pop3browser(1) small perl script to access POP3 mail accounts


pop3browser is a perl script that uses libnet-perl to give access to POP3 mail accounts without fetching the messages.

pop3browser can be used to delete unwanted mails (SPAM), especially when they come with large attachments, before downloading them over low-bandwidth connections. The --limit option of fetchmail is very useful to filter such large mails which can then be inspected with pop3browser.

The program supports normal POP3 authentication and APOP.


pop3browser welcomes you with a short copyright note and a command line prompt. The settings for a mailbox (host, password etc.) have to be specified in a configuration file (similar to fetchmail). pop3browser understands the following commands:
list available hosts specified in .pop3browserrc
login n
log into host no. n, use 'hosts' to get a list of available hosts
o(pen) n
same as login
apop n
same as login but uses APOP
delete messages marked for deletion and close current connection
list sizes and message numbers of the mails on the account
s(how) n
show header and some body lines of mail number n

 list message number, size, sender and subject for each mail
d(elete) n
delete mail number n
undel(ete) n
undelete mail number n
k(ill) expr
delete mails matching expr in header
u(nkill) expr
undelete mails matching expr in header
delete messages marked for deletion and quit program
same as quit
print a command summary


The definitions for a mailbox are specified in ~/.pop3browserrc. One line per mailbox. Lines starting with # are ignored. Each definition must be in the following form:.br hostname <tab or space> userid <tab or space> password <tab or space> protocol (optional)

For example:
#definition for [email protected]
#pop-server             UID passwd protocol

pop.foo.com             bar s3cr3t apop

#end of definition

Recognised options for the protocol are pop3 and apop. If no protocol is specified the command login/open assumes pop3. The command apop ignores the protocol option.

To override the default header-filter of the show command you can specify a custom set of keywords in ~/.pop3browserrc. Lines starting with "@headpattern" or "@bodylines" are parsed by pop3browser. Settings for the header-filter must be in the following form:
@headpattern <tab or space> = <tab or space> "<keyword1>","<keyword2>",....
The filter keywords are matched against the start of a header line.
Settings for the number of body lines to show, have to be in the following form:
@bodylines <tab or space> = <tab or space> <Number>
@headpatterns = "From:","To:","Subject:","Date:","CC"
@bodylines = 10

The file ~/.pop3browserrc must only be readable for the owning user. pop3browser corrects other file modes automatically.


Christoph Baumann <[email protected]>


Jorrit 'J"o' Fahlke, for his overhaul of the config file parser
Takeshi Hamasaki, for the headpattern patch