Procmail Links

To keep the Procmail FAQ at a manageable size, I've opted to list only the most central web links in the FAQ itself. This page, then, is more of a kitchen-sink collection.

The URL of this page is and it is mirrored at the following sites:

North America

Please use a mirror if you can.

Table of Contents

You will also doubtlessly find a few broken links. Please mail me about those so I can fix them, for the surfing pleasure of coming generations.

Version information:
$Id: links.prep,v 1.279 2001/04/03 06:39:19 era Exp $
The version history details recent developments

Central information

Just to keep this link collection reasonably self-contained, here is a fleshed-out repeat of the central links mentioned in the FAQ itself.

I also try to include links to "competing" link collections. I do not wish to hijack information from other sites and thus I hope you will check out what these other collections have to offer. Please mail me if you have links to other collections you think I should include.

Other Procmail Link Collections

So far, only a handful. Please mail me if you learn about others.
The official Procmail site will naturally have a collection of related links (small but focused; I believe all of them are also in this collection, though).
Infinite Ink's Procmail Page
This is a good switchboard site with links to all sorts of Procmail-related stuff. Again, in the below listing, I have tried to avoid duplicating links which are already available from the Infinite Ink page. Check it out.
FREE's Procmail Anti-Spam Links
The Open Directory Project's matches on Procmail constitute a good virtual link collection. The bulk of it is in their Procmail category.
Yahoo has a similar directory, but it's IMHO not as well maintained. Still, try a search on "Procmail".

You can probably find some other useful sites by starting with this canned Alta Vista search for "procmail".
This merely attempts to strip out sites which have archives of the Procmail mailing list and/or otherwise a lot of Procmail material, on the theory that if you've looked around a little bit you will already have seen the stuff they can offer. What is left then is a very disparate collection of lone Procmail-related pages (presently, some 3,000 hits).
In and of itself, this is not particularly useful; you should refine the search to suit your needs before you actually use it.
(Of course, in many situations, the mailing list archives contain exactly the stuff you're looking for. This one is primarily useful if you've been reading the Procmail mailing list yourself and are looking for information you know is not in the archives. I managed to find a couple of the Rich and Famous pages and a few of the tutorials using variants of this. Caveat Utilitor: A lot of the stuff you find will be very old.)

Procmail Tutorials

There are several good tutorials for Unix newbies, although many of them are more or less tied to the site where they were written. For the most part, these tutorials do not presuppose a lot of knowledge about Unix or mail handling on Unix.

None of the material in the "howto" section is exactly rocket science, either -- let's just say it contains a lot less of this "pause now if your head hurts already" nonsense.

If you're only interested in spam filtering, check out the spam-fighting section below instead.

See also the next section, "Pearls from the Mailing List", for some practical examples of how to accomplish slightly tricky things with Procmail.

The Procmail pages in the "Rich and Famous" section (below) also contain suitable working examples, including several approaches to refusing junk mail, vacation recipes, ftp-by-mail servers, etc.

The Mini-FAQ basically assumes you are somewhat familiar with the manuals and with "normal" stuff people do with Procmail. It does have an introductory section, though, and some tips for debugging your recipes.

Pearls from the Mailing List

Here's a collection of pointers to good articles in the on-line archives of the Procmail mailing list.

Many of these are answers to recurring questions, but above all, all of them should be worth a look simply because they are good examples of coding style and problem solving. (Dsiclaimer: Okay, maybe not my own :-)

The archive server doesn't always manage to find all messages in a thread, so if you get the feeling you are missing part of the picture, you may want to dive up to the "Thread Index" for the month you are looking at, and look for related messages.

MATCH grabbing
This is a useful trick to add to your toolbox. Frequently, people use something like SUBJECT=`formail -XSubject:` when they would not need to call an external program at all. It's a simple optimization, although understanding the syntax is a bit challenging if you haven't worked a lot with Procmail's advanced constructs.
The FAQ has a short aside about this topic but you might want to look at the following treatment of the subject from the mailing list: (but do read the entire thread)
Forwarding to a pager
One of David Tamkin's classics; his pager forwarding recipe. (You might also want to look at which is about chunking a long message into shorter pieces for a pager. Another thread is at with some additional ideas about chunking messages. The archive missed some follow-ups; look at the threaded index for cues. Also check out the thread "Condition with BODY length?")
How to reply with a copy of the headers you are replying to
Another pearl by David: a sed script for sending bounces which include the headers of the bounced message (version 1 and version 2)
Counting the number of recipients
A frequently wanted item from the archives is the Canonical Recipe for Counting the Number of Recipients. This is trickier than it seems at first because you have to use Resent- headers if they are present, and try to parse out the actual addresses from each line. This version was mostly hashed out by David Tamkin and Philip Guenther. A summarized version is at
Keeping a list of spammers (or other addresses) in a file
Another one from the archives, on how to keep your spammers list in an external file which Procmail reads (by yours truly, no less :^):
Here's a slightly different tack on the same topic: -- this is more about keeping stuff in lists than about spammers.
And here's a posting specifically about killfiling mail from certain people -- not particularly spammers:
Sending a periodic notification about new mail
And here's a thread where David Tamkin and Bennett Todd develop a method for sending a notification when there's new mail, but only send one notification per day (or whatever period you choose): (read the follow-ups, too -- notice this one, by Rik Kabel, as well.)
Trimming signatures
David Tamkin's take on trimming long .signature blocks: ... and an older sketch by yours truly:

There's an old archive file called "Best of the Procmail List" which is still available from the Procmail distribution sites. Jari's Procmail Tips page started out as a condensed (and later, expanded :-) version of that file.

