from b&n and other online stores where I shop (still highly annoying). This is not an excuse to try to give me spam. I am fairly liberal with the distribution of my email address, I work on sourceforge after all, so what I am i doing right that others are not?
    • SpamBayes... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by John Miles ( 108215 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:25PM (#11012601) Homepage Journal
      ... unlike the other products reviewed, doesn't advertise on ZDNet.
    • Re:SpamBayes? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by snorklewacker ( 836663 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:34PM (#11012695)
      Er, the glaring omission would be any mention of the effectiveness of any of these products. Am I not clicking on the right links? Because I'm seeing less than a page worth of review for each product, that seems to consist of installing it, clicking around the admin interface, then going on to the next product. It doesn't appear that they actually used the products they were reviewing!

      • Holy crap yo, why are you the first person to mention this little detail?? Everyone is just talking about SpamAssassin, when they should be pointing out that the entire article is garbage. This is just about the worst "review" I have ever read. Ich...
      • Well they make up for not testing effectiveness by this fun little line: Please note that these decisions were not based on accuracy testing. Duh! I imagine they test stereo systems without audio output and simply look at the box and the colors of the LCD?
    • Well, the linked article significantly uses the adjective "enterprise", but the /. description doesn't. So I'm less surprised now. I use SpamBayes and it's been great.

    • Another glaring omission: []. Very effective (almost 99% for me).

      My stats (as of the time of this post):

      Joined D2S on 12 Apr 2004
      Total messages received: 16024
      Messages classified as good: 3152 19.67%
      Messages classified as spam: 12710 79.32%
      Messages classified as a virus: 14 0.09%
      Messages not classified (unsure): 148 0.92%
      Unsure email re-classified as good: 24 0.15%
      Unsure email re-classified as spam: 105 0.66%
      Good email mis-classified as spam (FP): 2 0.01%
      Spam email mis

  • by Vthornheart ( 745224 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:22PM (#11012575)
    you insensitive clod!
  • Yawn - No OSS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OnceWas ( 187243 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:22PM (#11012578)

    Where are the OSS products? No Spamassassin?

    Some review...

    • Re:Yawn - No OSS (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      spamassassin is definately used by messagelabs, gfi, and mcafee in part or in whole. If you poke around you can find information about it.
    • Re:Yawn - No OSS (Score:5, Informative)

      by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:36PM (#11012724) Homepage Journal
      Hey everyone, don't like the article? Let them know through the Talkback [] feature.
    • Re:Yawn - No OSS (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kaustik ( 574490 )
      For a Sys Admin at a 100% Microsoft shop (me), do you have suggestions for a FOSS implementation that will play well with my Native mode 2000/Exchange 2000 domain? I can build up a linux server on very moderate hardware if I can prove to my office that it will perform. The solution would need to provide some sort of user interface for managing whitelists/blacklists/bayesian/etc... Also sorting by folder in the Exchange environment. Probably dreaming here, but worth a shot. I don't have huge amounts of time
      • Folders are easy, just have it tag SPAM rather than block it and have users setup a filter to move everything to this folder. The problem will be getting a linux box to reject mail that isn't addressed to a valid user (unless you have another box in front of your exchange server already that is doing this
      • Setting Up a Spam-Filtering Mail Gateway For Microsoft Exchange Using Fedora Core 1, Postfix 2.0.19, Amavisd-New and Razor2
      • I would recommend a combination of Postfix, amavisd-new and clamav on the Linux box as a firewall.

        Amavisd-new can use a whitelist/blacklist in a DBMS for easier web based management (inclding per user ones), and is quite effective at cacthing spam.

        The best part is that except for the whitelist/blacklist management this is totally transparent to the user, who can use whatever folder sorting mechanisms they like on Exchange.
      • We use SpamAssassin here with Exchange - desktop and most servers are all-Windows. Don't know the details, but it is definitely possible and much better than the home grown solution.

      • I used to receive hundreds of spam everyday.

        My solution? Simply configuring sendmail to use SORBS [] ( Spam and Open Relay Blocking System) stopped 98 percent of my spam traffic right there.

