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Man Pages


Manual Reference Pages  -  TEXTMAIL (1)

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NAME

textmail - mail filter to replace MS Word/HTML attachments with plain text

CONTENTS

SYNOPSIS



 usage: textmail [options]
 options:
   -h       - Print the help message then exit
   -m       - Print the manpage then exit
   -w       - Print the manpage in html format then exit
   -r       - Print the manpage in nroff format then exit
   -M       - Output in mailbox format (mboxrd)
   -T       - Output in raw mail format (for smtp)
   -W       - Dont replace MS Word attachments with text
   -E       - Dont replace MS Excel attachments with csv
   -H       - Dont replace HTML attachments with text
   -R       - Dont replace RTF attachments with text
   -P       - Dont replace PDF attachments with text
   -U       - Dont translate winmail.dat attachments
   -L       - Dont reduce appledouble attachments
   -I       - Dont delete image attachments
   -A       - Dont delete audio attachments
   -V       - Dont delete video attachments
   -X       - Dont delete MS Windows executable attachments
   -B       - Dont recode text that was base64-encoded
   -S       - Dont replace spaces in filenames with underscores
   -Z       - Do translate signed content (discards signatures)
   -O       - Delete all application/octet-stream attachments
   -!       - Delete all application/* attachments
   -D hdrs  - Delete headers (list of header prefixes and filenames)
   -K types - Keep attachments (list of mimetypes and filenames)
   -f       - On translation error, keep translation, not original
   -?       - Print paths of helper applications then exit



DESCRIPTION

textmail filters a mail message or mbox, replacing MS Word, MS Excel, HTML, RTF and PDF attachments with the plain text contained therein. By default, the following attachments are also deleted: image, audio, video and MS Windows executables. MS winmail.dat attachments are replaced by any attachments contained therein which are then replaced by text or deleted in the same fashion. Any of these actions can be suppressed with the command line options. Mail headers can also be selectively deleted.

This is useful for increasing the accessibility of mail messages (by reducing their dependence on proprietary file formats), for dramatically reducing their size (and the time it takes to download them and the time it takes to read them), and for dramatically reducing the risk of mail-borne viruses. Its intended use is as a preprocessor for mailing lists. This is more friendly than a strict No Attachments policy.

OPTIONS

-h Print the help message then exit.
-m Print the manpage then exit. This is equivalent to executing man textmail but this works even when the manpage isn’t installed.
-w Print the manpage in html format then exit. This lets you install the manpage in html format with a command like:



  mkdir -p /usr/local/share/doc/textmail/html &&
  textmail -w > /usr/local/share/doc/textmail/html/textmail.1.html



-r Print the manpage in nroff format then exit. This lets you install the manpage with a command like:



  textmail -r > /usr/local/share/man/man1/textmail.1



-M This option causes the output to be in mboxrd format by adding a mailbox From line at the top if there isn’t one already and ensures that there is a blank line at the bottom of the output. It also performs mailbox quoting on any lines in the body that look like mailbox From headers. Use this when the output is to be stored directly in a mailbox file. It is not necessary when textmail is being used as a mail filter by procmail(1).
-T This option causes the output to be in raw mail format by removing any mailbox From line and by not performing mailbox quoting. Use this when the output is to be sent directly to an SMTP server. It is not necessary when textmail is being used as a mail filter by procmail(1).
-W By default, textmail replaces MS Word attachments with inline plain text attachments that contain just the plain text within the original document. This option leaves MS Word attachments intact.
-E By default, textmail replaces MS Excel attachments with CSV file attachments that contain just the data within the original document. This option leaves MS Excel attachments intact.
-H By default, textmail replaces HTML attachments with inline plain text attachments that contain just the text within the original document. It also reduces text-versus-html alternative attachments to just the text attachment. This option leaves HTML (and alternative) attachments intact.
-R By default, textmail replaces RTF attachments with inline plain text attachments that contain just the plain text within the original document. This option leaves RTF attachments intact.
-P By default, textmail replaces PDF attachments with inline plain text attachments that contain just the plain text within the original document. This option leaves PDF attachments intact.
-U By default, textmail replaces MS TNEF (i.e. winmail.dat) attachments with the attachments contained therein which are then translated to text as normal. This option leaves winmail.dat attachments intact. This option, together with the -! option will cause winmail.dat attachments to be deleted rather than translated.
-L By default, textmail replaces multipart/appledouble attachments with just the data fork attachment contained therein which is then translated to text as normal. This option leaves appledouble attachments intact. However, the data fork attachment will still be translated as normal resulting in a probably inappropriate and possibly broken resource fork attachment. Therefore, this option should probably only be used in conjunction with other options that suppress the translation of the data fork attachment.
-I By default, textmail deletes image attachments. This option leaves image attachments intact.
-A By default, textmail deletes audio attachments. This option leaves audio attachments intact.
-V By default, textmail deletes video attachments. This option leaves video attachments intact.
-X By default, textmail deletes attachments containing MS Windows executables. That means application/octet-stream attachments with the following filename extensions: com, exe, pif, dll, ocx, scr, vbs and js. This option leaves MS Windows executable attachments intact. To delete zip files as well, you could use either the -O option or the -! option.
-B By default, when text is encountered that is base64-encoded, textmail will recode it as either 7bit or quoted-printable, whichever is appropriate. This option suppresses this recoding. Note that if the text is large enough and contains a high enough proportion of non-ASCII characters, it will remain base64-encoded to minimise space.
-S When translating attachments, textmail replaces bad filename characters such as space characters with the underscore character. This option causes underscore characters to subsequently be converted into space characters. In other words, you can use this option to preserve space characters in attachment filenames (other bad filename characters will then be converted to spaces as well).
-Z By default, textmail will not translate multipart/signed attachments. This option causes multipart/signed attachments to be replaced by the signed attachment contained therein, discarding the signature control data. The no-longer-signed data is then translated to text as normal. Note that multipart/encrypted attachments are never translated.
-O Delete all application/octet-stream attachments, not just MS Windows executables. Note that this overrides -X but -K overrides this.
-! Delete all application/* attachments. Note that this overrides -X but -K overrides this. Also note that translated documents are no longer application/* attachments so they aren’t deleted unless their translation is suppressed with the appropriate command line option.
-D hdrs Delete particular headers. The hdrs argument is a comma separated list of header name prefixes and/or the names of files containing header name prefixes (blank lines, whitespace and shell style comments are ignored). For example, textmail -DX- deletes all headers whose names begin with X-.
-K types By default, textmail deletes several types of non-text attachment. The -O and -! options delete even more. This option specifies, by mimetype and/or filename extension, a list of attachments not to delete. This overrides all deletions.

