Summary:"mail: cannot open savefile"

From: Ramakanth Munipalli (
Date: Sun Aug 17 1997 - 19:13:18 CDT

Hello all:
Thanks to all that replied to my earlier querry about
the error message from Solaris when you use /bin/mail.
The statement of the problem:
I was using /var/spool/mail from a LINUX machine
mounted on /var/mail of a solaris machine.
When i use /bin/mail and read my mail and delete
everything, instead of quitting normally, it says:
"mail: cannot open savefile"

I recieved suggestions to create a directory :saved
in /var/mail with permissions to 775.
As it happens, the following was my exact problem:

1. The mail directory was owned by the group daemon,
and this was to have been changed to the group mail,
across the network.
2. When I did a "truss mail" and saw the trace of
this command, I saw the line:
chown("/var/mail/:saved/ramakant", 238, 12) Err#1 EPERM
where, 238 is my uid and 12 is the gid of mail.
3. This obviously implies that the process, which was
running under the gid of the user is not able to chown a temporary
"savefile" to the gid of mail, and this is solved
trivially by setting mail as a secondary group of each
So the answer is:
(A) make sure everything in the /var/mail directory has the gid
(B) make sure permissions on /var/mail/:saved is 775
(C) have all users also belong to the mail group.

thanks very much to the following for their time:
Sean Ward:
James K. Brigman:
Casper: casper@holland.Sun.COM

Ramakanth Munipalli

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:12:00 CDT