        Using SpamAssassin really just blocks anything left over. I'm lucky to see a single peice of spam once a week.
      • My company uses CanIt and is very happy with it. It runs on Linux (or Solaris) and uses sendmail and SpamAssasin. The cost is low compared to the proprietary vendors, and I think the quality is much better. The value they add for the price is:

        1) commercial support (this was most helpful in getting it integrated into our MS Exchange environment)
        2) easy installation (with great docs and support)
        3) great web interface for admins (and users if you want them to manage their own filters)
        4) database integratio

    • Looks like the companies pay for getting their products into tests...
  • SpamAssassin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AnotherFreakboy ( 730662 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:24PM (#11012598)
    I wonder why they didn't mention SpamAssassin. Open Source solutions will never gain the market share they deserve if media never gives them the attention they deserve. And the media will never give them attention until they get market share. It's a deadly cycle. Note: Open Source does not inherently make a product worthy of market share.
    • Re:SpamAssassin (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RealAlaskan ( 576404 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:35PM (#11012707) Homepage Journal
      Open Source solutions will never gain the market share they deserve if media never gives them the attention they deserve. And the media will never give them attention until they get market share.

      How about:

      ``Open Source solutions will never gain the market share they deserve if media never gives them the attention they deserve. And the media will never give them attention until they [the Open Source solutions] start spending big bucks advertising with the media''.

      No chicken-and-egg stuff here: I would bet that ZDNet is following thier long-standing policy of reward^H^H^H^Hviewing their advertisers' products.

      • Re:SpamAssassin (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Mowog ( 20830 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:56PM (#11012909) Homepage
        And the media will never give them attention until they [the Open Source solutions] start spending big bucks advertising with the media
        That's not strictly true -- it depends on who the intended audience is. Technology & Business Magazine is (also) a print publication here in Australia, whose audience is primarily IT managers (and therefore businesses).

        Most businesses want to BUY something to fix their spam problem and not try to fix it themselves. There are exceptions to that rule, but by and large IT managers are already busy enough and just want someone or something else to fix their spam.

        I know this because my company (MailGuard) is one of those in the review. And no, we don't spend huge $$$ on advertising with ZDnet; we were invited to submit for the review, as I imagine were all the other vendors. Remember -- there are two worlds out there. Businesses will often recognise and implement Open Source solutions, but businesses also like to engage other businesses to handle non-core problems for them.

        • I would be curious to know if anyone from ZDnet got in touch with anyone involved in Spam Assassin about a submission for the review.

          Spam Assassin comes up on the first page of a google search for spam, so I assume they have at least heard of it. Having found the web page it's a simple matter to send an email to the mailing list inviting a submission from the developers.

          Assuming they didn't (and I think that a safe assumption) I would like to know why they didn't. Is it because Spam Assassin is open sourc
        • Most businesses want to BUY something to fix their spam problem and not try to fix it themselves.

          True that, but there are commerical products that use OSS stuff that they didn't mention, like Roaring Penguin Software []

      • Well they don't spend big bugs on their web server and apparently have heard of OSS. Their web site runs apache on linux.
  • by Limburgher ( 523006 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:26PM (#11012616) Homepage Journal
    Between Spamassassin and Sendmail using a few blacklists, I get almost no spam. Based on my logs from the past week, I've blocked nearly 500 messages. Not bad when you consider I run a small server with few users.
    • Based on my logs from the past week, I've blocked nearly 500 messages.

      Bah, you don't count. My personal email at home dropped from 1,100 spam messages to about 200 spam messages per week when I wrote a postfix greylisting engine recently.

      Mind you, that's 1,100 messages that were making it through various RBL kinds of things. The 1,100 did count things that spamassassin caught, but there was a pretty good thing that my client's Bayesian filter had to deal with in there, too.

      I'm not looking forward to s
  • postfix and a Bayesian filter called from procmail. Mine is set up as a mail gateway to keep everything but https on Exchange isolated from the Internet.

    More features, better performance, better uptime, lower cost.
  • Uhh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pHatidic ( 163975 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:28PM (#11012637)
    Why not just use thunderbird [], it already has pretty good anti-spam capabilities in it to begin with and it's free and open source. I will admit I only installed it a few hours ago so I haven't been using it very long. The reason I installed it was because Eudora for OS X was very slow and for some reason was deleting my newest email every time I tried to download new email. Thunderbird is extremely fast, has better features, no popups, and is free. So far I have encountered no bugs, except some of the spam filtering features were a little unintuitive so I had to try them all out to see what did what.
    • Re:Uhh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by alen ( 225700 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:33PM (#11012685)
      this is for server side anti-spam products. some people want to stop spam before it gets into the email system
    • Cable TV is not subject to the same FCC restrictions as broadcast. Anything you can say or show on skinamax or HBO they COULD show on MTV or CC except that their sponsors may not like it and viewers may complain to the local cable company about the film being pumped into their home. That's why it bothered me so much when Up All Night cut out the good stuff.
    • by Malc ( 1751 )
      Great for keeping inboxes clear... not great for preventing unwanted use of network and server resources.
  • by jjeffries ( 17675 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:29PM (#11012649)
    Let me just take a moment to say that sa-exim [] kicks ass. It stops your spam before SMTP accepts it, so no mail is ever deleted. Exim is about the most configurable piece of software there is, and who doesn't know about SpamAssassin []?

