Archive for October, 2011

ooomailer 1.0 – More Flexible Out-of-office Replies

October 2nd, 2011

In my day job I have to deal with a huge amount of e-mails each day – most of them are not urgent, but some are. When I go for vacation or on a business trip, I need to let people know I am not available and won’t respond until I get back (and provide an alternate contact for urgent matters). These days pretty much every mail server has a “vacation message” feature, that allows you to do exactly that – supports sending automated responses to all e-mails coming to your inbox, letting others know you won’t be able to read the message before a given date. However the implementation of that feature varies from server to server.

I have several e-mail accounts on several mail servers and I found myself in a situation when I needed more flexibility in the way I set up my vacation message. Being involved in several open source projects and subscribed to many open mailing lists, I needed to make sure I don’t spam those lists or users of those lists (who may not know me) with my vacation auto-replies. Even people I do want to notify don’t need to get my auto-reply to every message that reaches me – notification once in several days is good enough. And I needed to customize the vacation message for internal recipients (e.g. providing links to internal resources) and have it slightly more detailed than the auto-replies that go to external people.

So, a couple of months back, the weekend before my summer vacation I sat down and implemented a simple utility that provides me with this flexibility. Since then I used it several times, fixed a few issues, and Alexis (a colleague of mine) contributed some more improvements. At this point I am pretty confident the tool works smoothly, so decided to release version 1.0. Give it a try if you are in a similar situation – the tool and the source code are available at