Award to Julian Field of the University of Southampton for his work in creating,
developing, and supporting MailScanner, the highly respected e-mail security
system. The award is made annually to give particular recognition to the
development of free and open source software in the UK. As well as a GBP 500
cash prize, Julian wins an expenses-paid trip to the Open Source Convention in
Portland, OR, USA, thanks to support from O'Reilly, organisers of the convention
and Gold Sponsors of the Open Source Award.
MailScanner is a complete e-mail security system designed for use on UNIX/Linux
e-mail gateways. It protects e-mail client packages such as Outlook, Outlook
Express and Eudora against viruses and can detect almost all spam. With e-mail
viruses costing businesses millions of pounds every year and spam accounting for
around 60% of all e-mail traffic, MailScanner is the front line of defence at
more than 20,000 sites.
MailScanner has been in continuous development for almost four years. In that
time it has grown from a simple virus scanner with 1200 lines of code to a
complete email security and anti-spam system of over 30,000 lines. It supports
the use of any combination of 20 different anti-virus engines to give the best
possible coverage - commercial e-mail systems rely on one or two. It
incorporates SpamAssassin, widely regarded as the best anti-spam engine
available, and over 800 heuristic spam-detection rules.
Robustness and reliability are of great importance in any software system that
handles e-mail, where legitimate content is often transient and
business-critical. If an email message is destroyed in transmission, vital
information can vanish without anyone noticing. Strenuous efforts have been
made in designing and developing MailScanner to ensure that there is no chance
of e-mail messages being lost due to failure of any part of the software.
MailScanner is distributed free under the GNU General Public License, as used
for a lot of free and open source software. Julian has adopted this approach to
maintain direct contact with users. When a new feature is suggested, he is able
to gauge very quickly how useful this would be to the majority of users. Having
full access to the source code, users can and do suggest fixes when reporting
bugs or undesirable behaviour.
MailScanner has been deployed in over 60 countries, and is used for scanning
mail destined for all seven continents (even Antarctica). It scans over 5
billion messages per week for numerous government departments, corporations,
non-profit organisations and educational institutions. It is used by large ISPs
and mobile telephone companies in the UK and Europe, along with the largest
space agency. It is now downloaded over 20,000 times each month, a total of
more than 250,000 downloads.
The judges noted as "Highly Commended" the Enterprise Groupware System developed
by Jake Stride while a student at Newcastle University. Jake, now at Warwick
University, wins a GBP 100 book prize, also donated by O'Reilly, and a GBP 100
The UKUUG (the UK's Unix and open systems User Group) is a non-profit
organisation and technical forum for the advocacy of Unix and Unix-like
operating systems, the promotion of open-source software, and the advancement of
open programming standards and networking protocols.