The types argument is a comma separated list of mimetypes and/or filename extensions and/or the names of files containing mimetypes and/or filename extensions (blank lines, whitespace and shell style comments are ignored). Note that the elements are interpreted as a complete mimetype, if they contain a slash character, or as either the * in application/* or as a filename extension if they do not contain a slash character. For example, textmail -Wf!Kdoc deletes all application/* attachments except MS Word documents.

-f Whenever textmail is unable to translate any attachment into text, it will leave the attachment intact. This happens when the requisite translation software can’t be found, when it runs but returns an error code, and when it produces an empty file. It also happens when winmail.dat attachments are corrupt. This option causes the empty translation to take the place of the original attachment. Only the name of the attachment is preserved. This is needed to ensure plain text even in the face of an MS Word document that contains no text (e.g. only images).
-? Print the paths of all helper applications then exit.

EXAMPLES

A procmail(1) recipe that insists on pure text and no X- headers (with output in mailbox format):



  :0 fw
  | textmail -Mf!DX-



Do the same but to an existing mailbox file:



  textmail -Mf!DX- < mailbox > mailbox-as-text



Delete all application/* attachments except for PostScript and PDF (and don’t translate PDF into text):



  textmail -!PKps,pdf



Delete all application/* attachments except for zip files and gzipped tar files:



  textmail -!Ktar.gz,zip



A procmail(1) recipe that just unpacks winmail.dat attachments but doesn’t translate the attachments contained therein into text and doesn’t delete windows executables (with output in mailbox format):



  :0 fw
  | textmail -MWEHRPLIAVXS



REQUIREMENTS

MS Word and RTF documents are translated into plain text using antiword(1) or catdoc(1). If textmail can’t find antiword(1) or catdoc(1), then MS Word and RTF attachments are left intact. So make sure that antiword(1) or catdoc(1) is installed and in the $PATH.

MS Excel documents are translated into csv files using xls2csv(1). If textmail can’t find xls2csv(1), then MS Excel attachments are left intact. So make sure that xls2csv(1) is installed and in the $PATH.

HTML documents are translated into plain text using lynx(1). If textmail can’t find lynx(1), then HTML attachments are left intact. So make sure that lynx(1) is installed and in the $PATH.

PDF documents are translated into plain text using pdftotext(1). If textmail can’t find pdftotext(1), then PDF attachments are left intact. So make sure that pdftotext(1) is installed and in the $PATH.

textmail also requires perl(1) and pod2man(1) and pod2html(1) (which come with perl(1)) and mktemp(1).

If textmail fails to create a temporary directory, or if it is instructed to do nothing (i.e. -WEHRPULIAVX), then it degenerates into cat(1).

CAVEAT

The latest version of xls2csv(1) at the time of writing (i.e. catdoc-0.93.3) loses data.

If textmail is unable to create a temporary directory (in /tmp), then it degenerates into cat(1). Without a temporary directory, no attachments will be translated or deleted no matter what options (even -f) were given to textmail. So make sure that /tmp is writable. Also make sure that mktemp(1) is available otherwise an insecure temporary directory will be created.

SEE ALSO

procmail(1), antiword(1), catdoc(1), xls2csv(1), lynx(1), pdftotext(1), pod2man(1), pod2html(1), http://raf.org/minimail/

AUTHOR

20070803 raf <raf@raf.org>

URL

http://raf.org/textmail/
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