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FORMAIL(1)		    General Commands Manual		    FORMAIL(1)

       formail - mail (re)formatter

       formail [+skip] [-total]	[-bczfrktedqBY]	[-p prefix]
	    [-D	maxlen idcache]
	    [-l	folder]
	    [-x	headerfield] [-X headerfield]
	    [-a	headerfield] [-A headerfield]
	    [-i	headerfield] [-I headerfield]
	    [-u	headerfield] [-U headerfield]
	    [-R	oldfield newfield]
	    [-n	[maxprocs ]] [-m minfields] [-s	[command [arg ...]]]
       formail -v

       formail is a filter that	can be used to force mail into mailbox format,
       perform `From ' escaping, generate  auto-replying  headers,  do	simple
       header  munging/extracting  or split up a mailbox/digest/articles file.
       The mail/mailbox/article	contents will be expected on stdin.

       If formail is supposed to determine the sender of the mail, but is  un-
       able to find any, it will substitute `foo@bar'.

       If  formail  is started without any command line	options, it will force
       any mail	coming from stdin into mailbox format and will escape all  bo-
       gus `From ' lines with a	`>'.

       -v   Formail will print its version number and exit.

       -b   Don't  escape any bogus mailbox headers (i.e., lines starting with
	    `From ').

       -p prefix
	    Define a different quotation prefix.  If unspecified  it  defaults
	    to `>'.

       -Y   Assume  traditional	Berkeley mailbox format, ignoring any Content-
	    Length: fields.

       -c   Concatenate	continued fields in the	header.	 Might	be  convenient
	    when postprocessing	mail with standard (line oriented) text	utili-

       -z   Ensure a whitespace	exists between field name  and	content.   Zap
	    fields  which  contain  only  a  single whitespace character.  Zap
	    leading and	trailing whitespace on fields extracted	with -x.

       -f   Force formail to simply pass along any non-mailbox	format	(i.e.,
	    don't generate a `From ' line as the first line).

       -r   Generate  an auto-reply header.  This will normally	throw away all
	    the	existing fields	(except	 X-Loop:)  in  the  original  message,
	    fields  you	wish to	preserve need to be named using	the -i option.
	    If you use this option in conjunction with -k, you can prevent the
	    body from being `escaped' by also specifying -b.

       -k   When  generating  the auto-reply header or when extracting fields,
	    keep the body as well.

       -t   Trust the sender to	have  used  a  valid  return  address  in  his
	    header.   This  causes formail to select the header	sender instead
	    of the envelope sender for the reply.  This	option should be  used
	    when  generating auto-reply	headers	from news articles or when the
	    sender of the message is expecting a reply.

       -s   The	input will be split up into separate mail messages, and	 piped
	    into  a  program  one  by  one (a new program is started for every
	    part).  -s has to be the last option specified, the	first argument
	    following  it  is  expected	to be the name of a program, any other
	    arguments will be passed along to it.  If you  omit	 the  program,
	    then  formail  will	 simply	 concatenate the split mails on	stdout
	    again.  See	FILENO.

       -n [maxprocs]
	    Tell formail not to	wait for every program to finish before	start-
	    ing	 the  next  (causes splits to be processed in parallel).  Max-
	    procs optionally specifies an upper	limit on the number of concur-
	    rently running processes.

       -e   Do	not  require  empty  lines to be preceding the header of a new
	    message (i.e.,  the	messages could start on	every line).

       -d   Tell formail that the messages it is supposed to split need	not be
	    in	strict mailbox format (i.e., allows you	to split digests/arti-
	    cles or non-standard mailbox formats).  This disables  recognition
	    of the Content-Length: field.

       -l folder
	    Generate  a	 log  summary in the same style	as procmail.  This in-
	    cludes the entire "From " line, the	 Subject:  header  field,  the
	    folder,  and  the size of the message in bytes.  The mailstat com-
	    mand can be	used to	summarize logs in this format.

       -B   Makes formail assume that it is splitting up a BABYL rmail file.

       -m minfields
	    Allows you to specify the number of	consecutive headerfields  for-
	    mail  needs	 to find before	it decides it found the	start of a new
	    message, it	defaults to 2.

       -q   Tells formail to (still detect but)	be quiet about	write  errors,
	    duplicate  messages	 and  mismatched Content-Length: fields.  This
	    option is on by default, to	make it	display	the messages use -q-.