    Alternately, check out MailScanner [] for one-stop mail sanitization, virus checking, and spam filtering.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:30PM (#11012660)
    > eleven of the latest anti-spam products including solutions from BitDefender, Clearswift, CA eTrust, GFI, IronPort, MailGuard, McAfee, MessageLabs, NetIQ, Network Box and Symantec Brightmail.

    How can this list be considered even remotely complete? What about the personalized Louisville Slugger [], the noble etherkiller [] and (for your Tier 1 types who work in volume) the 1200-bung-per-hour-rated Jarvis Sow Bung Dropper []?

    Oh, wait, this is a review of anti-spam products, not anti-spammer products. Never mind.

  • Xwall rules (Score:4, Informative)

    by alen ( 225700 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:30PM (#11012661)
    We use Xwall where I work. It's $349 and you get free lifetime support and upgrades. And with the new greylisting feature 99% of all spam is stopped.
  • Spam "products" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:31PM (#11012668)
    It seems that many people these days now just look to pick up a pretty box at the store to help deal with spam. However, anyone who does this must not get important e-mail. I, for one, don't want my e-mail being filtered by some proprietary application like mcafee with limited configurability and disclosing details on how it works for "trade secret/IP" reasons. If it's an ip blocking service, I want statistics and to know how IPs get on it. If it's something statistical, I want to know exactly what it does. It is very dangerous to let your correspondence get picked apart by a "black box."
    • Barracuda Networks [] makes a pretty good "pretty box" that satisfies the PHBs while retaining OSS goodness. And a damn sight better than the products in the review!
      (I know, I had to evaluate them all recently! Grr... Told 'em OSS was the way to go...)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Notice there are no free products listed. If you "contribute" some ad revenue to ZDnet, they'll look at/write about your product. Otherwise....

  • by Rick Zeman ( 15628 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:35PM (#11012716)
    ...and serious admins aren't exposing Windows to the internet to accept mail. But that's ZDNet for you....
  • Results (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:36PM (#11012726) Journal
    Some people just go to the last page anyway :-)

    Software winner: Symantec Brightmail, for ease of installation, configuration and administration as well as an excellent user interface and detailed "live" graphical reporting it would be hard to surpass these features.

    Managed Service winner: Network Box, if security is a concern then Network Box has the bases covered, if availability and redundancy are your preferred choice then a trial of either MailGuard or MessageLabs may be on the cards.

    Appliance winner: IronPort, strong security, redundancy and recently developed ease of installation with the new GUI make this appliance the choice in this review. For those with a tighter budget then perhaps one of the McAfee WebShield appliances may be considered and are still very worthy contenders.
    • The catch... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jayde Stargunner ( 207280 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:53PM (#11012886)
      The other noteworthy point of the last page is the absolutely ridiculous statement of, "Please note that these decisions were not based on accuracy testing."

      I'm sure everyone is just amazingly psyched about an "ultimate" anti-spam guide that makes no effort to determine if the products they are reviewing (let alone proclaiming as the "winner") actually stop spam.

      Of course, I guess this kind of article is developed to benifit CIOs with no technical experience, who just want something to tell the IT department to install. (Thus: price and ease of installation are far more important than it actually doing what it is supposed to.)
  • No POPFile? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:38PM (#11012747) Homepage
    Before I moved to Gmail I used POPFile []. Not only as a spam filter, but to classify mail into categories. After a week of training it almost never got anything wrong.
    • And POPFile's new IMAP module lets you still use POPFile with Gmail and as well as getting spam filtering you can use POPFile's general sorting mechanism.

      • Re:No POPFile? (Score:2, Informative)

        by MurphyZero ( 717692 )
        After training, POPFile does a pretty good job of recognizing the difference between spam from friends and spam from spammers...which unfortunately is most of my email. About a 99.2% success rate overall with 5 categories instead of just 2. Pretty good program.
  • Is this for real? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JumboMessiah ( 316083 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:38PM (#11012750)
    When being initially trialled/evaluated we would expect most anti-spam applications to run around 65 percent to 70 percent spam catch accuracy with very low to zero false positives in "default" or "out of the box" configurations. Then, once given the benefit of being "tuned" or "tweaked" and having localised white and black lists applied they should run at about 85 percent to 92 percent

    I don't know about everyone else, but I'd expect a little more out of a product that costs thousands to implement. With a little research and dedication my SA 3.0.1 setup has no problem spanking those numbers.

