First, congratulations to Gene Wilburn for two years of his
"Linux for Newbies" column. This month's installment centers on
procmail, a traditional Unix mail-sorting tool that offers a lot of
power and flexibility in terms of contextually appropriate mail
clients. This tutorial explains getting mail down to a system with
fetchmail, and enough procmail to handle basic sorting and some
specialized actions, like storing messages in dated folders.
"Filtering allows us to set up rules or recipes that
send mailing list postings to special folders, put high-priority
correspondents into a "readmefirst" folder, and perhaps route all
other mail into a "readlater" folder that can be scanned
occasionally for anything important. Doing even this much can
considerably reduce the amount of time it takes to manually process
Proprietary email readers frequently offer built-in filtering
rules--Eudora Pro for Windows and Macintosh has nice ones and even
Pine has some filtering capabilities. These work well enough within
a simple context, but if you switch operating systems regularly,
work from different computers, or need advanced filtering, a
proprietary solution may fall short of your needs.
The most effective method of filtering email is to intercept it
before it is actually delivered and place your filtering rules
there. Linux offers a superb mechanism for doing this--a program
called procmail. Procmail, created by Stephen R. van den Berg, is
the focus of this Newbies session."
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