Quicklinks: get the bbdb | mailing lists | links | manual | FAQ | project home | freshmeat entry
The Insidious Big Brother Database (BBDB) is a contact management utility created by Jamie Zawinski for use with Emacs. For many years it was maintained by Waider. Since February 2007 BBDB is maintained by Robert Widhopf-Fenk.
It is tightly integrated with several mail and news readers (see below), allowing it to create database entries directly from mail and news messages. As is usual with applications for Emacs, this record creation can be configured in many ways, ranging from a boolean create/don't create setting to creation based on the result of a user-supplied function.
Database records can be used to store many types of information, from name and address to URLs and X-Face images. This information can be displayed when a message from an entity named in a database record is recieved. In addition, messages from database members can be tagged in the Gnus Summary Buffer, and Gnus scoring can be configured based on the contents of database records. Supercite citations can even be preset through the use of records in the BBDB.
The BBDB can be used without a mail- or news-reader. It has, however, been optimized for use with one.
BBDB 2.35 is the current stable released version, released on January 30, 2007.
The current development version, 2.36, is the head of the CVS tree. If you wish to try it out, you should check it out with CVS as described below.
The development and release versions are available via Anon-CVS
to the CVS tree at
bbdb.cvs.sourceforge.net. To access the
tree, log in with the following command:
cvs -d :pserver:firstname.lastname@example.org:/cvsroot/bbdb loginThe password is blank; just hit return at the prompt. To check out a version of the BBDB, use one of the following commands:
cvs -d :pserver:email@example.com:/cvsroot/bbdb checkout bbdb cvs -d :pserver:firstname.lastname@example.org:/cvsroot/bbdb checkout -r rev bbdb
The first command will check out a copy of the latest version. Usually this latest version will be a development version, but it may fetch a release version if the command is executed soon enough after a release version is made available.
The second command allows control of the version retrieved, through
-r rev argument. The
rev portion of the
argument should be replaced with a word of the form:
x and yy are components of the version to be
retrieved, as in x.yy.
unoff should be appended to the
above word for all versions prior to 2.00.
-r BBDB_1_90unoffTo retrieve version 2.34, use the following argument:
You may browse HTML version of the texinfo
manual that accompanies BBDB, which is generated by
There are two mailing lists for the BBDB:
SourceForge has built-in archiving which didn't initially seem to be working, but is apparently okay now. You can find this linked off the project home on SourceForge.
subscribeas the body. You will receive a reply requesting confirmation of your subscription; return the confirmation as described in the email, and you're on the list. Alternatively you can visit the list signup page, linked from the project page.
Several people have been hacking at BBDB and have pages describing what they're at. Please check which version of BBDB they apply to before attempting to use them!
bbdb-print, which is now in CVS.
bitssubdirectory in the source tree contains random bits and pieces that I've collected but not integrated, including a generic export filter of sorts and PGP and Outlook integration/interaction. Please note that at least some of this hasn't been modfied to work with versions later than 2.00.06.