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On one of our debian squeeze servers, we use a setup of postfix + amavis + dovecot as mailserver. Spamassassin is part of amavis.

Once a day, the process "sa-learn" is started. It is part of spamassassin, training the bayesian filter for it. A good thing, but unfortunately, it exhausts the servers ressources dramatically - the load goes up from 0.5 to 12, the server becomes unresponsive. I have to kill the sa-learn process.

What can I do about it? Is there any chance to make sa-learn behave nice? If there isn't, where can I disable sa-learn? (I did not find any cron start script - the only reference to sa-learn I found is in /usr/sbin/amavisd-new-cronjob, which I commented out with no effect.

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I had a similar issue with response time, until I found out that the SpamAssassin database requires some minimal ongoing maintenance. Are you issuing

sa-learn --force-expire

on a daily basis? It could be that a lack of maintenance has made the database unweildy and it needs to be "trimmed up a bit". Try placing it in a daily cron job and see if the response is better on the next sa-learn run.

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I don't think you'd want to disable sa-learn. I'd go this way:

  • Find out how sa-learn gets called (crontab -l, grep -r -i sa-learn /etc/*)
  • Start sa-learn with nice and monitor the load
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Thank you. But I could not find any reference to sa-learn anywhere in /etc/, unfortunately. The only reference I could grep was in /usr/sbin/amavisd-new-cronjob, commenting out did not disable sa-learn. – Steffen Müller Mar 10 '11 at 14:01
Look in /etc/cron.daily. It may be called from an sa-update script – Alex Mar 25 '11 at 17:45

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