Politics 80X: Politics of the Internet


Can the Internet Find Programmed Solutions to Spam?

In May 1998 Eric Allman spoke to the ISP Convention on sendmail.. Sendmail has been, for more than 20 years, the program by which UNIX servers have managed email. Allman gave a talk on a "Spam Management Release" of Sendmail, which will have these features:

"Sendmail 8.9 is primarily an anti-spam release. Important changes include disabling of promiscuous relaying by default, an "access" database to control domains from which mail will be accepted, and mail filtering based on the content of headers.

"This talk details those changes, and discusses what you can do to control spam at your site."

A more detailed account of Sendmail's anti-SPAM features appeared in The New York Times 17 March 1998. [Registered class members may consult the full text.]

This case is a good example of the interplay between technical participation in Internet activities and the capacity to deal with activity which damages the Net. The ISP Convention bio describes him as "the original author of sendmail." The background is that Allman has maintained Sendmail for more than 20 years as, in effect, a good-citizen contribution. He has now created a for-profit venture called Sendmail Inc., to compete with commercial providers of mail services while continuing to adhere to the principles of the Open Software movement.

Sendmail, Inc. is at: http://www.sendmail.com/