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... make my Mozilla bounce

(c) 2003 Hans-Georg Eßer <h.g.esser [at]>
release: 0.1
date: 2003/06/08
license: GPL (see


MailBounce adds a bounce (redirect) feature to Mozilla/Netscape (and possibly other mail clients) that does the same as the bounce feature of console mail clients such as mutt. When a mail is bounced, its content isn't touched or marked with ">", and the From: address isn't changed either - so a reply to a bounced mail will go to the original mail sender, not to the bouncing person.

Bouncing is a variation of forwarding, the main difference is that a forwarded mail is always significantly different from the original mail, while the bounced mail tries to stay as close to the original as possible.

To bounce a mail can be useful e.g. in companies where support or other requests are collected in a central mail folder and then manually bounced (instead of forwarded) to experts who are going to deal with the mails.




  1. Sendmail or a similar MTA must be installed locally and setup in a way that it can send external mails (i.e., you might have to configure it to handle SMTP-AUTH, see e.g. (german) or the english version [[ sorry: links were broken when I checked them on 2006/08/30 -- that is a Suse-Novell-transition problem ]]
  2. You must have Mozilla/Netscape (or whatever other mail client you want to use with bounce) configured to send mails through the local mail server (localhost:25). It must also be configured to send mails as attachments.
    Depending on how the mail is attached by the mail client, this tool might break. I've only tested it against Mozilla 1.4.
  3. This script was tested on SuSE Linux 8.2 with Python 2.2.2 installed, but older Python versions might do as well. In any case, Python is required since this is a Python script ;)


For a quick setup become root and execute

in this directory. This will do three things:
  1. It will copy to /usr/local/bin.
  2. It will create a new user account bounce which will be later used to forward mails to.
  3. It will copy bounce.forward to ~bounce/.forward.


Once the script is installed, you can use MailBounce this way: Select a mail you want to bounce, click the "Forward mail" button (mail must be forwarded as attachment), set To: field to "bounce@localhost" and put the recipient of the bounced mail into a Reply-To: field. Set no further To:, Cc:, Bcc:, etc. fields.

When you click "Send", the mail will be sent to bounce@localhost. Sendmail will pick up the .forward file and run the mail through, which in turn will extract the attached mail and change some of the header fields:

  1. The From: header gets an addition of (by way of YOUR NAME) so that a recipient will see that the mail was bounced and by who.
  2. The To: header gets the address you provided in the Reply-To: header (which is being removed from the outgoing mail).
  3. An Apparently-To: header is created, showing the original To: address of the mail that was bounced.


This is certainly a very early release. I wanted a bounce feature for Mozilla, I checked the Mozilla feature requests and found Apparently the bounce feature isn't implemented yet, so I created a quick and dirty solution. It hasn't been tested anywhere except for my own machine, and it was only tested with a few sample e-mails - it worked well enough for me.

I shall happily integrate any improvements, corrections, or enhancements (e.g. support different types of forwarding, etc.).

If someone comes up with a better way than forwarding the mail with to:bounce and reply-to:bounce-recipient (which isn't really a natural choice), I'll be happy to hear about that as well.

It is poorly documented, but with there only being very few lines of code I thought it mostly obvious what's happening.

Author and project homepage:

Mail: Hans-Georg Eßer <h.g.esser [at]>, 2003/06/08
My comment: If you find this tool useful, let me know :)

Last modified: Sun Jun 8 01:56:22 CEST 2003

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