SUMMARY Re: /var/mail on a different partition

From: Lisa Weihl (
Date: Thu Mar 18 1999 - 18:31:59 CST

Original question is below.

The overwhelming answer was that I did not need a symbolic link to use a
different partition for /var/mail. I did need to make sure though that the
privileges of /var/mail were 1775 both before and after the mount. Also the
owner and group needed to be root:mail.

I think part of my original problem was that I had /var/mail pointing to
/var/spool/mail on the old SunOS box before moving the mail directories
over to the partition on the new server.

Here's what I did:

Rm the link to /var/spool/mail
mkdir /var/mail
chmod 1775 /var/mail
chown root:mail /var/mail
mount /dev/dsk/newpartiton /var/mail
chmod 1775 /var/mail
chown root:mail /var/mail

Change the vfstab to mount the new partition on /var/mail at reboot.
Things seem to be working well so far. Thanks everyone!!!

Here's a list of those who helped. Sorry if I missed someone the response
was quite heavy.

Gerhard den Hollander, Alexsandar Milivojevic, Armin Ollig, David Lee, Rob
Hill, Chad Price, Michael Wang, Alan Thew, Danny Johnson, Kitty Ferguson,
Sandesh Kubde, Michael Sullivan, Sridhar M, Jim Ennis, Rik Schneider and
Mark Ashley.


> I searched the archives and found 2 old posts that refer to my problem but
> I wasn't quite clear on the solution.
> The question is: I'd like to mount /var/mail on it's own partition to give
> plenty of space for mailboxes. How do I go about this to get the correct
> permissions that /var/mail requires?
> I tried the other evening to mount the partition on /var/mail and got
> errors from sendmail as such:
> mail:/var/mail/user
> mail: Can't open '/var/tmp/mail...' type: r+
> etc....
> I found from an Aug. 10, 98 post that that was because due to the
> permissions on /var/mail getting screwed up due to the mounting.
> I found a post from Apr. 97 that had a possible solution and that was to
> mount the partition somewhere else and make a symbolic link.
> The post had ln -s /var/mail /varmail
> That confused me as I think that's making /varmail (where I assume the
> partition is mounted) point to /var/mail. Shouldn't it be the other way
> around?
> Thanks for any clarification, as usual I will summarize.
> Lisa

Lisa Weihl, System Administrator E-mail:
Department of Computer Science Office: Hayes 225
Bowling Green State University Phone: (419) 372-0116
Bowling Green, Ohio 43403-0214 Fax: (419) 372-8061

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