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Email Automation

Most of the received emails require repetitive actions that can be automated, and you may also want to access your emails through a command line interface and be able to search through them.

One of the ways to achieve that goals is to use a combination of tools to synchronize the mailboxes, tag them, and run scripts automatically based on the tags.


First you need a program that syncs your mailboxes, following pazz's advice , I'll use mbsync. Follow the steps under installation to configure your accounts, taking as an example an account called lyz you should be able to sync all your emails with:

mbsync -V lyz

Now we need to install notmuch a tool to index, search, read, and tag large collections of email messages. Follow the steps under installation under you have created the database that indexes your emails.

Once we have that, we need a tool to tag the emails following our desired rules. afew is one way to go. Follow the steps under installation.

The remaining step to keep the inboxes synced and tagged is to run all the steps above in a cron. Particularize pazz's script for your usecase:

# Download and index new mail.
# Copyright (c) 2017 Patrick Totzke
# Dependencies: flock, nm-online, mbsync, notmuch, afew
# Example crontab entry:
#   */2 * * * * /usr/bin/flock -n /home/pazz/.pullmail.lock /home/pazz/bin/ > /home/pazz/.pullmail.log


# this makes the keyring daemon accessible
function keyring-control() {
        local -a vars=( \
                DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS \
                GNOME_KEYRING_CONTROL \
                GNOME_KEYRING_PID \
                XDG_SESSION_COOKIE \
                GPG_AGENT_INFO \
                SSH_AUTH_SOCK \
        local pid=$(ps -C i3 -o pid --no-heading)
        eval "unset ${vars[@]}; $(printf "export %s;" $(sed 's/\x00/\n/g' /proc/${pid//[^0-9]/}/environ | grep $(printf -- "-e ^%s= " "${vars[@]}")) )"

function log() {
    notify-send -t 2000  'mail sync:' "$@"

function die() {
    notify-send -t 2000 -u critical 'mail sync:' "$@"
    exit 1

# Let's Do stuff

# abort as soon as something fails
set -e

# abort if not online
nm-online -x -t 0

echo ---------------------------------------------------------
for accfile in `ls $ACCOUNTDIR`;
    ACC=$(basename $accfile)
    echo ------------------------  $ACC   ------------------------
    mbsync -V $ACC || log "$ACC failed"

# index and tag new mails
echo ------------------------ NOTMUCH ------------------------
notmuch new 2>/dev/null || die "NOTMUCH new failed"

echo ------------------------  AFEW   ------------------------
afew -v --tag --new || die "AFEW died"

echo ---------------------------------------------------------
echo "all done, goodbye."

Where flock is a tool to manage locks from shell scripts.

And add the entry in your crontab -e.

If you want to process your emails with this system through a command line interface, you can configure alot.

Last update: 2021-08-20