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Words of Encouragement October 18, 2005

Posted by Carthik in ubuntu.

Thank you, kind readers, for the multitude of mail you have sent me egging me on, and keeping me smiling. I really appreciate the emails you have sent me, including the one that said this blog is too “thin” for people with widescreens. My response in that case is that if this were not a wordpress.com blog, I would have used a relative-width theme 🙂

I know this is a pathetic excuse for not having written anything in the past day. My goal was and is to write at least one post a day. I have done this so far except for 2, or maybe 3 breaks. Right now, life takes an upper hand but things will be back to normal soon enough.

I decided to start reading email “like a man” – that is – with postfix + fetchmail + procmail + spamassassin + mutt. Now that is a whole lot of things to chain together and tweak, and I am having a whale of a time. At the end of it all, I will be able to show email who’s boss. (Evolution was bossing me around till now – “no, you can’t do that” or “hey! that’s not how it is done, you have to tie your shoelaces this way!” and so on). Till that gets done, and till a rsync-over-ssh backup script of mine gets done, things will be just a little slow. Most of it is over.

Don’t you all just LOVE Breezy? I loved it so much I decided to reinstall everything from scratch, though it was not neccessary. I can do that without disrupting anything since my /home directory is on a different partition. Nothing is as exciting as setting up a computer exactly the way you want it! Forgive me if I indulge in the excitement of things that are new and shiny!


1. 1stpixel - October 18, 2005

I’m personally using ubuntu since 4.x and am amazed of the support one can get. Especially when ur a dozer 🙂
i like the way it evolves, and how fast it advances.

I don’t use it on a daily base, not because i don’t like it, but the lack for specific tasks / programs is keeping me ‘bundled’ with windoze . Nothing can beat the system that you’ve been growing with. Apart from that i liek the difference of ubuntu / linux. I personally prefer the kleen look of the UI in opposite to KDE *x like Knoppix, suse etc.pp with their cluttered intefface and ‘i have more’ styled k-menu, which i like to call “startmenu”, if you know ehat i mean 🙂

one thing of your post makes me wanna try more with my Breezy: Is there an easy way to do what you tell us here: > ?

nice theme btw. 🙂
-> http://www.pixelficker.com

2. Michael Schurter - October 18, 2005

I have never understood why people chain together so many different e-mail utilities. Reading through various open source mailing lists and planets (like planet.debian.org), I hear people whining or applauding their particular chain of e-mail utilities.

I’m left wondering why? Is there something Mozilla Thunderbird can’t do?

3. robotgeek - October 18, 2005

Because choice is a good thing. Yes, it does lead to duplication of effort, but sometimes…having a different application to do the same thing has save my ass!

4. Graham Binns - October 18, 2005

There are only two things stopping me from doing a clean install of Breezy on my (Hoary) system at the moment:

1: VMWare, which I have installed for the sake of just a couple of applications, won’t run with the kernel that Breezy ships with.

2: The / partition on my main HDD is behaving oddly, giving me all sorts of errors. I’m currently using a spare HDD as my /, since my /home partition is behaving perfectly (it’s on the same disk as the hosed partition and I haven’t had the guts to fsck it yet to see if the problems have spread).

Once I’m sure that the disk’s okay and VMWare release an update for the latest kernels I’ll be upgrading quicker than a very quick thing.

5. ubuntonista - October 18, 2005


As to why one uses a chain of applications or programs – each of the programs is designed to do one thing right. This is the Unix way of doing things, where you have applications, which are like tools in a toolbox, which you then chain together to get the desired effect.

I was not happy with the thunderbird/evolution way of doing things. With procmail, for example, I can set up filters and move mail to the right mailboxes, reducing the effort involved in organizing mail on a day to day basis. Spamassassin has its obvious benefits. Mutt is a commandline mail user agent (mail reader) and it very fast, uses very little memory, and has loads of keyboard shortcuts. The shortcuts, and the behavior in general is very highly configurable, making it more attractive that Thunderbird or Evolution. I have had several very specific issues with both evolution and thunderbird over the past 2 years, some of which are not going to change soon.

The best part of the exercise I am involved in is that I know exactly how mail is delivered and processed on the system – making it easier to manage and archive mail. WIth evolution and thunderbird, I never got to know what format the mailbox uses, where it is, and how to back it up. I did know how to backup after some research, but they all have their quirks, and a tendency to use their own specific methods, making migration difficult for example. Once I have my system setup, I can use thunderbird as a reader too, by just pointing it at the right directory holding all my mail. So I only see benefits in the long run for what involves a day’s work to set up.

Hope this clears up a few things.

6. Shot - October 19, 2005

Drop the SpamAssassin in favor of Bogofilter. Or at least give Bogofilter a try.

My default setup is to set the thresholds at 0.5 and 0.9 (i.e., everything below 50% probability of being spam is ham, everything above 90% is spam).

I then let ham pass to the proper mailbox, move spam to spam mailbox (and wade through it once a week to find any possible false positives). The trick is with unsure (the ones with 50-90% probability of being spam). I *copy* them to ‘unsure’ and treat them otherwise as ham. Then I delete them from where they end up (if they’re spam) and periodically go to unsure to train Bogofilter (this was spam and that was ham).

It took me about two weeks to train Bogofilter properly (during these I checked spam mailbox more often, as there were more false positives) but now I’m absolutely sold on it. Bogofilter filters out 1100 spams weekly, I see no false positives (as I’m filtering out only if there’s >90% probability that it’s spam), no false negatives, and around ten times in a week Bogofilter classifies some spams as unsure (i.e., in the 50-90% spamicity range), so I train it on them.

I never managed to make SpamAssassin (+ SpamBayes) even close to this efficiency.

7. Dan Coulter - October 19, 2005

I just installed Breezy yesterday. At first I tried to upgrade, but that failed pretty badly. Everything was in place, and it’d load Gnome, but half the programs wouldn’t work. I’ve never successfully upgraded Ubuntu (tried for two versions now). Is there a trick to it? I still have a laptop on Hoary, so any tips you could give would be helpful. This being said, I love Breezy so far on the computer that I installed from scratch.

8. ubuntonista - October 19, 2005

The trick, Dan, is to deviate as little as possible from the repositories provided by Ubuntu. I think using packages from the backports considerably increases the number of problems you can expect during upgrades.

9. keith - October 21, 2005

Was quite alarmed to notice the familiar-from-bumper-stickers ‘W’ icon for your feed in my aggregator earlier, but relieved when I discovered it was just the logo for WordPress. Don’t have a problem with all Republicans, just the proud ones, if that makes any sense. Keep on rockin’. 🙂

10. porno sikiş - September 27, 2010

Because choice is a good thing. Yes, it does lead to duplication of effort, but sometimes…having a different application to do the same thing has save my ass!

11. sex sikiş - September 28, 2010

The trick, Dan, is to deviate as little as possible from the repositories provided by Ubuntu. I think using packages from the backports considerably increases the number of problems you can expect during upgrades.

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