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Perl Mailsplit

© November 1998 Tony Lawrence

I read and post mail with Netscape, and divide mail up into different folders. That's easy to do for incoming mail; I just drag it where I want it when I'm done. It should be just as easy for outgoing, but I usually forget to open up "Sent" to drag stuff out, so I end up with thousands of messages in Sent.

I finally decided to do something about it, and this is the result.


Mail files begin with a line that says "From ". Everything after that belongs to that message until you find another "From ". This format is true for Netscape and many other mail handling programs.

Netscape also creates another relaed file to handle sorting and deleting, but it watches the date stamps and will recreate the other file if you mess with the original as we are doing here. After adding messages, the folder will appear with "???" until you click on it; Netscape recreates its summary file then (Note that you want Netscape mail CLOSED while doing the splitting).

# "index" is a file that contains lines that look like this:
#       To: "vick@vscacs.vsc.edu" <vick@vscacs.vsc.edu>|Vermont
#       To: Raven <Raven@aol.com>|Personal
#       To: Richard MacNevin <richmac@clear.net.nz>|Mac
# It was produced by grepping "^To:" from the "Sent" file,
# discarding duplicates with "sort -u" and then adding 
# the "|File" to indicate where I ultimately want to file
# the messages.
# I did this only for the few dozen addresses I want and discarded
# the rest of them.
while (<INDEX>) {
        ($who,$file)=split /\|/;
        $who =~ s/To: .*<(.*)>/$1/;
        $who =~ s/To: (.*)/$1/;
        $who = lc($adds);
        # this all just gets the address down to a simple "xyz@yyy"
        if (! $file) {
                $file = "Misc" 
        # I didn't bother with a lot of the addresses, so we need to
        # default them
        #create the hash
chdir "/usr/tony/nsmail"
# obviously this varies
while(<MAIL>) {
# this won't be true until we hit the second "From " that
# indicates the beginning of a message
        if (/^From / && $inaddr) {
        # when it is true (we have a new message)
        # print out the old and close the file
          print MYFILE "$mesg";
          close MYFILE;

        $mesg .= $_;
        # accumulate lines
        # I've seen people read files like this in paragraph
        # mode, but that won't work for mail files because
        # the end of one message does not necessarily have a blank line
        next unless /^To: /m;
        # now we have the "To:" line.
        $adds =~ s/To: .*<(.*)>/$1/;
        $adds =~ s/To: (.*)/$1/;
        $adds = lc($adds);
        # make it look like the index
        # set this so when we next reach "From: " we will write.
        if (! $outfile) {
           # "index" doesn't contain all the addresses that might be in "Sent"
# at the very end there is left over stuff to write
print MYFILE "$mesg";
close MYFILE;

© November 1998 Anthony Lawrence

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