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O'Reilly: Order from Chaos with Procmail

Dec 17, 2000, 18:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Mullett)

"Twenty years ago, people used the number of phone calls they made in a day as a metric of how connected they were. Nowadays, people use the amount of email they receive each day. The truth about email, however, is that not all of it deserves equal time. Much of it might be email you don't want to see at all, but have agreed to receive in order to register on some company's Web site. Or maybe you receive it because, unbeknownst to you, someone sold your name and address. And a good bit of your email probably comes from legitimate discussion or workgroup-mailing lists that don't demand immediate attention."

"The amount of attention you give to any email message is probably inversely proportional to the number of recipients. For example, you'd pay the least attention to messages from brainless spammers and nebulous corporate administrativia (most of which you'd probably delete), and devote most of your attention to email sent to you alone, with various discussion and workgroups lists falling somewhere in between."

"Procmail brings order to the chaos of your inbox, and it does much more. Procmail, and the cluster of utilities associated with it, can take one or more actions on individual email messages based on the content of the headers or the body, or the size of the message. Once a specified condition is met, Procmail can file the email in a local mailbox (which could be /dev/null, effectively deleting it), forward it to another address, or pipe it as input to another command. Procmail can help manage your email in infinite ways."

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