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a filter for the daily newsletter from

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  whatsnewfm 0.7.1


 (c) 2000-2009 by Christian Garbs <>
                  Joerg Plate <>
                  Dominik Brettnacher <>
                  Pedro Melo Cunha <>
                  Matthew Gabeler-Lee <>
                  Bernd Rilling <>
                  Jost Krieger <>

 Licensed under GNU GPL (see COPYING for details)


  Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Contact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  Requirements  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
  Usage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
  The configuration file  . . . . . . . .  5
  The "hot" database  . . . . . . . . . .  6
  Data import from v0.4.x . . . . . . . .  7
  Manpage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
  Download  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
  Thanks  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

     Feel free to contact the author at <>
     for any questions or suggestions.

  [1] Description

whatsnewfm is a utility to filter the daily newsletter from

The main purpose is to cut the huge newsletter to a smaller size by
only showing items that you didn't see before.

The items already seen will be stored in a database.  After some time,
the items expire and will be shown again the next time they are
included in a newsletter.

If you find an item that you consider particularly useful, you can add
it to a "hot" list.  Items in the hot list are checked for updates so
that you don't miss anything about your favourite programs.

  [2] Contact

Please contact me by email: Christian Garbs <>

If you encounter a bug, please tell me.  Known bugs will be listed in
the issue tracker and you might find a cure for it in the git
repository if I have not yet released a new version.  See [9] for
further information.

  [3] Requirements

* procmail, maildrop or something else (otherwise you will have to
  send every newsletter through the filter by hand)

* perl, sendmail or sendmail-compatible mailer

* BerkeleyDB Perl module

  [4] Usage

1) Extract the archive to a directory of your favour.

2) Copy the file "whatsnewfmrc.sample" to "~/.whatsnewfmrc" and edit
   it to your needs.  See [4] for details.

3) Add the following lines to your ~/.procmailrc to send all
   newsletters through the whatsnewfm filter:

:0 w :
* ^Subject: Freecode Daily Update:
* !^X-Loop:.*whatsnewfm
| /path/to/

   Alternatively, if you are using maildrop, you need to add something
   like this to your ~/.mailfilter:

if (/^Subject: Freecode Daily Update:/ && !/^X-Loop:.*whatsnewfm/)
  xfilter "/path/to/"

4) Add whatsnewfm to your hot database: " add whatsnewfm"

5) Check your setup by mailing the file "welcome" to yourself with
   "Freecode Daily Update: TEST" as subject:

     mail -s "Freecode Daily Update: TEST" your@email < welcome

   You should then receive an update information for the whatsnewfm
   application.  This is good.  Otherwise, there is an error in your

6) If you're not yet subscribed to the freecode newsletter, do so at

7) If one of the new applications is interesting to you, then add
   it to your "hot" database. See [6] for details.

  [5] The configuration file

The configuration file is a plain text file in your home directory
named ".whatsnewfmrc".  The location and name of the configuration
file can be changed with the -c option.  Lines beginning with "#" are
treated as comments.  Other lines consist of keywords and values:


You need to specify the following keywords:

* MAILTO=email@address
  This is the eMail address to which the filtered newsletter and the
  updates of "hot" programs are sent.

* DB_NAME=~/.whatsnewfm.db
  This is the filename where the "hot" and "old" databases are kept.

  After this time (in months) an entry from the "old" database expires.

* UPDATE_MAIL=single
  All updates of "hot" applications from one newsletter are sent
  in one single eMail.  If you would like to have a unique eMail for
  every application, set this key to "multiple" instead of "single".

* SUMMARY_AT=bottom
  Prints the summary at the bottom of a processed newsletter.  If you
  want the summary to be printed at the top, set this to "top".
  Default value is 'bottom'.

  Show a list the skipped news items (low score and already seen).
  Possible values are 'no' (no list), 'bottom' or 'top'.
  Default value is 'no'.

* MAIL_CMD=/usr/lib/sendmail
  This is the location of your sendmail command (or any command
  that can be called in the same way as sendmail).

* MAIL_OPT=-oi -t
  Your sendmail command is called with these parameters.

* SCORE=<score> <TAB> <regexp>
  This enables scoring of newsletter items (release text and
  articles).  This keyword can appear multiple times (it may also be
  omitted).  Each value consists of a score (either a negative or
  positive integer value) and a regular expression, both separated by
  a tabulator (\t).  If the regular expression is found within the
  descriptive text of a news item, the score value is added to the
  score of that news item.  Regular expressions are matched
  case-insensitive.  The news items then are listed according to their
  score values.  To learn more about perl regexps, confer the
  "perldoc perlre" help page.

* CATSCORE=<score> <TAB> <regexp>
  This works exactly like the SCORE keyword, except that not the
  release text but the Freshmeat Category fields are scored.
  Try "CATSCORE=+100<TAB>Editorial" to mark all editorial articles.

* LICSCORE=<score> <TAB> <regexp>
  This works exactly like the SCORE keyword, except that not the
  release text but the Freshmeat License fields are scored.
  Try "LICSCORE=-50<TAB>Proprietary" to score down all proprietary

* SCORE_MIN=-999
  Newsletter items with a score lower than this value will not be

If an essential keyword is missing, you will get a message like this:

 *  using default value for "MAIL_OPT"

Add the keyword to your configuration file to get rid of the message.

  [6] The "hot" database

This database contains the applications that you are interested in.
You will be informed of every update within these applications.  The
applications are identified by the "project id" that is shown in the
parsed freecode newsletter.

To see what is in the database, just may use "less" or "cat" on the
database file (although the 'view' command (see below) should be used,
that's what I wrote it for).

