Getmail / procmail / ???

Florian Diesch diesch at
Sat Jan 13 11:56:05 UTC 2007

Michael Satterwhite <michael at> wrote:

> I'm wanting to setup getmail / procmail on my system. I'm unsure of
> exactly what each piece is supplying, however, and how the mail
> eventually gets to my email client (in this case, kmail).
> I understand that Getmail is bringing the mail from the Pop3
> server. What exactly is Procmail adding (I'm assuming it's needed)?

I don't know about getmail but I assume it's working similar to

getmail can only fetch mail from a server but doesn't know how to
deliver them so it can either hand the mail over to a local mail
transport agent (MTA) and let it care about delivery or call a mail
delivery agent (MDA) like procmail to deliver the mail. The MDA then
stores the mails somewhere the user can access them; in case of procmail
they are written to a mailbox in mbox or maildir format.

procmail also lets you define rules to modify or filter mails and store
them in different mailboxes depending e.g. on their content. Its
capabilities are quite powerful but the syntax for its rules isn't
exactly intuitive. See man procmail, man procmailrc and man procmailex
for details.

> After it goes through these two, how do I get the output to my email
> client?

I don't know about kmail. But basically your mail client (mail user
agent (MUA), to stay with the agents) has to read the mailbox(es) where
procmail put your mail in.


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