Simeon Franklin

Blog :: Pydelatt

21 December 2009

Part of what I do for my clients is manage their software/hardware infrastructure. Most of my clients are not large enough to have dedicated sys-admin staff so in addition to wearing the software developer hat I sometimes get to wear the sysadmin hat as well. This is not always a good thing and sometimes I end up writing software (what I like to do) to fix a sys-admin style problem (the stuff I don't like to deal with).

So recently a colocated box I manage for a real estate company started to run low on disk space. The main culprit was the the mailbox accounts - realtors frequently mail large documents (pictures, contracts, flyers, etc) and most of the mail accounts had a gig or two of mail. I decided to set a policy of deleting old attachments and looked for a tool to accomplish this task.

No luck - Dan Born's Delatt looked like it would do what I wanted but I couldn't actually get it to work. This was probably my fault but trying to figure out what wasn't working meant debugging Perl. Not my favorite language, and more to the point my Perl chops are about a decade rusty now. So I wrote a tool in python to do what I want. Pydelatt accepts a maildir filename and strips out any attachments whose mime type is not text/*.

All the usual caveats apply (use at your own risk, attachments are deleted irrecoverably and user error may cause your hair to burst into flame) but I'm using it as a policy tool (`find -mtime 120 -size +3M | xargs -ix 'x'`) tool and I've successfully run it on a couple hundred gigs of email without incident for a month now...

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