To edit the database, please use the whatsnewfm commands as shown
below - DON'T edit the files with a text editor.  Some strange things
might happen when you edit the database while whatsnewfm is running in
the background (your text editor won't recognize a lock on the

These examples use the project id "whatsnewfm" - in case you forgot:
That's the program you're just reading about.

To view all applications that are in the database, just type this: view

This just prints the whole database file on stdout.  If you want to
cut the output down to some entries, you can add a regular expression
to the view command (instead of using grep): view ^li

This will print all entries entries starting with "li".
The regular expression is always matched case-insensitive.

To add an application to the database, just type this: add whatsnewfm

You can enter a comment to help you remember what this application
does (good for project ids that are acronymns): add whatsnewfm Parses the freecode newsletter.

If you want to enter multiple applications (eg copy'n'paste while
reading the new freecode newsletter) you can start whatsnewfm like
this: add then reads from stdin.  Every line must begin with a
project id.  Comments might follow after a whitespace character
(space, tab or the like).  If you're finished, press CTRL-D.  All
entered applications will be added to the "hot" database.

Deleting applications is as easy as adding applications.  You can give
the project ids directly (just one or even more): del whatsnewfm

You can also give the ids on stdin (like the add command): del

This time multiple project ids are allowed on one line when they are
separated by whitespaces.

  [7] Data import from v0.4.x

To import your "hot" database from an older version, run this small
shell script.  Replace ~/ with the filename of your
"hot" database from version 0.4.x.

  while read LINE ; do
    ./ add $LINE
  done < ~/

To import your "old" database, use this Perl script.  Change
$new_database and $old_database to the filenames you actually use.

use warnings;
use strict;
use BerkeleyDB::Hash;
my $new_database = "~/.whatsnewfm.db";
my $old_database = "~/.whatsnewfm.db.old";
my $count = 0;
$new_database =~ s/^~/$ENV{HOME}/;
$old_database =~ s/^~/$ENV{HOME}/;
my $db_env = new BerkeleyDB::Env, BerkeleyDB::DB_INIT_CDB;
my %hash;
tie %hash, 'BerkeleyDB::Hash',
{ -Filename => $new_database,
  -Subname => "old",
  -Flags => BerkeleyDB::Hash::DB_CREATE
open OLD, "<$old_database" or die "can't open `$old_database': $!";
while (<OLD>) {
    my ($p, $t) = split /\t/;
    $hash{$p} = $t;
close OLD or die "can't close `$old_database': $!";
untie %hash;
print "$count old projects imported.\n";

  [8] Manpage

A manpage is included in the whatsnewfm Perl script.  You can extract
it with the pod2* commands.  For example:

  pod2text whatsnewfm.txt
  pod2html whatsnewfm.html

  [9] Download

* You can download new and old versions of whatsnewfm from these

* Unreleased development versions are available from the git

  clone:  git://

* Issue tracking is currently switchen over from ditz to github:

  [10] Thanks

* Again many thanks to everybody who informed me when the newsletter
  format changed again in March 2009.  As I lost my newsletter
  subscription during the Freshmeat relaunch, I really didn't notice

* Bernd Rilling sent a patch for the newletter format mentioned above
  (sourceforge bug #2691997, fixed in v0.7.0).

* Jost Krieger sent a patch to score the license of releases
  (included in v0.7.0).

* Dave Woolaway suggested the use of multiline regexp matches for
  scoring (sourceforge feature request #930403, included in v0.6.5).

* Matthew Gabeler-Lee <> wrote a patch to fix '=20'
  appearing in mails sent by whatsnewfm (sourceforge bug #891520,
  fixed in v0.6.4).

* scottbbbb pointed out that the sendmail options should be
  configurable (sourceforge bug #728895, fixed in v0.6.3,
  backported to v0.4.15).

* Scott reported a bug with multiline subjects within the newsletter
  (sourceforge bug #726261, fixed in v0.6.2, backported to v0.4.14).

* Josef 'Jupp' Schugt <> made some annotations to the
  expire algorithm for the 'old' database (changes included on v0.6.2
  and backported to v0.4.14).

* Roger H. Goun <rgoun at sourceforge> reported a bug in the RPMs of

* Matthias Kluwe <> discovered and fixed the warnings
  under Perl 5.8.0 (fixed in v0.4.11).  He also made some annotations
  to the README (included in v0.4.4).  

* Edelhard Becker <> was the first to inform me
  about the format change that was fixed in v0.4.10.

* Nikolaus Filus <> requested the new features in v0.4.9.

* Jost Krieger <> noticed and fixed the
  missing Categories in the 'hot' mails (fixed in v0.4.7).

* Francisco <> suggested the scoring of
  Freshmeat categories (included in v0.4.6).

* Pedro Melo Cunha <> sent a patch to move the
  newsletter summary to the top of the mail (included in v0.4.3).

* Eugen Dedu <> reported the missing Project ID in
  "hot" mails (fixed in v0.4.3).  He also suggested to include the
  comments from the "hot" database in an update notification.

* Dominik Brettnacher <> sent a patch to
  include the freshmeat editorials into the list of new applications
  (included in v0.2.5).

* Joerg Plate <> sent a patch for those annoying
  warnings with Perl 5.6 (fixed in v0.2.4).

* Piotr Sieklucki <> provided the initial
  version of the whatsnewfm RPM and .deb packages.  He also suggested
  the SCORE_MIN feature and maintained the mirror at for
  some time.

* All those people who told me that whatsnewfm didn't work any more
  when freshmeat changed the newsletter format.  Apparently someone
  really uses this piece of software :-)

* Michael Reinsch <> for keeping on asking and not being
  convinced by my wrong thoughts.  Only because of him versions beyond
  v0.0.1 do exist.
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