Summary: User Mail File Permissions Change

From: Sun Managers at Telecom (
Date: Sat Dec 03 1994 - 03:05:10 CST

  My original 2 problems were: the mail files in the /var/spool/mail directory
would change permissions from 600 to 666 when a user would access their mail
from a PC., and in some cases, the ownership of the files would change from to username.staff (EG: joe.example to joe.staff).

  I got 4 responces, 2 were from Eudore users with a similar problem, 1 was
from a Solaris 2.X user with a known Solaris 2.X mail problem, and the other
was a Solaris 2.X user with a bug fix for the known Solaris 2.X bug.

  I use SunOS 4.1.3 on a SS2, Sun PC-NFS 4.0 - 5.1 and Cinetic Mail Manager
for Windows ( on the PCs..

  This problem doesn't effect my Mac users because they get their mail from
the Helios Mail tool through the Helios Ethershare program (

  The solution to the permissions problem is related to PC-NFS and how it sets
its default UMASK for files that are accesed by the PCs. When PC-NFS is
installed, the default UMASK is 000, this causes any files that are written to
the server to be wide open as to permissions. For some reason, the server wanted
the permissions to be 666 and the PC didn't care.

There are 2 solutions to this:

  1) Set the NET UMASK 077 on the PC in the \nfs\network.bat file. This
will cause ALL files that are written to the file server to be 700 permissions.
In the case of the /var/spool/mail area, it is 600. This can be a pain for
the other 99% of disk use on the file server, but it very definitly fixes the
permissions changing. If your users access there mail via a nfs mounted disk,
like drive m:, then this is your problem.

  2) Create a crontab job that goes out every 15 minutes or so and changes
all permissions in the /var/spool/mail directory back to 600.

  I opted for solution #2. It is easier to fix it at the server end than at
the 150 to 175 PC that are out there.

  The other problem that I am having is file ownership changes. I have not
figured this one out. Sun is aware of the Solairs 2.X bug where a mail file
will change ownership to the person that SENT the mail to that user, but this
one they had never heard of. I installed the SunOS bug fixes:

100224-07 SunOS 4.1.1;4.1.2;4.1.3: /bin/mail Jumbo Patch
100377-17 SunOS 4.1.x: sendmail jumbo patch
101140-02 SunOS 4.1.x: /usr/ucb/mail Patch.

These had no effect at all.

  This problem is more cosmetic than a real problem, as the file ownership
stays with the user, its just the group that changes. And with the permissions
set for 600, this is good enough. I guess I will have to learn to live with it.

  Thanks to those that replied.

 ______________________________          ===================                  |
| David Burwell : 408-428-7929 |            T E L E C O M   
|           FAX : 408-428-7895 |         -------------------
|          Mail :              |          S O L U T I O N S 
| |         ===================
+------------------------------+     a division of Symmetricom Inc.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:09:16 CDT