procmail [-ptoY] [-f fromwhom] [parameter=value | rcfile] ... procmail [-toY] [-f fromwhom] [-a argument] -d recipient ... procmail [-ptY] -m [parameter=value] ... rcfile [argument] ... procmail -v
Procmail should be invoked automatically over the .forward file mechanism as soon as mail arrives. Alternatively, when installed by a system administrator, it can be invoked from within the mailer immediately. When invoked, it first sets some environment variables to default values, reads the mail message from stdin until an EOF, separates the body from the header, and then, if no command line arguments are present, it starts to look for a file named $HOME/.procmailrc. According to the processing recipes in this file, the mail message that just arrived gets distributed into the right folder (and more). If no rcfile is found, or processing of the rcfile falls off the end, procmail will store the mail in the default system mailbox.
If no rcfiles and no -p have been specified on the command line, procmail will, prior to reading $HOME/.procmailrc, interpret commands from /etc/procmailrc (if present). Care must be taken when creating /etc/procmailrc, because, if circumstances permit, it will be executed with root privileges (contrary to the $HOME/.procmailrc file of course).
If running suid root or with root privileges, procmail will be able to perform as a functionally enhanced, backwards compatible mail delivery agent.
Procmail can also be used as a general purpose mail filter, i.e. provisions have been made to enable procmail to be invoked in a special sendmail rule.
The rcfile format is described in detail in the procmailrc(5) man page.
The weighted scoring technique is described in detail in the procmailsc(5) man page.
Examples for rcfile recipes can be looked up in the procmailex(5) man page.
TERMINATE Terminate prematurely and requeue the mail. HANGUP Terminate prematurely and bounce the mail. INTERRUPT Terminate prematurely and bounce the mail. QUIT Terminate prematurely and silently lose the mail. ALARM Force a timeout (see TIMEOUT). USR1 Equivalent to a VERBOSE=off. USR2 Equivalent to a VERBOSE=on.
|-v||Procmail will print its version number, display its compile time configuration and exit.|
|-p||Preserve any old environment. Normally procmail clears the environment upon startup, except for the value of TZ. However, in any case: any default values will override any preexisting environment variables, i.e. procmail will not pay any attention to any predefined environment variables, it will happily overwrite them with its own defaults. For the list of environment variables that procmail will preset see the procmailrc(5) man page. If both -p and -m are specified, the list of preset environment variables shrinks to just: LOGNAME, HOME, SHELL, ORGMAIL and MAILDIR.|
|-t||Make procmail fail softly, i.e. if procmail cannot deliver the mail to any of the destinations you gave, the mail will not bounce, but will return to the mailqueue. Another delivery-attempt will be made at some time in the future.|
|Causes procmail to regenerate the leading `From ' line with fromwhom as the sender (instead of -f one could use the alternate and obsolete -r). If fromwhom consists merely of a single `-', then proc- mail will only update the timestamp on the `From ' line (if present, if not, it will generate a new one).|
|-o||Instead of allowing anyone to generate `From ' lines, simply override the fakes.|
|-Y||Assume traditional Berkeley mailbox format, ignore any Content-Length: fields.|
|This will set $1 to be equal to argument. It can be used to pass meta information along to procmail. This is typically done by passing along the $@x information from the sendmail mailer rule.|
|-d recipient ...|
|This turns on explicit delivery mode, delivery will be to the local user recipient. This, of course, only is possible if procmail has root privileges (or if procmail is already running with the recipient's euid and egid). Procmail will setuid to the intended recipients and delivers the mail as if it were invoked by the recipient with no arguments (i.e. if no rcfile is found, delivery is like ordinary mail). This option is incompatible with -p.|
|-m||Turns procmail into a general purpose mail filter. In this mode one rcfile must be specified on the com- mand line. After the rcfile, procmail will accept an unlimited number of arguments. If the rcfile is an absolute path starting with /etc/procmailrcs/ without backward references (i.e. the parent directory cannot be mentioned) procmail will, only if no security vio- lations are found, take on the identity of the owner of the rcfile (or symbolic link). For some advanced usage of this option you should look in the EXAMPLES section below.|
Any other arguments are presumed to be rcfile paths (either absolute, or if they start with `./' relative to the current directory; any other relative path is relative to $HOME, unless the -m option has been given, in which case all relative paths are relative to the current directory); procmail will start with the first one it finds on the command line. The following ones will only be parsed if the preceding ones have a not matching HOST-directive entry, or in case they should not exist.
If no rcfiles are specified, it looks for $HOME/.procmailrc. If not even that can be found, processing will continue according to the default settings of the environment variables and the ones specified on the command line.
