Whither procmail?


I was astonished to read in the “March” newsletter that there will be no new mailboxes associated with shell account users. To my knowledge, that means no more procmail, which means no more customized spamassassin,
no more “Double-Pass Spam Filtering with Gmail,” or any other kind of automated mail handling for new users.

I did send a message to support to ask how they plan to remedy that.


Good point. After reading the newsletter, I thought “There goes a feature I never use anyway.” Now I remember that I set up a double-pass filter for my wife’s email. It’d be nice if they add some procmail-like filter in the mailboxes panel.



I opened a support ticket, and I got a response saying that the DreamHost maildir feature was discontinued, but grandfathered for existing shell accounts.

For me, this means that my new users cannot do things like sa-learn.

Can anybody suggest a way to automatically run SpamAssassin against a large number of IMAP-only accounts?


If this is the case, then I hope that they are planning on improving their standard spam filtering mechanism (more recent SpamAssassin installation, Bayes support, etc.) in addition to having filtering.

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Yeah I can’t believe this crap either. I sent a support ticket in as well and got the response basically saying, oh yeah that won’t be an option anymore sorry about that.

I think this might be the last unprofessional email I can tolerate from Dreamhost. Honestly this was a HUGE feature there is a TON of spam coming in now and Dreamhost’s crappy spam filter offering is foo.

I updated the dreamhost wiki to reflect the lack of support for this feature now.

This is Total Crap!


Which I reverted. The changes were inaccurate and laced with personal opinion.

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Of course I would expect nothing less.


I recognize that tone. Can this be my old friend? Have you returned to bring merriment to our forum and warmth to our hearts? Is it really you?

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No I don’t think we have met before. I only meant that to convey that I would expect nothing less of a DH employee.

I just don’t understand why DH continually promises a service, procmail in this case, and then removes it without any compensation to those who entered year long contracts with the expectation that this service would continue. I think the proper thing to do would have been to provide current users with notice of a change in the services provided under the contract. Such as 30-60 days notice.


Who said I was a DreamHost employee? I’m an independent web designer and college instructor, and I have no affiliation with DreamHost other than I think they’re awesome.

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To follow up on my own post, Dreamhost support replied:

“The plan is to make the Keyword Filter section of our panel more robust
so [sic] mimic many common procmail jobs . Regretfully there won’t be any
direct access for users to create and maintain your own procmail. We
understand that this is a bit of a step backwards as far as our long
known open access, but it’s a bit of a necessary evil if we are going to
proceed with a new paradigm to allow for more reliable mail.”

Or in other words: “Sorry, you’re S.O.L.”

Of course additional keyword filters won’t even begin to replace the capability and power of procmail invoking a script to do interesting things with incoming email. So, instead of an efficient, well understood, reliable, event-driven system to interact with incoming email, you will have to cobble together some Rube Goldberg-ish mechanism to poll a mailbox via IMAP or POP at regular intervals. Not very efficient. Not very pretty.



I completely agree even with the DH sentiments. It is a major step backwards.


Don’t be a dick.

Hey I understand you are/were upset. You rushed out and made an inaccurate and POV laced change to the wiki, and it got reverted. That’s the way wiki’s work; scjessey is not a DreamHost employee, so your retort here is as ignorant as it is unecessry. :wink:

It might help you to understand why they made this change if you re-read the newsletter announcement. An explanation was offered.

As far as “continuously promises a service” and “entered year long contracts” a re-read of your TOS might also be in order - you might want to get someone to help you understand that if it is confusing.

I agree that such notice might have been a better way to approach this change, and that your feelings on that are understandable - maybe you would be more successful at communicating your feelings if you had approached the matter from this perspective in the first place.

At any rate, as I read the announcement, it doesn’t look to me as though this will affect any users you have already established in the slightest - only new users going forward, so you are not really undergoing any change at all to your existing service.

If this won’t work for you going forward, then of course you have other options. :wink:



Yeah, this is a really important change for some who want to retain that capability for new users.

Apparently DH sees that loss of functionality as a fair trade for increased stability gained gained by further decentralizing and segregating server services, but I don’t doubt this disappoints and frustrates some.



What’s really questionable here is that, if I understand correctly, first they disallow Procmail, then they plan on improving their own filters. The other way around would probably make customers feel better.

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This is troubling for me as well. I use procmail (and spamassassin) heavily. That ability was a primary factor in my selection of Dreamhost (I say that to stress the importance, not because I’m one of the hyperbole spewing DH haters).

I understand the reasons for the change, but isn’t there a way that DH could continue to offer the old-type of account as an option? Since they are grandfathering existing accounts, it must be technically possible. How about a checkbox that says “Create shell accessible mailbox (less reliable, but allows use of procmail)”?

Please consider this - it really is an important option to some (many?) of us loyal DH supporters/customers. Please don’t deprecate the features that make Dreamhost stand out from other providers!


If it’s not in the Suggestion box, why not add it?



Thanks - I had completely forgotten about the suggestion box. Unfortunately, DH won’t let anyone make a suggestion until they have pre-screened 10 other suggestions for them. Right now, there are only three available for pre-screening and I’m not really qualified to answer the pre-screening questions on them (BTW - I think this policy will lead to bogus pre-screening just so people can get past their requirement).

Scott - Are you in a position to make the suggestion? If you are and wouldn’t mind, I would appreciate it. For your convenience, here is the suggestion:

“Create “maildir” option to allow use of procmail”

"User accounts, as of apx. 2008-04-08, no longer have the option of creating an e-mail account with local storage. Prior to 2008-04-08, email was stored in a maildir subfolder, which allowed the use of procmail, SpamAssassin, scripted forwarding/autoreplies and many other advanced features. All new e-mail addresses are being created on a different system in order to improve reliability, but at the expense of advanced / scripted processing.

Please add a panel option to create a local “maildir” style e-mail account (legacy-style e-mail account) when creating a new User account."

Thank you!


I’ve never prescreened, so I guess I should start.

edit: I prescreened the three already there. They’re pretty easy, as the cache one has already been suggested. The RoundCube one doesn’t make sense, as it’s a beta setup and not domain specific, and the Pine->Alpine makes sense because Alpine is the current version of Pine.



Thanks for the info. I’ll get my prescreenign started too.

Anyone else watching this thread who can submit the suggestion above? At the very least, I’ll pre-screen it to bring it up for a vote! :slight_smile:

Edit: NM - Once I cleared all pending suggetions, I was allowed to make one. I submitted the above. Please pre-screen this as either “Very easy and DH should just do it” or to bring it to a vote (implementation difficulty s/b very easy since it’s how things used to work and all the scripts already exist)