POPFile v0.22.0 released, major improvements abound

POPFile rocks! Now all I have to do is install this upgrade! I am not quite sure if I have all the needed perl modules for 0.22.0 but if not, its a quick download, Makefile.PL and install. I am excited in seeing the speed improvements, cleaner UI, and the support for NNTP! Once I have it installed I will have a full report on upgrading to 0.22.0 on OS X, as I have done in the past.
This version consists of a major update to v0.21.0 with many improvements and bug fixes:

1. History in database

We've finally done away with the old method of keeping the message history in a single directory full of files (which was frankly flaky and hard to maintain). Messages are now placed in subdirectories with no more than 256 per directory. History is now moved it into the database along with all the other information that POPFile uses.

This change brings two benefits: firstly it's a lot faster than previous versions because we can rely on the SQL database to do searching and sorting for us; secondly, it brings extra flexibility and we now have additional columns available in the history (we now have two time values (the date/time the message was received by POPFile and the date/time in the message header), the From, To, Cc and Subject headers and message size).

2. Switch UI to HTML templates

Back in the mists of POPFile time I grafted an HTML interface onto my little Perl script and POPFile was born. Unfortunately that HTML interface had grown into thousands of lines of ugly Perl and HTML interwined. This release completely separates out the HTML from the Perl.

This has a number of advantages: firstly, POPFile's code is easier to maintain because it's simpler; secondly, skinning POPFile can now take advantage of the full power of HTML and not just a limited set of classes and lastly it's made it easy to expand the UI, which brings us to...

3. UI improvements

The History page is redesigned to be cleaner and support multiple, configurable columns (From, To, Cc, Arrived Date, Message Date, Subject, etc.). Filtering options have been expanded. The page now shows the total number of messages and the line break showing when different download sessions occurred.

Many people will notice that the 'unmagnetized' filter has been removed; this is because we've added an 'Invert' option that allows inversion of any search or filter. Now it's possible to filter on 'not spam', for example. To filter on unmagnetized messages select magnetized and Invert.

Buckets page has been simplified to make it clearer. The confusing accuracy graph has been removed and unclassified messages are now correctly counted in total messages and total errors. The old color picker is replaced with a simple drop down.

The Advanced page now shows which parameters have been changed from the default. If a parameter has a non-default value then its name is bolded.

Many of the skins had minor improvements. And we have two new skins:

The first, 'osx' gives you a bit of the Mac feel.

As part of the UI improvement a new skin called 'oceanblue' has been added that demonstrates how the UI for POPFile can be changed dramatically with the new skinning scheme using only a few files.

4. Anti-spam improvements

The mail parsing engine has been updated to deal with the latest spammer trickery: notably the Flex Hex trick which you can read about in The Spammers' Compendium: http://www.jgc.org/tsc/

5. Support for SMTP and NNTP

For a long time we've had experimental support for two new protocols: SMTP (often used for incoming email) and NNTP (most commonly used for Usenet-style news). They are no longer experimental and are now distributed with POPFile. The SMTP and NNTP modules are disabled by default but can be enabled on the Advanced page.

The SMTP module is designed to act as a front-end for a real SMTP server accepting messages and proxying them into a single SMTP server after performing classification. The NNTP module acts as a proxy between your News client and News server performing classification on articles.

6. Experimental support for IMAP

The new experimental IMAP module is not included in the default distribution.

The IMAP module is not a proxy, but acts as a service which will regularily check an IMAP server for new messages, classifies them and then moves them into IMAP folders that correspond to your buckets. Reclassification can be done outside the POPFile user interface simply by moving messages between folders on the IMAP server.

IMAP module users should watch out about upsetting their ISP if they have a very large number of buckets. The IMAP module will keep a connection open for each folder you monitor. This has caused a complaint from at least one ISP to a user with an extrememly large number of buckets.

7. XML-RPC interface

For some time we've had an experimental external interface to POPFile through XML-RPC. For the first time we are shipping this XML-RPC component, though it is disabled by default. If it is enabled an external program written in many different programming languages can communicate with POPFile to use its services.

8. Support for APOP, SSL and SOCKS

The POP3 proxy has new support for the APOP authentication method. To use APOP authentication you change the POP3 server string in your email client from 'host:username' to 'host:username:apop'.

SSL support is added for all proxies. POPFile can now establish secure connections to servers. To use change the POP3 server string in your email client from 'host:username' to 'host:username:ssl'. POPFile does not accept SSL connections, but will establish connections to secure servers.

SOCKS proxying is added to all proxies. To configure the host and port to use go to the Configuration tab and set it for the appropriate proxy. Outbound proxy connections will go via the SOCKS server specified.

The Windows installer DOES NOT include the components necessary for SSL support. If you need SSL support on Windows YOU MUST download the Perl SSL components as follows:


9. Transparent POP3 Proxying

v0.22.0 includes support for transparent proxying of POP3 connections where the destination POP3 server is configured in POPFile and the mail client talks to POPFile without using the special host:user syntax for the hostname.

This is most useful in a small office environment with a dedicated POP3 server where POPFile can act as a front end for the real POP3 server and by installing it on the same machine as the POP3 server there's no need to change mail client settings. To use this mode set the host and port of the real POP3 server on POPFile's Security tab in the SPA/AUTH settings.

POPFile requires a number of Perl modules that are available from CPAN. New in v0.22.0 are the need for the following:


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