Luke Melia


January 6, 2005

Mailing lists with Bloglines & procmail

I love the Bloglines feature that lets you subscribe to a mailing list using a generate address. It’s much more manageable for me to read email newsletters in an RSS reader than in my email client. In a New Years-inspired organizational frenzy, I decided to take advantage of this feature to streamline what I had to deal with in my Inbox.

Two problems. First, I’d have to unsubscribe and then resubscribe using the new address I create for the list. Second, for interactive lists where I mostly read but sometimes want to post, I want to read in Bloglines but be able to post as luke [at]

I came up with an elegant solution to the problem by using procmail. The usefulness of this post is limited to those with fairly sophisticated email setups. I host my mail along with this site at Pair Networks, which fortunately lets you get fairly sophisticated.

Anyway, I already have my mail routed through procmail, so I just added a recipe for each of my lists. If procmail sees that a message is from a mailing list (using criteria I specify, like a particular From address or a subject token), it forwards the message to the bloglines address I specify and discards it. Example recipe:

# filter Rude Awakening newsletter
* ^From:.*

This avoids lock-in to bloglines (not that I don’t love it, but lock-in is not cool…) and makes it easy to start receiving the mail in my inbox again if I choose to without resubscribing.

One Response to “Mailing lists with Bloglines & procmail”

  1. Luke Melia » The Interruption Problem chimed in:

    […] Speaking of email, I’ve done my best to make sure the only email arriving in my inbox is the type of communication that I consider appropriate for email. What’s appropriate? Messages that someone wrote with me individually in mind. Using procmail and Bloglines, I route email newsletters into my bloglines account so I can read them in the context of my RSS subscriptions — all information that I’m interested in but was not written by someone for me specifically. […]

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