Skip the rest of this EXAMPLES section unless you are a system administrator who is vaguely familiar with sendmail.cf syntax.
The -m option is typically used when procmail is called from within a rule in the sendmail.cf file. In order to be able to do this it is convenient to create an extra `procmail' mailer in your sendmail.cf file (in addition to the perhaps already present `local' mailer that starts up procmail). To create such a `procmail' mailer I'd suggest something like:
Mprocmail, P=/usr/bin/procmail, F=mSDFMhun, S=11, R=21, A=procmail -m $h $g $uThis enables you to use rules like the following (most likely in ruleset 0) to filter mail through the procmail mailer (please note the leading tab to continue the rule, and the tab to separate the comments):
R$*<@some.where>$* $#procmail $@/etc/procmailrcs/some.rc $:$firstname.lastname@example.org$2 R$*<@$*.procmail>$* $1<@$2>$3 Already filtered, map backAnd /etc/procmailrcs/some.rc could be as simple as:
:0 # sink all junk mail * ^Subject:.*junk /dev/null :0 # pass along all other mail ! -oi -f "$@"Do watch out when sending mail from within the /etc/procmailrcs/some.rc file, if you send mail to addresses which match the first rule again, you could be creating an end- less mail loop.
|/etc/passwd||to set the recipient's LOGNAME, HOME and SHELL variable defaults|
|/var/mail/$LOGNAME||system mailbox; both the system mailbox and the immediate directory it is in will be created everytime procmail starts and either one is not present|
|/etc/procmailrc||initial global rcfile|
|/etc/procmailrcs/||special privileges path for rcfiles|
|/var/mail/$LOGNAME.lock||lockfile for the system mailbox (not automatically used by procmail, unless $DEFAULT equals /var/mail/$LOGNAME and procmail is delivering to $DEFAULT)|
|/usr/sendmail||default mail forwarder|
|_????`hostname`||temporary `unique' zero-length files created by procmail|
|Autoforwarding mailbox found|
|The system mailbox had its suid or sgid bit set, procmail terminates with EX_NOUSER assuming that this mailbox must not be delivered to.|
|Bad substitution of "x"|
|Not a valid environment variable name specified.|
|Closing brace unexpected|
|There was no corresponding opening brace (nesting block).|
|Not all option combinations are useful|
|Conflicting x suppressed|
|Flag x is not compatible with some other flag on this recipe.|
|Couldn't create "x"|
|The system mailbox was missing and could not/will not be created.|
|Couldn't determine implicit lockfile from "x"|
|There were no `>>' redirectors to be found, using simply `$LOCKEXT' as locallockfile.|
|Couldn't unlock "x"|
|Lockfile was already gone, or write permission to the directory were the lockfile is has been denied.|
|Deadlock attempted on "x"|
|The locallockfile specified on this recipe is equal to a still active $LOCKFILE.|
|Denying special privileges for "x"|
|Procmail will not take on the identity that comes with the rcfile because a security violation was found (e.g. -p or variable assignments on the command line) or procmail had insufficient privileges to do so.|
|Enforcing stricter permissions on "x"|
|The system mailbox of the recipient was found to be unsecured, procmail secured it.|
|Error while writing to "x"|
|Nonexistent subdirectory, no write permission, pipe died or disk full.|
|Buffer overflow detected, LINEBUF was too small, memory might be corrupted.|
|Excessive output quenched from "x"|
|The program or filter "x" tried to produce too much output for the current LINEBUF, the rest was discarded.|
|Extraneous x ignored|
|The action line of this recipe makes flag x meaningless.|
|Failed forking "x"|
|Process table is full (and NORES- RETRY has been exhausted).|
|Failed to execute "x"|
|Program not in path, or not executable.|
|Forced unlock denied on "x"|
|No write permission in the directory where lockfile "x" resides, or more than one procmail trying to force a lock at exactly the same time.|
|Forcing lock on "x"|
|Lockfile "x" is going to be removed by force because of a timeout (see also: LOCKTIMEOUT).|
|The start of a recipe was found, but it stranded in an EOF.|
|Procmail either needs root privileges, or must have the right (e)uid and (e)gid to run in delivery mode. The mail will bounce.|
|Invalid regexp "x"|
|The regular expression "x" contains errors (most likely some missing or extraneous parens).|
|While trying to use the kernel-supported locking calls, one of them failed (usually indicates an OS error), procmail ignores this error and proceeds.|
|Lock failure on "x"|
|Can only occur if you specify some real weird (and illegal) lockfilenames or if the lockfile could not be created because of insufficient permissions or nonexistent subdi- rectories.|
|Procmail tried to clone itself but could not find back rcfile "x" (it either got removed or it was a relative path and you changed directory since procmail opened it last time).|
