META: tutorial: set up your own lunatic filter

From: Russell Whitaker (
Date: Thu Jan 11 2001 - 00:57:32 MST

Howdy. For those uninterested in having their mailboxes
cluttered with lunatic rants, here's a tutorial on how
to set up a lunatic filter.

This assumes that you receive your list mail through an
ISP running some flavor of Unix with a standard local MDA
(mail delivery agent) such as /bin/mail or /usr/local/bin/procmail.
(I do, but have it forwarded to Hotmail for convenience.)

Make sure your shell account host has procmail available
for use (do a "which procmail" at a shell prompt).
If available:

1.) Create directory ~/.procmail:
  % mkdir ~/.procmail

2.) Create file ~/.procmailrc with these contents
(modify with actual user values):

PATH=/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/bin:/home/<username>/bin # example path
PMDIR=$HOME/.procmail # literal directory name: location of filter
rules and log file
MAILDIR=$HOME/mail # example directory: filtered mail spooled here
DEFAULT=$HOME/inbox # example default mailspool: could be
/var/mail/<username> on some systems
LOGFILE=$PMDIR/procmail.log # you'll want this for debugging
INCLUDERC=$PMDIR/rc.devnull # name of your procmail recipe file

3.) In directory ~/.procmail, create your procmail recipes
file (in this case "rc.devnull"), with contents like this
(the exact example here being merely theoretical):

# save mail filtered on the "From" line match to $MAILDIR/joedees,
# for future amusement, or evidence.
* ^From:.*


# simply discard mail from example destination
* ^From:.*

4.) Create or modify your ~/.forward file to contain:

<username>, # usually, your local username
"|IFS=' '&&exec /usr/local/bin/procmail -f-||exit 75 #<username>"

"/usr/local/bin/procmail" is a typical location; use the value of
"which procmail" above or "/usr/bin/env procmail" if your
system supports it.

Some enlightened sysadmins actually have procmail
set up as the local MDA, in which case step #4 above is

At least one emotionally unbalanced person on this list
has threatened to change email addresses if list members
don't listen to his rants. That's OK. Once he/she shows
up and engages in similar rants, it's easy to add recipe lines
to ~/.procmail/rc.devnull. It takes much less effort to
add the recipe than it does for that person to change email
addresses. Let him/her waste time trying.

Here's a reference if you're interested:

Have fun,
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:18 MDT