There’s an old saying, “Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?” Since the majority of people no longer work with livestock, this saying has developed sexist undertones, but the idea behind it still has merit. And in the software world there are a number of places where you can get what you need for free, due to the generosity and hard-work of programmers. You may not be able to find freeware for every need you have, but you can certainly save some serious coin, and stop large software companies from milking your wallet or handbag.

SpamBayes is just one of these free solutions. (Ja, kostenlos!) For my purposes, SpamBayes works as well, if not better than the commercial SpamBully, which was reviewed earlier. Honestly, although I appreciate the sadism that SpamBully offers, I do not need to punish the ISPs of those who send me spam. What I truly need is something that removes spam at the desktop level and does it with few false positives.

Here’s what SpamBayes has to contend with:

  • My email address is published on a publicly-available website
  • I receive approximately 20 pieces of spam a day, including phishing schemes and scams.

SpamBayes integrates with Microsoft Outlook and many other POP and IMAP clients, including Eudora, if you have the inclination to set it up. Upon installation SpamBayes asks to be trained as to which emails are good and which are spam. I identified my inbox as good and my spam folder as spam — simple enough. From there, SpamBayes set itself up in my Outlook toolbar.

When email comes in, SpamBayes looks at it and decides whether it’s Good, Spam or Probably Junk — during installation SpamBayes sets up two folders in Outlook named Spam or Probably Junk.

If SpamBayes leaves a piece of email that is spam in my inbox, I click on the Delete as Spam in the SpamBayes toolbar and the email disappears into my Spam folder. If SpamBayes incorrectly identifies Good email as Spam or Probably Junk, I hit the Recover from Spam button in the SpamBayes toolbar (n.b. SpamBayes uses conditional menus and Recover from Spam button appears when the user is looking in the Spam or Probably Junk folders). SpamBayes remembers what you teach it, through the use of these buttons, and quickly does a better job of identifying spam.

After a while, I became more comfortable with SpamBayes and I went into the settings and changed the sensitivity of SpamBayes identification process, lowering the bar from the default settings by 10%.

Unlike SpamBully, SpamBayes does not show me all kinds of pretty charts about from where and how much spam is coming. But, SpamBayes will tackle and filter spam on startup of Outlook. I can start up Outlook and SpamBayes will pluck away at the new spam I have in my inbox. (SpamBayes even allows the user to change the time it waits between processing messages and the time it waits before it begins to process messages.)

I am going to deploy SpamBayes on the workstations near me and definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an free antispam solution.