|Missing closing brace|
|A nesting block was started, but never finished.|
|The -f option needs an extra argument.|
|You specified the -a option but forgot the argument.|
|You specified the -m option, procmail expects the name of an rcfile as argument.|
|You specified the -d option or called procmail under a different name, it expects one or more recipients as arguments.|
|No space left to finish writing "x"|
|The filesystem containing "x" does not have enough free space to permit delivery of the message to the file.|
|Out of memory|
|The system is out of swap space (and NORESRETRY has been exhausted).|
|The unrecognised options on the command line are ignored, proceeding as usual.|
|Program failure (nnn) of "x"|
|Program that was started by procmail returned nnn instead of EXIT_SUCCESS (=0); if nnn is negative, then this is the signal the program died on.|
|Renaming bogus "x" into "x"|
|The system mailbox of the recipient was found to be bogus, procmail performed evasive actions.|
|Couldn't do anything with "x" in the rcfile (syntax error), ignoring it.|
|Suspicious rcfile "x"|
|The owner of the rcfile was not the recipient or root, or the directory that contained it was world writable (the rcfile was not used).|
|Terminating prematurely whilst waiting for ...|
|Procmail received a signal while it was waiting for ...|
|Quota exceeded while writing "x"|
|The filesize quota for the recipient on the filesystem containing "x" does not permit delivering the message to the file.|
|Timeout, terminating "x"|
|Timeout has occurred on program or filter "x".|
|Timeout, was waiting for "x"|
|Timeout has occurred on program, filter or file "x". If it was a program or filter, then it didn't seem to be running anymore.|
|Truncated file to former size|
|The file could not be delivered to successfully, so the file was truncated to its former size.|
|Truncating "x" and retrying lock|
|"x" does not seem to be a valid filename or the file is not empty.|
|Rescue of unfiltered data succeeded/failed|
|A filter returned unsuccessfully, procmail tried to get back the original text.|
|Missing closing quote, or trying to escape EOF.|
|Unknown user "x"|
|The specified recipient does not have a corresponding uid.|
|[pid] time & date|
|Procmail's pid and a timestamp. Generated whenever procmail logs a diagnostic and at least a second has elapsed since the last timestamp.|
|Procmail now tries to kernel-lock the most recently opened file (descriptor).|
|Environment variable assignment.|
|Assuming identity of the recipient, VERBOSE=off|
|Dropping all privileges (if any), implicitly turns off extended diagnostics.|
|Bypassed locking "x"|
|The mail spool directory was not accessible to procmail, it relied solely on kernel locks.|
|Starting program "x". If it is started by procmail directly (without an intermediate shell), procmail will show where it separated the arguments by inserting commas.|
|HOST mismatched "x"|
|This host was called "x", HOST contained something else.|
|Creating lockfile "x".|
|Linking to "x"|
|Creating a hardlink between directory folders.|
|Match on "x"|
|Assigned "x" to MATCH.|
|No match on "x"|
|Condition didn't match, recipe skipped.|
|Notified comsat: "$LOGNAME@offset:file"|
|Sent comsat/biff a notice that mail arrived for user $LOGNAME at `offset' in `file'.|
|Opening file "x" for appending.|
|Rcfile changed to "x".|
|While attempting several locking methods, one of these failed. Procmail will reiterate until they all succeed in rapid succession.|
|Score: added newtotal "x"|
|This condition scored `added' points, which resulted in a `newtotal' score.|
|Removing lockfile "x" again.|
In the unlikely event that you absolutely need to kill procmail before it has finished, first try and use the regular kill command (i.e. not kill -9, see the subsection Signals for suggestions), otherwise some lockfiles might not get removed.
Beware when using the -t option, if procmail repeatedly is unable to deliver the mail (e.g. due to an incorrect rcfile), the system mailqueue could fill up. This could aggravate both the local postmaster and other users.
The /etc/procmailrc file might be executed with root privileges, so be very careful of what you put in it. SHELL will be equal to that of the current recipient, so if procmail has to invoke the shell, you'd better set it to some safe value first. See also: DROPPRIVS.
Keep in mind that if chown(1) is permitted on files in /etc/procmailrcs/, that they can be chowned to root (or anyone else) by their current owners. For maximum security, make sure this directory is executable to root only.
Procmail uses the regular TERMINATE signal to terminate any runaway filter, but it does not check if the filter responds to that signal and it only sends it to the filter itself, not to any of the filter's children.