       -D maxlen idcache
	    Formail will detect	if the Message-ID of the current  message  has
	    already  been  seen	 using an idcache file of approximately	maxlen
	    size.  If not splitting, it	will return success if a duplicate has
	    been  found.  If splitting,	it will	not output duplicate messages.
	    If used in conjunction with	-r, formail will look at the mail  ad-
	    dress of the envelope sender instead at the	Message-ID.

       -x headerfield
	    Extract  the  contents  of this headerfield	from the header.  Line
	    continuations will be left intact; if you want the value on	a sin-
	    gle	line then you'll also need the -c option.

       -X headerfield
	    Same as -x,	but also preserves/includes the	field name.

       -a headerfield
	    Append a custom headerfield	onto the header; but only if a similar
	    field does not exist yet.  If you specify either one of the	 field
	    names  Message-ID:	or  Resent-Message-ID: with no field contents,
	    then formail will generate a unique	message-ID for you.

       -A headerfield
	    Append a custom headerfield	onto the header	in any case.

       -i headerfield
	    Same as -A,	except that any	existing similar fields	are renamed by
	    prepending	an ``Old-'' prefix.  If	headerfield consists only of a
	    field-name,	it will	not be appended.

       -I headerfield
	    Same as -i,	except that any	existing similar fields	are simply re-
	    moved.   If	 headerfield  consists only of a field-name, it	effec-
	    tively deletes the field.

       -u headerfield
	    Make the first occurrence of this field unique,  and  thus	delete
	    all	subsequent occurrences of it.

       -U headerfield
	    Make the last occurrence of	this field unique, and thus delete all
	    preceding occurrences of it.

       -R oldfield newfield
	    Renames all	occurrences of the fieldname oldfield into newfield.

	    Skip the first skip	messages while splitting.

	    Output at most total messages while	splitting.

       When renaming, removing,	or extracting fields, partial  fieldnames  may
       be used to specify all fields that start	with the specified value.

       By  default,  when generating an	auto-reply header procmail selects the
       envelope	sender from the	input message.	This is	correct	 for  vacation
       messages	 and other automatic replies regarding the routing or delivery
       of the original message.	 If the	sender is expecting a reply or the re-
       ply is being generated in response to the contents of the original mes-
       sage then the -t	option should be used.

       RFC822, the original standard governing the  format  of	Internet  mail
       messages,  did not specify whether Resent header	fields (those that be-
       gin with	`Resent-', such	as `Resent-From:') should be  considered  when
       generating  a  reply.   Since then, the recommended usage of the	Resent
       headers has evolved to consider them as purely  informational  and  not
       for  use	 when  generating a reply.  This has been codified in RFC2822,
       the new Internet	Message	Format standard, which states in part:

	      Resent fields are	used to	identify  a  message  as  having  been
	      reintroduced  into  the transport	system by a user.  The purpose
	      of using resent fields is	to have	the message appear to the  fi-
	      nal  recipient  as  if  it  were	sent  directly by the original
	      sender,  with  all  of  the  original   fields   remaining   the
	      same....They  MUST  NOT  be  used	 in  the  normal processing of
	      replies or other such automatic actions on messages.

       While  formail  now  ignores  Resent  headers  when  generating	header
       replies,	 versions  of  formail	prior to 3.14 gave such	headers	a high
       precedence.  If the old behavior	is needed for established applications
       it  can be specified by calling formail with the	option `-a Resent-' in
       addition	to the -r and -t options.  This	usage is deprecated and	should
       not be used in new applications.

	    While  splitting, formail assigns the message number currently be-
	    ing	output to this variable.  By presetting	FILENO,	you can	change
	    the	 initial  message number being used and	the width of the zero-
	    padded output.  If FILENO is unset it will	default	 to  000.   If
	    FILENO  is non-empty and does not contain a	number,	FILENO genera-
	    tion is disabled.

       To split	up a digest one	usually	uses:
	      formail +1 -ds >>the_mailbox_of_your_choice
	      formail +1 -ds procmail

       To remove all Received: fields from the header:
	      formail -I Received:

       To remove all fields except From: and Subject: from the header:
	      formail -k -X From: -X Subject:

       To supersede the	Reply-To: field	in a header you	could use:
	      formail -i "Reply-To: foo@bar"

       To convert a non-standard mailbox file into a standard mailbox file you
       can use:
	      formail -ds <old_mailbox >>new_mailbox

       Or, if you have a very tolerant mailer:
	      formail -a Date: -ds <old_mailbox	>>new_mailbox

       To extract the header from a message:
	      formail -X ""
	      sed -e '/^$/ q'

       To extract the body from	a message:
	      formail -I ""
	      sed -e '1,/^$/ d'

       mail(1),	binmail(1), sendmail(8), procmail(1), sed(1), sh(1), RFC822,
       RFC2822,	RFC1123

       Can't fork	      Too many processes on this machine.

