Yesterday’s update to Mac OS X Tiger (now at version 10.4.1) broke compatibility with SpamSieve. Michael Tsai, the SpamSieve developer, had a 2.3.1 update ready to roll the same day to fix the problem.
I tried this software last year and was very impressed with it but when my trial period expired I decided not to purchase a license because I didn’t feel confident about spending $25 on something that relied on undocumented features of the operating system. It seems though that Michael Tsai will stay on top of things, so he’s now got my confidence and my $25.
If you get a lot of spam I recommend that you try SpamSieve now. It has a liberal 30 day trial period. I think it’s the number one anti-spam solution on the Mac. Since I began my trial it’s filtered 35,000 good messages, 6,000 spam messages, and it’s maintained a 99.3% accuracy rating (which improves every day).
The other thing which may not be immediately clear is that SpamSieve is good for filtering out any mail that you don’t want to see, not just spam in the strict sense of "unsolicited commercial mail". For example, I’ve used it to filter out bounce messages that I don’t want to read, "out of office" autoreplies, and those horrible challenge-response messages sent by other anti-spam products.
I think this latter class of messages is just as bad as the spam that it tries to combat; it places a burden on legitimate senders while spammers simply ignore it and go about their merry business. This is what I wrote about the subject back in 2003 and the situation hasn’t changed:
I feel that challenge-response anti-spam mechanisms are an inappropriate means for dealing with the spam problem, and that modern mail clients such as Apple’s Mail offer a more elegant and appropriate response to the situation. People should be using anti-spam technology that makes life more difficult for spammers, and not for legitimate users.
It’s a system that I won’t buy into — and you shouldn’t either — and so all such challenge messages get automatically routed to the trash. If you respond to a challenge-response system then you implicitly indicate that you are prepared to make sending email into a manual two-step process. By accepting the system you encourage its further adoption. Would you like to live in a world where every single message you sent was met with a challenge?