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Where to nice fetching mail?

I have a cron job that runs every half an hour to grab my waiting email
and whatever usenet messages are applicable for the groups I am reading.
The trouble is that once it starts the system load increases rapidly (to
anywhere from 3 to 5) and causes any other process I am running to stall
until it has finished its course. 

It is beginning to frustrate me. I know the simple solution is to buy more
RAM but with my computer budget basically in negative figures when it
comes to my wife's point of view I need to explore any other options

I was wondering the other day if it was possible to reduce the paralyzing
load by nicing the process somewhere, but I have doubts and am wondering
if it will really help and if so, where to do it. 

My system: kernel 2.0.32 (the latest pre-patch), latest Debian unstable,
Intel 486-dx2 running at 50Mhz, 16M RAM, 26M Swap.

I have diald setup to logon via ppp over a 14.4 modem. The process to pop
my email: fetchmail -> sendmail -> procmail in .forward -> and finally
using rcvstore to split my mail into whatever mh folder it should go into.

Also around that time (I really should put them in sequence rather than in
parallel) leafnode connects to my ISP's news server via fetch.

Thanks for any help.
The AtticKeeper: Rev. David Morris
mailto: bweaver@netins.net
Leap and the net will appear -- unknown
Nerdnosh Attic: http://www.netins.net/showcase/nerdnosh
Lectionary Page: http://www.netins.net/showcase/dmorris/

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