deliver - deliver mail to a mailbox or maildir spool
deliver [--umask[=val]] destination1 [destination2 ...]
Takes a mail message on standard input, and delivers it to one or more
destination mailboxes. If a destination ends with a "/" character, it
is interpreted as a qmail maildir format directory (which will be
created if it doesn’t already exist). Otherwise, if the destination
does not end with a "/" character, it is interpreted as a Unix mbox
If one of the mailboxes is specified as -, deliver will send a copy of
the message to its standard output after generating the appropriate
"From " and "Return-Path:" lines, if necessary. This is useful when
piping messages to programs from avenger.local(8) scripts, as
avenger.local does not generate any "From " or "Return-Path: " lines,
while deliver will generate these based on the SENDER environment
If deliver cannot seek on its standard input, it will first copy
the message to a temporary file before attempting any deliveries.
Usually this only occurs when deliver is being fed the output of
another program through a pipe. The --copy option forces copying
regardless of whether deliver could rewind the file pointer.
This option enables fcntl (a.k.a. POSIX) file locking of mail
spools, in addition to flock and dotfile locking. The advantage of
fcntl locking is that it may do the right thing over NFS. However,
if either the NFS client or server does not properly support fcntl
locking, or if the file system is not mounted with the appropriate
options, fcntl locking can fail in one of several ways. It can
allow different processes to lock the same file concurrently--even
on the same machine. It can simply hang when trying to acquire a
lock, even if no other process holds a lock on the file. Also, on
some OSes it can interact badly with flock locking, because those
OSes actually implement flock in terms of fcntl.
By default, if deliver can rewind its standard input, it will do so
before reading the message. This lets scripts more easily run
several commands over their standard input when that input is a
file. For example, a shell script might do the following:
if test YES = "`formail -cxz X-Spam-Status:`"; then
The --norewind inhibits that behavior, so that the above script
would likely give unintended results. --norewind is useful for
testing scripts that aren’t supposed to assume they are getting
input from a file.
By default, deliver creates all files and directories with a umask
value of 077--meaning files are not readable or writeable by
others. The --umask option tells deliver to keep whatever umask it
was invoked with. The --umask=val option tells deliver to use a
umask of val. Note that to specify val in octal, you must prefix
it with a 0, so the default is equivalent to --umask=077, but not
The following environment variable affects deliver’s operation.
Specifies the envelope sender (bounce address) of the message. For
maildir format mailboxes, the sender will be included in a
"Return-Path:" header. For mbox format mailboxes, the sender is
reflected in the first line, which will contain "From SENDER ...".
If SENDER is unspecified, deliver will attempt to extract it from
the first line of the message, if that line begins "From " or
"Return-Path:". Otherwise, the sender will probably be incorrectly
Using avenger.local, to set up an address as a spam trap that reports
any messages it receives as spam, you might place the following in the
appropriate .avenger/local file:
| deliver - | spamassassin -r
If you want to reject spam messages during SMTP transactions using
spamassassin, but still want to keep a copy of the spams in
$HOME/Mail/spam-log to keep an eye on how spamassassin is doing, you
might place the line "bodytest $HOME/.avenger/spam-check", and write
the spam-check shell script as follows:
edinplace -x 111 spamassassin -e 100
case "$?" in
echo Sorry, spamassassin has flagged this message as spam
echo Sorry, spamassassin has encountered a temporary error
echo Sorry, spamassassin exited witn an unknown status
Note here that the bodytest script does not need to pipe the message
through "deliver -" before spamassassin, because bodytest’s standard
input does contain "From " and "Return-Path:" lines, even though
avenger.local command input does not.
avenger(1), dotlock(1), mailexec(1), avenger.local(8)
The Mail Avenger home page: <http://www.mailavenger.org/>.
When delivering to multiple destinations, if one of them fails, deliver
will halt with a non-zero exit status. However, it is not possible to
know which destination caused the delivery failure.
To protect against concurrent accesses to mbox format files, deliver
uses both flock and dotfiles to lock mailboxes. However, it does not
use fcntl/lockf-style locking by default. Thus, if your mail reader
exclusively uses fcntl for locking, there will be race conditions
unless you specify the --fcntl option.