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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  GUBBY (1)


gubby - The procmail new email agent - v0.5.5



gubby [hvcowlVbsH] [BmMpC value] [procmail logfile]


Gubby keeps track of when and where procmail delivers your email.


Scans a procmail logfile and display a realtime-updated display of mailboxes and new email. Reads mailbox contents using a specified external mailreader (or MUA).

Output is normally displayed in a curses environment, but can also be printed conveniently to the standard output from the command prompt.

Gubby is a compact, efficient and powerful ‘‘once-and-for-all’’ rewrite of an old shell script.


If called without arguments, gubby searches for a procmail configuration file in $HOME/.procmailrc, scans it for a line beginning with LOGFILE=, and finally tries to parse the procmail logfile.

A complaint is filed to stderr if no files are found, and you’ll have to supply the location of the file as a program argument.


For gubby to work, you must enable logging in your procmail configuration file. This is done by adding a line such as LOGFILE=~/.log-procmail near the top.


-h Print help and exit.
-v Print version info and exit.
-c Empty logfile and exit.
-m path Specifies which program Gubby calls to read your mailboxes.
-M path Specifies path to your local mailboxes. If this is set in your ~/.procmailrc file as MAILDIR=..., then this is the directory used. (This is only true when no logfile is specified as a program parameter)
-p args Used with -m. Specifies program arguments to your mailreader when Gubby launches it to read a mailbox. These parameters should be the one telling your mailreader to read this mailbox: ....

For instance, with Mutt, the argument is -f, and the corresponding command Gubby will execute when a mailbox is selected for reading will be: mutt -f mailboxname

-C args Used with -m. Specifies which arguments are needed for your mailprogram to start composing a new mail.
-o Print new mail and exit.
-w Used with -o. Prints folders in wide listing format, meaning that mailbox contents (i.e., From and Subject values) are printed as well.
-b Triggers the terminal bell (beep) on new mail.

This may not be as annoying as it sounds. Some terminal emulators can be configured what to do on terminal bells. For instance, PuTTY (a terminal emulator) can make the window taskbar flash on bells.

-s Used with -b: Do not trigger bell when new mail is thrown in /dev/null.
-H Do not show /dev/null as a folder in the view at all.
-l Start Gubby in curses environment. (default)
-V Be verbose: Send warnings and notices to stderr (deprecated; all errors are written to stderr).


0 Successful exit
1 General Error


Gubby catches SIGSEGV and SIGINT, both causing Gubby to gracefully shut down it’s curses environment before exiting with status 1.


$HOME/.procmailrc If no logfile is specified as a program parameter, Gubby will try to read LOGFILE (and, optionally, MAILDIR) from your $HOME/.procmailrc configuration file. If that doesn’t exist, Gubby will exit with a complaint to stderr.


gubby ~/.log-procmail Run gubby and read from ~/.log-procmail
gubby -m /usr/bin/mutt -M ~/mail/ -p ’-f’ Run gubby on procmail logfile specified in $HOME/.procmailrc, use /usr/bin/mutt as a mailreader. When a folder is selected, the command /usr/bin/mutt -f ~/mail/foldername will be executed.
gubby -o Read Procmai logfile (finding its path from $HOME/.procmailrc), print its contents in a formatted and sorted style, and exit.
gubby Try to find Procmail logfile from $HOME/.procmailrc and enter curses environment for displaying folders. Default mailreader is mutt.


procmail(1), procmailrc(5), procmailex(5), curses(3), ncurses(3), gpl(7)


I’ve had trouble with gubby messing up the screen when going back from suspended mode. E.g., enter a folder by hitting enter (usually enters mutt), start composing a new mail (with e.g. vim) and then suspend everything with CTRL+Z. When you do an fg again, somehow the screen is totally messed up.

Other than that, the new write to logfile (the ’d’-key in the program view) does not write correct procmail logfiles, so use this one with caution. It’s there because it works on MY system, but I need feedback from users before I’ll remove the experimental warning.

Other issues:

If gubby has trouble finding your Procmail logfile, be sure to specify it as the last argument.

If you terminal is messed up, try setting the TERM variable to another value. On Cygwin, I’ve had to set TERM=xterm og TERM=xterm-color instead of TERM=cygwin to get curses to draw to the screen properly.

If you don’t get colors, try setting TERM=xterm-colors

If Gubby for some reason can’t find your mailboxes, try setting the full path for your maildirectory as MAILDIR=... in your Procmail rc file.

If you experience any other bugs, let me know!


Thanks to Michael Hostbaek for maintaining the FreeBSD port of Gubby.

Thanks to Jone Lima and Arne Kjetil Andersen for suggestions, feedback, testing and coffee. :)


This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.


Christian Stigen Larsen <>



December 15th, 2004
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gubby GUBBY (1) 2004-12-16

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