When maildrop Fills a Log File

30 Apr 2008

I hadn’t bothered looking at my personal email accounts since last Saturday. This evening, I was surprised to see that it looked like I wasn’t receiving emails for my OpenBrainstem or lamontpeterson.org addresses. The last messages had come in sometime late Sunday morning.

First thing I did was to log into the mail server via SSH and run:

# mailq | grep '^[0-9A-F]' | wc -l

Well, that’s a wee bit of email. So I tried running this command (sorry, I didn’t capture that whole output):

# mailq | head
. . . output omitted . . .

The message I saw over and over again showed “(temporary failure. Command output: maildrop: signal 0x19)“. A quick Google search and the first link told me what I needed to know; when the log file that maildrop is writing into reaches over 50 million bytes (not 50MB, but 50MiB), it stops processing requests. Though the link Google found for me indicated a setup with one central log file, I’ve discovered that the same thing happens when you have per user log files, like I do. This line from my /etc/maildroprc file shows what I mean:

logfile "$HOME/mail/.maildrop.log"

So, I fixed it by truncating (or, in other words, emptying) my own user’s log file. Of course, I first checked to make sure that it was the culprit:

# ls -l ~lamontp/mail/.maildrop.log
-rw-------  1 lamontp lamontp 714630 Apr 30 20:37 /home/lamontp/mail/.maildrop.log
# >~lamontp/mail/.maildroprc