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dealing with inbox clutter

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On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 09:42:13 -0500 (EST)
Mike Gorse <mgorse at> wrote:

> I find that my inbox tends to accumulate messages and become bloated
> over time, and a lot of the email I get is time-specific (ie, about an
> event that will happen on a certain date or something that needs to be
> done by a certain date).  So it would be nice if I could make messages
> expire by a certain date and have them automatically removed from my
> inbox after that date has passed.  (I don't mean this in a digital
> rights management sense but something I could set on a message I've
> received.)  Do any mail clients have a feature that will do this?  I
> was thinking about trying to set my computer up so that I could, say,
> forward a message to expire-20040301 and have it go into a file along
> with a note saying that it should be deleted on the 1st, and then
> having a cron script that would look through the file and the inbox
> and delete things that have expired.  Of course, I have no idea how
> difficult this would be (I know practically nothing about configuring
> sendmail or anything else, but then it seems like it would be a good
> time to learn.)  Or can anyone suggest an easier way to do it?
Some email programs will sort the mail by date, and you can select and
delete a bunch of messages at once. The automatic solution is more

Since you are using a single mbox file rather than maildir or mh
folders, so it is a bit more complicated. An mbox is a monolithic flat
file containing messages.

What you want is a script that locks the mbox file
(/var/spool/mail/<your user name>), then scans the file for mail meeting
your criteria, and then removes it from the mbox file, possibly creating
a trash file for you to check. 

MH and Maildir formats are a bit more flexible. 

- -- 
Jerry Feldman <gaf at>
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