Kevin A. McGrail > Mail-SpamAssassin > sa-compile


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sa-compile - compile SpamAssassin ruleset into native code


sa-compile [options]


  --list                        Output base string list to STDOUT
  --sudo                        Use 'sudo' for privilege escalation
  --keep-tmps                   Keep temporary files instead of deleting
  -C path, --configpath=path, --config-file=path
                                Path to standard configuration dir
  -p prefs, --prefspath=file, --prefs-file=file
                                Set user preferences file
  --siteconfigpath=path         Path for site configs
                                (default: /etc/mail/spamassassin)
  --updatedir=path              Directory to place updates
          (default: @@LOCAL_STATE_DIR@@/compiled/<perlversion>/@@VERSION@@)
  --cf='config line'            Additional line of configuration
  -D, --debug [area=n,...]      Print debugging messages
  -V, --version                 Print version
  -h, --help                    Print usage message


sa-compile uses re2c to compile the site-wide parts of the SpamAssassin ruleset. No part of user_prefs or any files included from user_prefs can be built into the compiled set.

This compiled set is then used by the Mail::SpamAssassin::Plugin::Rule2XSBody plugin to speed up SpamAssassin's operation, where possible, and when that plugin is loaded.

re2c can match strings much faster than perl code, by constructing a DFA to match many simple strings in parallel, and compiling that to native object code. Not all SpamAssassin rules are amenable to this conversion, however.

This requires re2c (see, and the C compiler used to build Perl XS modules, be installed.

Note that running this, and creating a compiled ruleset, will have no effect on SpamAssassin scanning speeds unless you also edit your v320.pre file and ensure this line is uncommented:

  loadplugin Mail::SpamAssassin::Plugin::Rule2XSBody

Additionally, "sa-compile" will not restart "spamd" or otherwise cause a scanner to reload the now-compiled ruleset automatically.



Output the extracted base strings to STDOUT, instead of generating the C extension code.


Use sudo(8) to run code as 'root' when writing files to the compiled-rules storage area (which is @@LOCAL_STATE_DIR@@/compiled/@@PERL_MAJOR_VER@@/@@VERSION@@ by default).


Produce less diagnostic output. Errors will still be displayed.


Keep temporary files after the script completes, instead of deleting them.

-C path, --configpath=path, --config-file=path

Use the specified path for locating the distributed configuration files. Ignore the default directories (usually /usr/share/spamassassin or similar).


Use the specified path for locating site-specific configuration files. Ignore the default directories (usually /etc/mail/spamassassin or similar).


By default, sa-compile will use the system-wide rules update directory:


If the updates should be stored in another location, specify it here.

Note that use of this option is not recommended; if sa-compile is placing the compiled rules the wrong directory, you probably need to rebuild SpamAssassin with different Makefile.PL arguments, instead of overriding sa-compile's runtime behaviour.

--cf='config line'

Add additional lines of configuration directly from the command-line, parsed after the configuration files are read. Multiple --cf arguments can be used, and each will be considered a separate line of configuration.

-p prefs, --prefspath=prefs, --prefs-file=prefs

Read user score preferences from prefs (usually $HOME/.spamassassin/user_prefs) .

-D [area,...], --debug [area,...]

Produce debugging output. If no areas are listed, all debugging information is printed. Diagnostic output can also be enabled for each area individually; area is the area of the code to instrument.

For more information about which areas (also known as channels) are available, please see the documentation at

-h, --help

Print help message and exit.

-V, --version

Print sa-compile version and exit.


Mail::SpamAssassin(3) spamassassin(1) spamd(1)


Mail::SpamAssassin re2c Mail::SpamAssassin::Plugin::Rule2XSBody


See <>


The Apache SpamAssassin(tm) Project <>


SpamAssassin is distributed under the Apache License, Version 2.0, as described in the file LICENSE included with the distribution.

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