    I'm also assuming that none of these products produced extremely stellar results. The article never mentions any statistics based upon corpus runs for any of them. This is nothing more than TLA eyecandy...
    • Well said! It shows the general quality of the article when they don't even bother to publish the results of the TESTING, let alone do a proper test, train, re-test, auto-learn, test again with each of the products! Instead it's just a "this one is easy to install, this one's got a pretty UI" waste of time.

      The fact that they then quote ridiculously low percentages for spam recognition (when they should be aiming in the 95-99.9% bracket) and don't mention ANY of the problems of spam filtering such as fals
  • huh...I dont get spam because i dont give out my email to any random person/site, etc...And if i need to give out an email, i have a couple of yahoo emails that are pretty disposable... Actually, i dont really get any mail at all...yeah... My roommate (college) gets lots of viruses. I cleaned up his comp one day and discovered a virus which had installed with his permission. It was actually in Add/Remove programs (windows). It had a readme file that said that it had installed after the user clicked OK to
  • Free? (Score:3, Informative)

    by wk633 ( 442820 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:41PM (#11012767)
    Lots of free things mentioned like SpamAssasin.

    My company uses $1.25 per mailbox per month. At 60 people, that's WAY cheaper than my time to administer anything. I havn't heard a peep of a complaint from users after switching. Before were using a device (eSafe by Alladin systems). It was taking up to an hour/day of my time. And it wasn't free.

    Just remember to include admin time when working out 'free'.
  • The article has a ridiculously low number of words to a page, making offline reading a hassle and having me spend more time loading pages than reading. Half of the text on a page is ad. And they don't cover SpamAssasin. In fact, it looks like the reviewed software is Windows only - though I gave up reading after a few pages.

    Is this the kind of corporate crap people get in Australia? If so, I seriously feel sorry for those who live there...
    • Actually, it's just a matter of what ZDNet bothers to let you see.

      There's quite a few others in Australia but not all of us care to advertise with them.

      As a shameless plug, is actually Australian made and sold globally, though it's more of a content-management system as apposed to /only/ being a spam solution.

  • by Burdell ( 228580 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:43PM (#11012788)
    I work for an ISP, and we've been using Brightmail since before version 1. We use the MAPS [] DNS blocklists as a "front-line" defense and then Brightmail for spam and virus filtering. You can see our email statistics here [].

    I wrote the original sendmail milter interface to Brightmail that they derived their milter software from. We still run my milter because I've added additional options over time; Brightmail includes an SDK that you can use to interface to custom setups easily.

  • They Forgot... (Score:3, Informative)

    by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:43PM (#11012792) Homepage Journal
    ...the Barracuda Spam Firewall. It's easy to set up, and it "just works". There is also ASSP. I don't have the linkage right now though...
    • I'll be getting my 'Cuda demo box Wednesday. The 300.

      How are you protecting your outgoing SMTP traffic? Barracuda doesn't act as an SMTP AUTH Proxy. Are you leaving port 25 open and just not pointing an MX record to it, or are you using some other firewall for outboung SMTP?

      Link: []
      • The cuda doesn't do outbound (aside from generating NDRs). It basically plays "man-in-the-middle" with inbounds from foreign hosts, only. Easiest setup is to add a new public A/PTR pair for the 'cuda, then point your MX at it. As the new MX propagates, traffic to the actual mailexch will dry up, etc, as outside hosts begin sending to the cuda, instead. Eventually you make your mailexch blackhole the entire planet, with the exception of any legit hosts who'd SMTP directly to it (including the 'cuda). This
    • ASSP website (Score:2, Informative)

      by heavyboots ( 793960 )

      Been using it for a little over a year now and it rocks. We receive something like 10,000 emails a day--%70 of which is spam. Of those, perhaps 20-30 spam messages actually get through, which is pretty good. Also features extremely low false positives. I'm only aware of perhaps 3 during the course of the entire year. A valid user from a valid domain should get a bounce-back message explaining that their message was rejected as spam-like with brief instructions on alternate method
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:44PM (#11012805)
    11 Anti-spammer Products Tested
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This review does not actually test the ability of the software to catch spam. It is just a beauty contest.
  • MailScanner! (Score:3, Informative)

    by prandal ( 87280 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:51PM (#11012855)
    MailScanner [] is a brilliant piece of work which integrates Sendmail/Postfix/Exim/whatever with SpamAssassin (plus Razor/Pyzor/DCC) and ClamAV/BitDefender/Sophos/Mcafee/etc, all driven by highly customisable rulesets. It's open source, support via the MailScanner Mailing List is second to none, and its author, Julian Field, is always improving an already excellent product. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
  • Please note that these decisions were not based on accuracy testing

