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Sat 03 Apr 2004

Postfix Enabler on Mac OS X Downloads Page

Category : Technology/PostfixEnableronMPGPage.txt

Postfix Enabler has been placed on Apple's Mac OS X Downloads page, as well as on Mac Products Guide. I'm seeing quite a lot of hits and downloads. But no PayPal notifications. Oh, well. If everybody who uses it would just pay a dollar, I would be really rich this year. Maybe next time we have a good idea, we'd do something like that right from the start.

It's been stuck on 1.0.9 for some time. I'm not sure if any of the things I'm doing over the next week will amount to a 1.1. Probably not. Maybe I could get a version with Michel Poulain's anti-virus filter incorporated, plus an ability to set up RBLs (Realtime Blackhole Lists). But I've said I would do that for some time, but I don't yet know how I'll find the time.

The things I'm doing on Panther Server are a bit different. The idea is that quite a few enterprises (from large to small) would be interested in an Xserve - especially if it comes with spam and anti-virus filters (at the moment I only know how to do the SpamAssassin/Anomy thing) and the ability to produce detailed mail traffic analysis reports already bundled it.

Now, these guys at Apple Singapore could come to me each time they need to ship this particular combination. But they would love it if I could build for them a Postfix Enabler-like installer. Then we've brought the costs down for everyone and presumably everybody's going to be happy. I've a slightly different take on the economics of doing this (actually, why would I want to do that? the more mystical the process, the more I can charge, so I'm working against my own interests; see, these issues are really subtle; no wonder people like John Nash, who studied game theory, went a bit awry), but of that another day. But this is the general idea.

So why can't this be done for the donation-ware Postfix Enabler? Firstly, SpamAssassin is dependent on a collection of other Perl libraries. To get these built, you'll need to have Developer Tools loaded. Then, my impression is that these libraries are then installed all over the place (I'm going to spend a day or two confirming this). Postfix Enabler must have been downloaded at least 15,000 times. It'll be a nightmare to make sure everybody has Developer Tools installed and then to get all these Perl stuff loaded to the right locations. (I think Mike Poulain had the right idea with his anti-virus filter, though it does require Virex which comes with a .Mac account - his solution doesn't need all these dependent Perl libraries or Developer Tools - it'll work on any standard Mac).

Then there is the idea of copyright and license agreements and whether I would be allowed to bundle things like SpamAssassin. The people who own UW-IMAP gave their permission readily for me to bundle it with Postfix Enabler. But it was still a bit of work to get it, as well as to add some stuff into the Postfix Enabler interface to help protect their interests. In the Panther Server case, I believe I can leave this to the other guys I'm working with to worry about. I'm trying to automate a process that would have to be done quite laboriously in-house, anyway, if I couldn't find a way to systematise the whole thing.

Great, while writing this, the Panther Server installation on the Xserve is already done. It's fast, even on a G4. I'm just doing a Software Update, and then I'll be on my way. So I have two Panther Servers set up now - one on an iMac and the other on the Xserve. This way, I can keep one as the baseline to check what's loaded by default, and what came in as a result of my installations.

Posted at 4:35AM UTC | permalink


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