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This will put anti-virus protection at the network gateway to offer a greater degree of protection at the server, rather than relying solely on detection at the desktop. With the majority of viruses hitting the network through the mail system, and new strains appearing that infect just by opening an e-mail, removal before delivery to the user promises to offer better overall protection.
Sendmail is primarily an open source suite of programs for handling e-mail but the company also provides a commercial version. Any new versions are first floated on the Internet for free download and testing before being packaged with installation tools and services for sale to businesses.
Greg Olson, executive vice-president of business development at Sendmail, said the open source route is a valuable catalyst for innovation. "We find this is the best method for ensuring the best quality product for our business customers," he explained.
"Most suppliers scatter betas among their customers but getting feedback is like pulling teeth. Within hours of releasing our software on the Internet, it is downloaded by development fanatics who give it a good testing. Within 24 hours we start to get meaningful feedback about any problems. This means that when we are ready to go to market the business user gets a rock-solid version."
Although Olson does not see Microsoft Exchange as a direct competitor, its mail management features overlap. "Not everyone needs the functionality of Exchange and Outlook, and managing the environment costs $30-$40 per seat per month," he said. "Sendmail can be put online at about a 10th of this cost and, even with POP and IMap capabilities, it is only about a fifth of the cost."