    So - exactly why would anyone waste more than two seconds on these reviews? Just so we can find out what they think of the GUIs and how easy they are to install .. without an analysis of how effective they are at blocking spam? What crap.

  • Freeware... (Score:5, Informative)

    by vitalyb ( 752663 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:55PM (#11012903) Homepage
    They also ignored any kind of freeware, not only Linux ones, SpamPal [] for example.

    Also, their reviews were pretty shallow, I would expect at least to know how am I to connect to this spam filter, there are numerous ways, some better, some worse.
  • That is what this article is. It fails to address some of the most significant issues to be considered when selecing an anti-spam product: 1. What percentage of incoming SPAM does it catch? 2. What percentage of the messages caught were "Non-SPAM" messages? 3. What is the message volume the product can handle? Instead they gloss over catch rates and false positive rates with a "Everything does a similar job" type statement. FALSE. I just spent the past 8 months evaluating anti-spam solutions for my work
  • Testing? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Grey ( 14278 )
    This does look like a test to me. It look like a bunch of marketing speek.

    We did not perform any "official" accuracy and performance testing on the products. We set the programs up in modes to test both controlled and live messages, however the results of these brief tests would just add more confusion to the mix than anything and certainly didn't show any unexpected results.

    or the MS exchange 2003 only product got 2.5 stars and many others got 3?

    Every product review is like, it installs easily, and

  • What, no Spamassassin, SpamBayes or PureMessage?

    I guess they can't have been keeping up with their 'protection' payments.

  • You won't get an spam ever again! Then again, you probably won't be able to find a single real message that could wend its way through them all either.
    1. Tell your friends they either get GPG/PGP or you'll never speak to them again
    2. Require the same of all relatives, your landlord, service providers, etc.
    3. Require that all the above digitally sign their e-mails
    4. Spam-filter everything that isn't signed, where the signature isn't on your keyring, or where the signature is incorrect
    5. Die horribly, as the utility companies, former friends, and spam merchants, join forces to burn you at the stake for your heretical stance.
  • by Titusdot Groan ( 468949 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @10:15PM (#11013639) Journal
    Missed all the open source products (SpamBayes, SpamAssassin, etc.).

    Missed all of IronPort's competitors (BorderWare, Barracuda, CipherTrust).

    Missed Postini, the managed Spam services leader.

    I'd start with MetaGroup, Gartner or somebody like that to get a list of what the options really are ...

  • send them feedback (Score:2, Informative)

    by dingfelder ( 819778 )
    Don't just grumble, do what I did and send them feedback. Send a note to zdnet or or CC the author/editor: While you are at it, CC the manager of RMIT IT Test Labs who did the testing: Orif you want, post zdnet feedback to the article: . htm?PROCESS=post&AT=39172027-39023769t-1000010 2c
    • sorry for the poor formatting before folks

      Don't just grumble, do what I did and send them feedback.

      Send a note to zdnet
      prin t

      CC the author/editor:

      While you are at it, CC the manager of RMIT IT Test Labs who did the testing:

      Or if you want, post zdnet feedback to the article: /talkback. htm?PROCESS=post&AT=39172027-39023769
  • ... not to mention one of the best (IMO) commercial packages out there.

    My office (an ISP, with about 5000 email addresses) uses a Barracuda [] 400.

    It's a nice 1U rackmount system, dead simple to integrate into most SMTP networks (just one DNS change and you're done), works well (internally, it's basically a somewhat-tuned version of SpamAssassin), great for the end-users (integrated Web interface for adjusting settings, handling quarantined emails, etc.). And cost-effective (the 400 was under $5k from our re
  • Why doesn't the spammers understand that spamming is NOT the way go.

    It destroys the rep of your company totally! But in most cases spammers don't care.


    they should understand that is quite hard to get thru, so that the victim would even bother to open it. SPAM is destroying, and eating the net alive.
    One finnish professor said not so long ago, that internet will die 2006 because of spam. is he right or not, i don't know, but we are definately heading to that way!

