SUMMARY (Repost) URGENT: /var/spool/mail export problems

From: Tim Evans (
Date: Thu Jan 25 1996 - 09:56:50 CST

I sent the following on Monday, but they seem not to have gotten
out the door. Sorry if this is a repeat for anyone.

>From tkevans Mon Jan 22 09:47:16 1996
Subject: SUMMARY: URGENT: /var/spool/mail export problems
To: sun-managers
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 09:47:16 -0500 (EST)
X-Mailer: ELM [version 2.5 PL0a8]
Content-Length: 2607
Earlier, I wrote (to both these mailing lists):
>I've just replaced my main mail-handling machine (a Sun) with an
>IBM RS/6000. /var/spool/mail on the new machine is exported via
>the automounter. All my other RS/6000's can see/mount the
>mail spool, and users have no trouble reading mail.
>Sun users, however, can see/mount the mailspool, but get locking
>errors on trying to read their mail.
>/etc/exports on the mailhost says:
>/var/spool/mail -access=mount:trust,root=host1:host2
>(mount and trust are netgroups)
>The automounter map entry for the filesystem is:
>mail -rw,grpid,noquota,soft,intr
>Help much appreciated. Thanks.
Thanks to:
Morrow Long <long-morrow@CS.YALE.EDU>
"Michael S. Fischer" <> (Andy Feldt)
Zhiyi Huang <> (Kevin Sheehan {Consulting Poster Child})
Nate Itkin <>
"James J. Waldram" <waldram@cat.Uwyo.EDU>
David Hawes <>

Besides one scathing message, taking me to task for using an NFS mail
spool in the first place, the other replies were mostly helpful.
It's always great for people on these mailing lists to tell you
you're an idiot when you ask for substantive help. :-)
It turns out that the main problem (which James Waldram identified)
came from merging the Sun and AIX /etc/group files. (The replaced Sun
system was also our master NIS server; I neglected to point this out
in my original posting.)
Specifically, several of the standard groups in SunOS and AIX,
including 'mail,' have different gid's. Merging the two /etc/group files left
the new AIX system with incorrect group ownership on mail-related files and
directories. This caused the inability of Sun MUA's (OpenWindows
and CDE mailtool, as well as command-line packages like 'mailx'
and 'elm') to be unable to create lock files in the mail spool.
AIX users, of course, could happily read their mail with no
Morrow suggested adding 'acttimeo=0' to the automounter map entry
for the mail spool, and Kevin suggested removing the 'soft'
flag. Nate was generally critical of IBM's implementation of NFS
server services, suggesting Sun's was better; he even expressed
the belief that an x86 Solaris machine would probably be a better
NFS server than the RS/6000.

Tim Evans                     |    E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.  |    Experimental Station
(302) 695-9353/8638 (FAX)     |    P.O. Box 80357
EVANSTK AT A1 AT ESVAX        |    Wilmington, Delaware 19880-0357

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