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Chapter 1. WHAT IS PROCMAIL?

Chapter 1. WHAT IS PROCMAIL?

Procmail is, as its name might suggest, a program that can automatically process electronic mail. It has been around since 1991 and in that time it has been used by a relatively small community for filtering email, automating responses and performing local mail delivery. However, since then there has been the much-hyped explosion of the Internet into everyday life, and hence the attraction to some organisations and individuals of unsolicited commercial email and bogus get-rich-quick schemes (commonly grouped together as SPAM – the history of SPAM and pointless arguments about the exact definition of SPAM are of no relevance here), not to mention the current scares of computer viruses attached to electronic mail. Unix and Unix-like operating systems have recently become more common in the home and in small businesses – most notably with the rise of Linux, but also other free systems (such as several variations on BSD Unix); free-for-personal-use systems (introduced by some manufacturers of commercial systems such as SCO and Sun) have brought their power and complexity (real or perceived) into the reach of many. These systems allow many people to use email on one machine; they also allow one person to use many email accounts on one machine. Businesses and home enthusiasts are setting up mailing lists to discuss their products or their interests.

These factors have all resulted in an increase in interest in automated mail processing and filtering.


  

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