[CentOS] Lost mail

Mikael Fridh mikael.fridh at its.uu.se
Tue Jul 1 07:26:05 UTC 2008

On Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 12:08:03PM -0700, nate wrote:
> Anne Wilson wrote:
> > I did an update yesterday evening, and didn't spot that it had changed
> > permissions on my .procmailrc.  Consequently no mail came in after that.
> > I've been out most of today, so just got it fixed, but what will have
> > happened to the mail for the missing period?  Maillog just shows that
> > messages have been passed to procmail.  Procmail won't run if the perms are
> > wrong, so where do the messages go?
> $HOME/dead.letter ?

A _sane_ delivery agent would definately return a temporary error (4xx)
either to it's own internal queue, or return the error to the connecting MTA.
The mail would in that case survive for a queueing period which is
usually 5 to 7 days.

But, when it comes to procmail, it might depend on your invocation:

       On general failure procmail will return EX_CANTCREAT, unless
option -t is specified, in which case it will return EX_TEMPFAIL.

Are you using sendmail or some other mda?

Investigating sendmail source you'll find:

 *      EX_CANTCREAT -- A (user specified) output file cannot be
 *              created.

 *      EX_TEMPFAIL -- temporary failure, indicating something that
 *              is not really an error.  In sendmail, this means
 *              that a mailer (e.g.) could not create a connection,
 *              and the request should be reattempted later.


                  case EX_NOINPUT:
                  case EX_CANTCREAT:
                  case EX_NOPERM:
                        status = "5.3.0";

Unfortunately, for you, if -t was left out, it would mean a 5xx error code
- permanent error - and a /dev/null of your email.


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