A continued Content-Length: field is not handled correctly.
If there is no Content-Length: field or the -Y option has been specified and procmail appends to regular mailfold- ers, any lines in the body of the message that look like postmarks are prepended with `>' (disarms bogus mailhead- ers). The regular expression that is used to search for these postmarks is:
`\nFrom 'If the destination name used in explicit delivery mode is not in /etc/passwd, procmail will proceed as if explicit delivery mode was not in effect. If not in explicit de- livery mode and should the uid procmail is running under, have no corresponding /etc/passwd entry, then HOME will default to /, LOGNAME will default to #uid and SHELL will default to /bin/sh.
When in explicit delivery mode, procmail will generate a leading `From ' line if none is present. If one is al- ready present procmail will leave it intact. If procmail is not invoked with one of the following user or group ids : root, daemon, uucp, mail, x400, network, list, slist, lists or news, but still has to generate or accept a new `From ' line, it will generate an additional `>From ' line to help distinguish fake mails.
For security reasons procmail will only use an absolute or $HOME-relative rcfile if it is either owned by the recipi- ent or root and not world writable, or if the directory it is contained in is not world writable.
If /var/mail/$LOGNAME is a bogus mailbox (i.e. does not belong to the recipient, is unwritable, is a symbolic link or is a hard link), procmail will upon startup try to re- name it into a file starting with `BOGUS.' and ending in an inode-sequence-code. If this turns out to be impossi- ble, ORGMAIL will have no initial value, and hence will inhibit delivery without a proper rcfile.
If /var/mail/$LOGNAME already is a valid mailbox, but has got too loose permissions on it, procmail will correct this. To prevent procmail from doing this make sure the u+x bit is set.
When delivering to directories (or to MH folders) you don't need to use lockfiles to prevent several concurrent- ly running procmail programs from messing up.
Delivering to MH folders is slightly more time consuming than delivering to normal directories or mailboxes, be- cause procmail has to search for the next available number (instead of having the filename immediately available).
On general failure procmail will return EX_CANTCREAT, un- less option -t is specified, in which case it will return EX_TEMPFAIL.
To make `egrepping' of headers more consistent, procmail concatenates all continued header fields; but only inter- nally. When delivering the mail, line breaks will appear as before.
If procmail is called under a name not starting with `procmail' (e.g. if it is linked to another name and in- voked as such), it comes up in explicit delivery mode, and expects the recipients' names as command line arguments (as if -d had been specified).
Comsat/biff notifications are done using udp. They are sent off once when procmail generates the regular logfile entry. The notification messages have the following ex- tended format (or as close as you can get when final de- livery was not to a file):
$LOGNAME@offset_of_message_in_mailbox:absolute_path_to_mailboxWhenever procmail itself opens a file to deliver to, it consistently uses the following kernel locking strategies: fcntl(2).
Procmail is NFS-resistant and eight-bit clean.
send usenet/news.answers/mail/filtering-faqIf procmail is not installed globally as the default mail delivery agent (ask your system administrator), you have to make sure it is invoked when your mail arrives. In this case your $HOME/.forward (beware, it has to be world readable) file should contain the line below. Be sure to include the single and double quotes, and it must be an absolute path. The #YOUR_USERNAME is not actually a pa- rameter that is required by procmail, in fact, it will be discarded by sh before procmail ever sees it; it is howev- er a necessary kludge against overoptimising sendmail pro- grams:
"|exec /usr/bin/procmail"Procmail can also be invoked to postprocess an already filled system mailbox. This can be useful if you don't want to or can't use a $HOME/.forward file (in which case the following script could periodically be called from within cron(1), or whenever you start reading mail):
#!/bin/sh ORGMAIL=/var/mail/$LOGNAME if cd $HOME && test -s $ORGMAIL && lockfile -r0 -l1024 .newmail.lock 2>/dev/null then trap "rm -f .newmail.lock" 1 2 3 13 15 umask 077 lockfile -l1024 -ml cat $ORGMAIL >>.newmail && cat /dev/null >$ORGMAIL lockfile -mu formail -s procmail <.newmail && rm -f .newmail rm -f .newmail.lock fi exit 0A sample small $HOME/.procmailrc:
PATH=/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/bin MAILDIR=$HOME/Mail #you'd better make sure it exists DEFAULT=$MAILDIR/mbox #completely optional LOGFILE=$MAILDIR/from #recommended :0: * ^From.*berg from_me :0 * ^Subject:.*Flame /dev/nullOther examples for rcfile recipes can be looked up in the procmailex(5) man page.
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