Misplaced Caution About Open-Source Anti-Spam?

News Analysis: Despite advantages in price (it's hard to beat free) and sometimes greater capabilities, many companies are still reluctant to use anything but commercial anti-spam software.

Given that the new open-source approaches to spam filtering are capable of virtually eliminating unwanted e-mail and preserving the good stuff, why do many companies continue to struggle with spam?

Jonathan Zdziarski, the developer of the DSPAM open-source Bayesian spam blocker, believes IT departments of most small- to medium-sized businesses are afraid to try free programs or meet resistance from higher-level company executives.

/zimages/6/28571.gifAnti-spam vendors defend SMTP gateway. Click here to read more.

"Most mid-sized companies just pull an appliance off the shelf," he said, noting there are "a million anti-spam companies out there with boxes loaded with a hodgepodge" of solutions. "Thats one of the reasons these businesses, if you ask them, are convinced spam filtering is ineffective … A lot of these companies are running technology thats five to seven years old."

Some popular, commercially-distributed solutions say they employ Bayesian filters. When used alone, as in DSPAM and other similar program, these filters use statistical analysis to yield incredibly accurate spam control.

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