Summary: elm error messages - how to fix it?

From: Jianguo Sun (
Date: Sun Mar 30 1997 - 23:31:18 CST

My posted question was:
> One of my users could not use elm to view his email. When he typed
> elm, the error message:
> Reading in /var/mail/michaelb, message: 30
> newmbox - length of mbox. != spool mailbox length!!
> Write to temp file failed, exiting leaving mailbox intact!
> It looks like the mailbox crushed but I can view it from root by
> using elm like: elm -f /var/mail/michaelb.

The answers are:
<> wrote:
See that there will be more swap and tmp.
Also the problem can occur because of a corrupt mail in the mail box.

Einar Indridason <>:
View the mailbox in question with an editor. What does the absolute first
line say?
It should say something like:
>From user@hostname Wed Mar 27 13:11 GMT 1996

If not, then you might have an old version of elm, that occasionally
corrupted the first line.
It also might be a conflight in file-locking....
What is the output of "elm -v"? What locking mechanism does it use?

What is the local-delivery program? (If you are using sendmail search for
Mlocal in
Make sure that the local-delivery program and elm are using the same kind
of file-locks.

Where is the temporary mailbox kept? Is it stored as /tmp/username.mbox or
is it stored as $HOME/.username.mbox? (And does the relevant disk have
enough space to store the mailbox?)

Does that user in question have quota? Is the quota full or is there still
space for that user?

     Is your /tmp directory mounted on your swap space? Is either /tmp or swap
     full? There's an article on adding swap on the fly in sunworldonline a
     couple of months ago. Here's how to add some swap space on an existing
     file system:

     mkfile <size in Megabytes>m /mounted/directory/SWAP
     swap -a /mounted/directory/SWAP

     use swap -l to verify that it was added.

     You can add raw swap space by partitioning it, and adding it to the vfstab:
     /dev/dsk/c#t#d#s# - - swap - no -

If you have a SPARC system and you mount more than one swap partition
there's a fix for /tmp permissions. It's not necessary for an UltraSparc.

Thanks for all your help.


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