Why I think FC3 sucks!

James Wilkinson james at westexe.demon.co.uk
Fri Jan 28 22:16:16 UTC 2005

Robert Storey and Jeff Kinz were discussing procmail scripts to "handle"
HTML mail.

Robert wrote:
> To send all html mail to trash, filter the heading:
> Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
> Or if you only want to send html mail on the Fedora list to trash, use a
> logical AND:
> To: For users of Fedora Core releases <fedora-list at redhat.com>
>    AND
> Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
> That should take care of it. For good.

Jeff replied:
> Say, Robert - I think this filter is too loose.  This method will also
> trash text based email which are PGP signed.  Thats not what you want.

Will it? PGP signed e-mail should be multipart/mixed or
multipart/signed (depending on how much is signed).

On the other hand, it *won't* get simple HTML-only mail:
Content-Type: text/html is perfectly valid.

> But you are on the right track.
> Perhaps something that tracks more closely on html, like this line from
> my procmailrc file (this line is in a recipe which looks only at email
> headers and it is case insensitive):
> * ^content-type:.*html

That shouldn't get *any* Fedora List e-mail...

The mailman mailing list software that Red Hat uses, as you know, sticks
a list signature at the end of every e-mail. It's trivial to do this for
plain text, very difficult to do for arbitrarily complex HTML, and
impossible for signed e-mail that uses MIME to store the signature.

So if you have a MIME e-mail that isn't just text/plain, mailman will
stick in another MIME part with the signature in plain text, and set the
content-type for the entire message to multipart/mixed.  And when
procmail is examining headers, it doesn't include MIME message part

I have this in my .procmailrc: it is designed to catch *list* mail that
has an HTML part *without* a corresponding text/plain part. So far, it
hasn't been fooled:

:0 fhw
* ^content-type: multipart/mixed
* B ?? ^content-type: text/html
* B ?? !^content-type: multipart/alternative
* B ?? !^content-disposition: attachment
| formail -A "X-Label: html-only"
# sort out Red Hat's footers. Come to that, it should pick up on any text/html
# that doesn't have an equivalent text/ something else.
# Now we have to wait for something to fool the regexps... oh well.

Mutt can do scoring on the X-Label I'm putting in the header. And since
I use mutt, I'm more interested in flagging e-mails without the main
part of the e-mail in text.

(The "content-disposition" line will mean the mail doesn't get flagged
if it includes an HTML file as an attachment: you may well want to leave
that line out. It seems *very* difficult to make sure that the
content-disposition relates to the HTML message part, and I'd rather be

Take out the multipart/alternative bit if you want to get *all* mail
with HTML content.


James Wilkinson       | Anonymous:          What do you think of Stainer's
Exeter    Devon    UK |                     "Crucifixion"?
E-mail address: james | Sir Thomas Beecham: Good idea! 
@westexe.demon.co.uk  | 

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