Summary: About can't read mail from elm and pine.

From: dino (
Date: Sat Jul 30 1994 - 01:01:47 CDT

Hello.! this is a SUMMARY about my question:
My question is as following:

> In elm:
> % elm
> then it will appear this line in the bottom
> Waiting to read mailbox while mail is being received: attempt #0
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> And wait a moment, then I got this messages:
> giving up after 7 iterations.
> Please try to read your mail again in a few minutes.
> Timed out on locking mailbox. Leaving program.
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Thanks all reply , I list all the reply about my qeustion in the following,
and thanks again.

In elm, when you read your mail it makes a lock file so your mailbox
doesn't get out of sync. The lock file is called /var/spool/mail/userid.lock
or whatever path you are using. If you remove the lock file, elm will
work okay.

It's also possible that your lock file is called something other than userid.lock,
depending on how you configured elm. This is how we configured ours, and I
don't remember the other possible ways.

Hope this helps.


your lock daemon crashed. Make sure that on your machine and on the NFS mail spool machine, if any, rpc.lockd and rpc.statd are running.

-- -----3-------

We have had this problem at my office. The configuration we use is that /var/spool/mail is nfs-mounted to our other systems. This is a nfs-locking problem (at least in my office).

On the system we get this message we do the following as root:

#grep for the rpc.statd and rpc.lockd daemons in ps ps -ax | egrep '.statd|.lockd' #empty /etc/state cat /dev/null >/etc/state #remove all hosts monitored by the stat daemon rm /etc/sm/* /etc/sm.bak/* #start the daemons again rpc.statd rpc.lockd

Then kill the elm or pine job. If this does not work, as root:

mv /usr/spool/mail/<user> /usr/spool/mail/<user>.old cp /usr/spool/mail/<user>.old /usr/spool/mail/<user> chown <user> <user> chmod 600 <user>

One of these should work for you.


This message appears when the mailbox is locked, presumably because new mail is arriving - however the lock can somtimes get left behind in error. Clearly your different mail readers are not all seeing the lock.

Assuming this doesn't go away when you try again after a few minutes, then you can get the administrator to remove the mailbox lock - probaby /usr/spool/mail/dino.lock. If this does not clear the problem, then you could try moving your mailbox aside and copying it back (preferably with sendmail stopped). Alternatively you could re-boot.

Chris Ritson. -- -----5-------

A lock file has been left in /usr/spool/mail. Can't remeber what it is called offhand but it has lock in its name and probably your id in it as well. Find it with ls -a and then delete it.

-----6-------- I guess you are also running another mailer program, such as mailtool in openwin. You have to quit that mailer, 'cause only one mailer can be run at one time. -- Andy

-----7-------- hi i have just recently had a similiar problem did you chmod any files in the /etc directory to limit 'others' from writing to it? thats how mine happened. I cant exactly remember which file (could of been temp ?)

I did notice though if you let pine continue on it does open your mail

If you do get any other replies could you please forward them onto me.


________ \ / Jiing-Chau Shieh E-mail: ___\MGT.NCU.EDU.TW______________________________________________________________ \ / \/ Department of Information Management National Central University

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:09:06 CDT