Procmail Applications

This section includes some good examples of more-complicated mail processing systems and library files. Many of these are systems you can install and use without delving into the details of how they work or even necessarily learning how to use Procmail on its own.

Again, some of the "Rich and Famous" pages below would fit in this category, too.

Alan Stebbens' Procmail library
This is a collection of "jigsaw pieces" -- smallish Procmail scriptlets -- for building an advanced mail handling system. Just install the whole package and use the parts you want; the examples include an autoresponder and an "ftp by mail" system.
You can get it by e-mail from Alan's Mailer Daemon at [email protected] (use the Subject line "send procmail library" -- without the quotes, of course) or get a mirrored copy from the "Procmail Mirror Cupboard" on Xoom.
Jari Aalto's Procmail library
Like the previous item, this contains a number of small plug-in functions you can call from your own scripts. Included are a MIME attachment killer/extractor, an autoresponder which requires the correspondent to know a secret cookie before it will respond, a parser for different kinds of dates, and a lot more.
The primary location for this is now
This must be the prime example of a Procmail application in widespread use. It is a mailing list server (a la Listproc and Majordomo) written entirely in the form of Procmail scripts.
Available from the main Procmail site and mirrors.
Here's a copy of the INTRO file. You can find more information in the SmartList distribution. You'll also want to check out the SmartList FAQ which is now maintained by Peter Hartzler.
Procmail with Perl embedded
This is a somewhat experimental offering by Eli the Bearded.
Available from

Spam-Fighting Tools

Procmail makes for a very nice framework for filtering spam, although your provider should also offer other front-line defenses such as total blocking of all connections from known spam factories.

If you are merely looking for a way to put Procmail to use for blocking unwanted mail, it's probably best to simply download one of the prepackaged solutions listed here.

Check out the link to Leah Roberts' link site above. Most of the below sites are listed there, and some other useful ones as well.

Net Abuse / Spam-Fighting Resources

The following links don't necessarily have a lot with Procmail to do, but may be useful to you if you are looking for more information about spam, or filtering lists you can use, etc

Procmail Utilities

This section has links to programs which are not necessary for operating Procmail but which can be helpful in configuring Procmail, writing advanced scripts, diagnosing problems in your setup, and other associated chores.

This listing is not nearly exhaustive, and is somewhat likely to contain broken links at any given time. A good place to look for Procmail-related utilities is Freshmeat.

Procmail Pages of the Rich and Famous

As a rule, these pages contain both some sort of short introduction to Procmail and some example snippets from the authors' Procmail recipes.

Eli the Bearded
Various interesting stuff, mostly to keep unwelcome stuff out (not just spam, though)
Barry Twycross
Another really elaborate live .procmailrc with some nifty header handling (thanks to Eli for the pointer)
Mike Rose
Several modular example .rc files (thanks to Simeon)
Cameron Laird
Worth checking out for the copy of Craig Johnston's .procmailrc alone, with more to come. And of course, there's this magazine article about Procmail, and the MTA comparison.
Roman Czyborra (in German)
Automatic Quoted-Printable decoding, some examples, and some good texts about why to use Procmail in the first place
Felix von Leitner
Live .procmailrc (including more umlauts as well as PGP attachment handing), and a little bashing of elm's pathetic filter :-)
Sven Guckes
Another live .procmailrc with some interesting features; note the strong similarities with the previous one (it's not clear to me who's borrowing from whom, but you might want to compare them just for fun)
Jari Aalto
Jari's Procmail tips page is also available in a text-only version; this is a vast and sometimes slightly verbose collection of bits and pieces of Procmail information.
Jari's Procmail library contains various parts you can plug into your own recipes.
Jari's University account is being closed but his stuff lingers on. For the time being at least, there is a mirror of Jari's ftp directory (not just the Procmail parts) at
Christopher Lindsey
Chris has a wishlist for Procmail bug fixes and new features and a budding patch collection
Timothy Luoma
Notes about Procmail on NeXTStep/OpenStep and a My Deja script
... and yours truly :-)
Procmail debugging tips
Moronic Mail Responders
(No! Don't click that link!)

Tangential Information

Here's where I try to include other relevant stuff about mail handling in general. Sendmail and spam filtering are two obvious picks of topics, but if you have other relevant links you think would fit here, please don't hesitate to mail me with them.

Spam, or unsolicited bulk e-mail, is an ubiquitous problem on today's Internet and apparently one of the foremost reasons people get interested in using Procmail. Other sections on this page contain spam-related material (notably the Spam-Fighting Tools section under Applications above).

Introductory Material

If everything else you read here is <insert favorite language you do not understand here> to you, the following might help.

Related Internet RFC:s

Links are to ISI's ftp RFC archive, with the secondary pointing to Institut Pasteur's repository in France. has a listing of other RFC repositories if neither of the ones listed here seems to work.

Other Assorted Information

Here are links to other topics which might be of interest to the broad Procmail-using public.

Many of the below documents are Usenet FAQs; when available, I've included a pointer to a primary site, but otherwise, I've used pointers to the WWW FAQ archives at (USA) and (the Netherlands) -- you should primarily use the one closer to you. If you are comfortable retreiving the FAQs by ftp instead, by all means use that and get them from your closest RTFM mirror.
(In Internet topology, Australia and the Far East are generally closer to the US than to Europe. As for Africa and the Antarctic, I really don't know, but I'd guess users from those continents, too, had better try the US sites first. YMMV.)

Other than FAQs, this is mostly link collections of all sorts. If you find one that you think should be listed here, let me know.

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