Re: SUMMARY: How to mount /var/mail?

From: Ruth Milner (
Date: Wed Feb 23 1994 - 19:29:44 CST

In article <> writes:
>In response to the question, "Can one automount /var/mail?", most
>folks just said that the kosher way to do it is in the vfstab. (One person
>was against any NFS-mounting of /var/mail at all, since file locking
>was felt to be so unrealiable under NFS.)

One way to reduce the file locking issue (though it's never caused us any
problems) is to have all mail sent to the clients redirected to the /var/mail
server for delivery.

>But in response to my complaint that when I NFS-mounted /var/mail
>from my vfstab it hung the system at boot time if the mailhost was down,
>most folks said try the "bg" mount option. Well, I had tried the "bg" option
>previously and it did not help.

Try it again, it does work. Perhaps you just didn't wait long enough; it
takes a minute or so to time out, depending whether you've tweaked any other
parameters in the mount options. But unless something bizarre has broken, it
definitely works. Also, if your mailhost is the same server that provides
other filesystems, you may be getting hung up on those instead. As a rule
of thumb, always put the bg option on any filesystems that aren't crucial
to the boot process.

>(Would it matter if I tried "bg" without also using "intr"?)

No, they aren't related at all. "bg" handles timeouts at mount time, "intr"
allows you to control-C during regular access of an already-mounted NFS disk
after the server has gone down. That takes time to come back, too.

You might want to read the sections in the manuals on the meaning and
behavior of all the different options before you start diddling with them.
It would help you to understand what they are for.

Ruth Milner                          NRAO/VLA                  Socorro NM
Manager of Computing Systems

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