    He said that spam would exceed by that s
  • by Door-opening Fascist ( 534466 ) <> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:28AM (#11015352) Homepage
    All these are commercial products. ZDNet has a long reputation of discussing commercial solutions without any regard to completely viable OSS solutions like

    MailScanner []

    MIMEDefang []

    SpamAssassin []

  • I'm using BayesIt! [] spamfilter for TheBat! [] for more than a year now, and i have yet to see it fail. Granted, it's still learning as i (thankfully) don't receive huge amounts of spa, but the bulk of the spam i recieve gets deleted. We're talking about 99% of the scanned mails. Sorry, but no commercial products for me (antispam, not the client).

    Oh, and apparently the plugin was so popular that Ritlabs included it in the latest versions of TheBat!.
  • by Testlab ( 837981 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @05:09AM (#11015961)
    Hi All,

    Love all the comments !! And despite popular belief I did not get my 2 year old son to write the review.

    Reading through them it seems to me there is definitely a few misconceptions that need to be cleared up, so hopefully this may sort a few things out. Then again it may not! :-)

    Before we begin down this path I appreciate your patience in getting through this abnormally large post, but it is better to deal with the comments on a whole rather than one by one.

    1. We are the RMIT Test Lab, based in Australia, we are a totally separate organization from the magazine who is one of our clients, they contract us to perform three independent technology reviews every month on products that they invite the vendors to submit. The RMIT Test Lab will have been performing independent magazine reviews for 16 years in January 2005. We have certainly produced a hell of a lot of words over that time. For more information on the RMIT Test Lab hit The vendors don't pay the Lab one cent to have their products tested for the magazine reviews.

    2. For all you Open Source buffs out there, you know who you are! The magazine creates a list of what technologies will be tested approx. six months in advance, one and a half months before going to press the magazine issues invites to various product vendors to submit product(s) to us at the lab for testing, this is generally accompanied by a "scenario" which is set by the magazine to ensure that the vendors stick to certain criteria and submit products of a certain caliber/type and not all eight products that they may have in their inventory which fits into that review category. Therefore it is the magazine who invites the vendors, not the Test Lab nor the reviewer. Basically we have no control over which vendors are invited to submit and at the end of the day every single vendor could not possibly be reviewed, there will always be some who cant submit, wont submit, have not been invited or don't have Australia as a target market. So don't blame us for not including Spam Assassin or any of the other 100's of commercial and open source Anti-Spam solutions that are out there. Also note that a review we have recently completed and submitted "E-Mail Clients" for the next edition of the magazine contained several Open Source products, and a review we have just commenced "Internet Browsers" also contains several Open Source products too. So before pulling out the "Paid for Results" and "Advertising Driven" and "Open Source Bashing" comments think again and take a look at a few of the other reviews we have performed.

    3. We are fundamentally IT engineers who design and execute testing frameworks, methodologies and create reports, we just happen to have a very very small modicum of writing ability, we are by no means trained journalists "out for the scoop" or trying to generate traditional "media hype" around varying technologies. We report things as we see them. We are also very experienced in testing these technologies; in fact the majority of the work the lab is contracted to perform is private testing for corporate clients and vendors/manufacturers/developers. Therefore we will not "test" where others try unless the test will provide valid worthwhile results that we will stand behind happily. The fact that we are not journalists means that the Magazine's editorial staff have their work cut out editing our reviews while still maintaining our individual writing styles and the basic concepts of what we are trying to deliver, sometimes it is successful sometimes less so. An example for you is that the review we submitted on Spam was 7,049 words long (25 A4 pages in Word, or Writer, with screen shots and images). And that does not even include the features table or the overview table. The space available for that edition of the magazine was less than 3000 words. Therefore 4000 words had to be lost. We don't get to see the finished product until it is published. Overall I personally feel that the review turned out
    • The online editorial team at the Magazine called the online review the Ultimate when it pretty obviously is not the Ultimate

      It depends what definition of "ultimate" one uses - hopefully ZDNet meant "ultimate" as in "last". I just posted to their feedback section (prior to reading this post) that by describing the article as "ultimate" belittled the tests which were carried out.

      Hopefully in future ZDNet will continue contracting the testing to you guys, and will start contracting their journalism to, you
    • Alrighty, then. Sounds like the test lab is off the hook for leaving out all products that weren't by Zdnet's advertisers.

      A quick question for you folks: Do you (or someone else reading this) have the list of what products were asked to send in a test? That would tell us whether the culprit was ZDNet or disorganized open source projects.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_