spliff:  it's what's for dinner

by Justin R. Miller

[News] [Screenshots] [Features] [Todo] [Requirements] [Download] [Installation] [Why?] [Perl/Tk] [Feedback]

spliff is a GUI mail watcher (written in Perl/Tk) inspired by TkRat's Watcher utility. It will watch your mail and display various header information from your most recent messages.

Latest News

Just released spliff 1.0.1, a quick bugfix release to accomodate non-alphanumeric characters in the username and password. Thanks to Maik (Dark.Knight@topmail.de) for the tip!

On the practical side, I have two sounds that might be of interest to spliff users. The first is a bell that is actually the sound that I use with my spliff. The second is myself and two friends saying "spliff" in our goofiest voices simultaneously. The amazing part is that it isn't edited in any way and sounds pretty damn funny. At least we think so. You can find it here.

Gratuitous Screenshots

main window

preferences window

Current Features

Todo List


Besides the obvious Perl requirement, you will also need these modules:

You can obtain these at your local CPAN. I've heard, but not yet confirmed, that you can install a particular module by typing 'perl -MCPAN -e install Mail::Cclient' or whatever module and following the directions. I would think that this have to be done as root. Also, the latest stable release of the Perl/Tk bindings is Tk800.015; I've had major X stability problems with later versions.


A changelog is available here. You can view spliff's freshmeat page here.


You can rename the script if you wish and there are no command line arguments to pass to it. You should only have to chmod 0755 it and copy it someplace like /usr/local/bin to make it available to users. The first time you run spliff, it will bring up the preferences utility to help you get started.

Why Write This Thingy?

I am an avid user of virtual desktops and I hate having to switch to my "Mail" one all the time to check my mail (with Netscape Communicator, by the way). I wanted a small utility that could be omnipresent and out of the way. I don't like ordinary count indicators because I get a lot of script-generated email that I'm not necessarily concerned with at the moment, so I like to see what the new messages are all about.

Why Use Perl/Tk?

I'll be honest: I know only enough C/C++ to output some text and monkey around with user input. However, I've been using Perl extensively for several years and wanted to write something with a GUI instead of the web applications I've been writing in Perl/PHP for some time. I found a good book on Perl/Tk and went to work one night.

Please give feedback!

I would appreciate any feedback you might have about spliff, especially bug reports or feature ideas. Go easy on me; this is the first piece of software I've ever released for public consumption ;-) I also think a cool logo is in order if you've got any artistic motivation.

Feel free to visit my homepage.

Justin R. Miller / justin@openup.com /