Step 1: Read the procmail directions.

The procmail directions are quite good for the overall setup of procmail. However, there's one difference between the procmail directions and actual use of procmail on eskimo: 

Step 2: The .forward file.

The procmail directions will tell you to place something like this in your .forward file:

"|IFS=' ' && exec /usr/local/bin/procmail -f- || exit 75 #JoeUser"

For security resasons, this won't work on eskimo, and if attempted, all of your incoming mail will bounce. Instead, use the following in your .forward file:

"|procmail_wrapper -f- #JoeUser"

Make sure you replace the #JoeUser in the above example with your login name.

Step 3: Questions and Answers

Q.     Where are the procmail directions that you've referred to.

A.     The main procmail directions are in the form of unix man pages.  I would like to HTMLify these pages, and place links to them on this page, but at this point that is a project that I haven't had time for.  The most often used man pages are:

"man procmail" (The procmail program, options, and an overview)
"man procmailrc" (The procmail rcfile options, and modifiers)
"man procmailex" (Procmail rcfile examples)

Other man pages that may be of interest:

"man procmailsc" (Very technical page describing procmail's weighted scoring technique)
"man formail" (formail is a mail reformatter used by some procmail recipies)
"man lockfile" (lockfile is a file locking program used by some procmail recipies)

Q.     I don't see procmail_wrapper in /usr/local/bin.  So, where is it?

A.     You won't find it on any of the machines that users have access to.  But it is there, and it does work.  I should know, I use it myself.

Q.     Can I use my own private copy of procmail instead of the one in /usr/local/bin?

A.     No.  You can go ahead and compile one, and even put the full path to it in your .forward file.  However, the security software that our mailer uses will strip the full path off, and execute our version anyway.  The mail transport agent will never execute your local copy of the program.

Q.     You showed the -f- option in your example.  What about other procmail options?

A.     You can use any of the procmail options.  Just place them after the procmail_wrapper and before the #user.

Q.     What version of procmail is Eskimo using?

A.     We're using version 3.10.  While I'm aware that version 3.11 pre-releases are available, using beta software with something as critical as mail delivery is not something I'm comfortable with.

Q.     I followed your instructions, and it still isn't working.  Did I miss something?

A.     The most common mistakes are:

     1.      No quotes around the "|procmail_wrapper -f- #JoeUser". The quotes are not optional.

     2.      A space between the | and the procmail_wrapper. No spaces are permitted, and all mail will bounce if a space is used. 

Links to other procmail information:
(Remember to keep our local configuration in mind when using these links)

A Procmail Workshop
The Filtering Mail FAQ
Infinate Ink's Processing Mail with Procmail (and it's mirror site)

Local Eskimo Users Spam Filters:

Christian Bantzer ( has developed some procmail based spam filters that are available for your use.  A link is provided below. 

Christian's Eskimo Spam Filters

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Last Update: 13-March-2006

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