       Content-Length: field exceeds actual length by nnn bytes
			      The Content-Length: field	in the	header	speci-
			      fied  a  length  that was	longer than the	actual
			      body.  This causes this message to absorb	a num-
			      ber  of  subsequent messages following it	in the
			      same mailbox.

       Couldn't	write to stdout
			      The program that formail was trying to pipe into
			      didn't  accept  all the data formail sent	to it;
			      this diagnostic can be suppressed	by the -q  op-

       Duplicate key found: x The  Message-ID  or sender x in this message was
			      found in the idcache;  this  diagnostic  can  be
			      suppressed by the	-q option.

       Failed to execute "x"  Program not in path, or not executable.

       File table full	      Too many open files on this machine.

       Invalid field-name: "x"
			      The  specified  field-name  "x" contains control
			      characters, or cannot be	a  partial  field-name
			      for this option.

       You can save yourself and others	a lot of grief if you try to avoid us-
       ing this	autoreply feature on mails coming through  mailinglists.   De-
       pending	on  the	 format	of the incoming	mail (which in turn depends on
       both the	original sender's mail agent and the mailinglist  setup)  for-
       mail  could  decide to generate an autoreply header that	replies	to the

       In the tradition	of UN*X	utilities, formail will	do  exactly  what  you
       ask  it	to,  even if it	results	in a non-RFC822	compliant message.  In
       particular, formail will	let you	generate header	fields whose name ends
       in  a  space instead of a colon.	 While this is correct for the leading
       `From ' line, that line is not a	header field so	much  as  the  message
       separator  for the mbox mailbox format.	Multiple occurrences of	such a
       line or any other colonless header field	will  be  considered  by  many
       mail programs, including	formail	itself,	as the beginning of a new mes-
       sage.  Others will consider the message	to  be	corrupt.   Because  of
       this, you should	not use	the -i option with the `From ' line as the re-
       sulting renamed line, `Old-From ', will probably	not do what  you  want
       it  to.	 If you	want to	save the original `From	' line,	rename it with
       the -R option to	a legal	header field such as `X-From_:'.

       When formail has	to generate a leading `From ' line  it	normally  will
       contain	the  current date.  If formail is given	the option `-a Date:',
       it will use the date from the `Date:' field in the header (if present).
       However,	 since formail copies it verbatim, the format will differ from
       that expected by	most mail readers.

       If formail is instructed	to delete or rename the	leading	`From '	 line,
       it  will	not automatically regenerate it	as usual.  To force formail to
       regenerate it in	this case, include -a 'From '.

       If formail is not called	as the first program in	a pipe and it is  told
       to split	up the input in	several	messages, then formail will not	termi-
       nate until the program it receives the input from closes	its output  or
       terminates itself.

       If  formail  is instructed to generate an autoreply mail, it will never
       put more	than one address in the	`To:' field.

       Formail is eight-bit clean.

       When formail has	to determine the sender's address, every  RFC822  con-
       forming	mail  address  is allowed.  Formail will always	strip down the
       address to its minimal form (deleting  excessive	 comments  and	white-

       The regular expression that is used to find `real' postmarks is:
	      "\n\nFrom	[\t ]*[^\t\n ]+[\t ]+[^\n\t ]"

       If  a Content-Length: field is found in a header, formail will copy the
       number of specified bytes in the	body verbatim before resuming the reg-
       ular  scanning for message boundaries (except when splitting digests or
       Berkeley	mailbox	format is assumed).

       Any header lines	immediately following the leading `From	 '  line  that
       start  with `>From ' are	considered to be a continuation	of the `From '
       line.  If instructed to rename the `From	' line,	 formail  will	change
       each  leading  `>'  into	a space, thereby transforming those lines into
       normal RFC822 continuations.

       Calling up formail with the -h or -? options will cause it to display a
       command-line help page.

       This  program  is  part of the procmail mail-processing-package (v3.22)
       available at or in  pub/proc-

       There exists a mailinglist for questions	relating to any	program	in the
       procmail	package:
		     for submitting questions/answers.
		     for subscription requests.

       If you would like to stay informed  about  new  versions	 and  official
       patches send a subscription request to
       (this is	a readonly list).

       Stephen R. van den Berg
       Philip A. Guenther

BuGless				  2001/08/04			    FORMAIL(1)


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