[Mailman-Users] Re: Troubleshooting: no mail goes out to lists - commonthings to check

jsingh jsingh at fdu.edu
Tue Nov 12 17:42:37 CET 2002

I agree this was a great posting too. In specific I would like to ask
you guys a question about how I can get rid of the messages in qfiles.
I tried running 
Python -S qrunner 
And I got 
sh: /usr/lib/sendmail: not found
sh: /usr/lib/sendmail: not found
sh: /usr/lib/sendmail: not found
sh: /usr/lib/sendmail: not found
sh: /usr/lib/sendmail: not found
sh: /usr/lib/sendmail: not found
sh: /usr/lib/sendmail: not found
Is it alright to create a symbolic link in the usr/lib/ directory for
the sendmail binary ?

-----Original Message-----
From: mailman-users-bounces+jsingh=fdu.edu at python.org
[mailto:mailman-users-bounces+jsingh=fdu.edu at python.org] On Behalf Of
peter schoch
Sent: Saturday, November 09, 2002 5:31 PM
To: mailman-users at python.org
Subject: [Mailman-Users] Re: Troubleshooting: no mail goes out to lists
- commonthings to check

Jon,  this was a great posting!  I think it would probably be good to
add to the FAQ page on the mailman site.  I'd add that you might need to
tweak sendmail's settings to allow some domains to forward to get this
to work.

All of your 'checks' were OK for me, and yet the lists were still not
working.  Then, on Friday, the lists just started sending.

One of the subscribers had forgotten to remove their auto-reply "Out of
Office" message.  It replied multiple times to the subscription notices,
and then the lists started and the auto-reply caused a huge number of
posts!  But now the lists have kept working.

I have no errors, etc. in the logs.  I have no idea of why it just
started. I didn't change anything, modify anything...  I'd feel better
if I knew why, but...

Tahnks for all of the help.
Peter Schoch
              Here are some common things to check when no mail is going
out from your 

              I'm going to assume Sendmail as the MTA (its still the
most commonly 
              found - though postfix is gaining ground): 

              0) Check_perms. In all cases you should start by checking
              permissions on the files that were setup: 


              1) Cron. Make sure that the cron daemon is running 

              ps -aux |grep cron |grep -v grep 

              This will print out the process information about the cron

              daemon. If it returns a blank line, then cron is NOT

              2) Aliases. To create a mailman list you ran "newlist" and
              printed out four lines that you needed to copy to the 
              /etc/aliases file (or wherever your MTA goes to find its 
              aliases). Check that the aliases are in /etc/aliases: 

              grep wrapper /etc/aliases 

              Even if the aliases are there, you may still need to reset

              the aliases hash table so that it includes this new alias 


              Here is a typical alias listing for a group called "sys": 

              ## system mailing list 
              sys: "|/home/mailman/mail/wrapper post sys" 
              sys-admin: "|/home/mailman/mail/wrapper mailowner sys" 
              sys-request: "|/home/mailman/mail/wrapper mailcmd sys" 
              sys-owner: sys-admin 

              3) Smrsh. Check to see if your MTA uses smrsh. Red Hat as
              as a few other distributions automatically setup Sendmail
              use smrsh. Smrsh stops Sendmail from running a script or 
              other program that is included in an alias. Mailman uses a

              program called "wrapper" to run all of its aliases (see
              alias examples above): 

              grep "smrsh" sendmal.cf 

              If this comes up blank then Sendmail does not use smrsh; 
              if not, then your server is probably running smrsh and you

              need to make sure that smrsh is setup to allow Mailman's 
              wrapper program to run. Locate the smrsh directory and do 
              an ls -l of that directory. On Red Hat: 

              ls -l /etc/smrsh 

              and the output should be similar to: 

              wrapper -> /home/mailman/mail/wrapper 

              4) Interface. Some distributions in a noble "attempt" to
              the number of open relays on the internet, default
              so that it listens to a limited number of interfaces. The 
              default interface that Mailman list's use is localhost 
              ( - this is configurable in Mailman's mm_cfg.py 
              file. To check Sendmail's configuration file: 

              grep "Port" sendmail.cf 

              This will list out the DeamonPortOption and indicate the 
              interfaces it listens on ( would mean all

              You can also check out which interfaces your MTA is
              on by using: 

              netstat -na |grep ":25 " 

              5) Qrunner. If you are running Mailman 3.0x then qrunner
              run every minute via a cron job (that is why cron *must*
              running for Mailman to work). Try running the program by 
              hand. The exact syntax can be found in Mailman's cron

              su mailman 
              crontab -l 

              Here is an example of running qrunner by hand: 

              su mailman 
              /usr/bin/python -S /home/mailman/cron/qrunner 

              If this generates any errors then send those to the list 
              for diagnosis - or look at the last few lines of errors
              search the list for key words from the error messages. 

              6) Locks. A errant lock file can stop a list from
processing as 
              Mailman waits for the lock to be removed. Since your list
              not sending, we shall assume that no lock files should be
              the list and that it is safe to delete any we find. 

              ls -l ~mailman/locks 

              The output will be something like: 


              This indicates that process # 22845 created the lock. To
              at this process and see what it is (if it still exists): 

              ps aux |grep 22845 |grep -v grep 

              7) Logs. If you don't have any of the common problems
              then you should look for errors in your log files. 

              First look for errors in your MTA log files. On Red Hat
              would be in /var/log/maillog. 

              Look in the log starting at the time you sent a test
              You should see your initial message come in and be passed 
              onto to your Mailman list, afterwards you may see warnings

              or errors caused by Mailman trying to send out mail to the

              members of the list. 

              Next look in Mailman's logs. The files are in
              There are several logs to look in for problems: 

              Note: if you look in the qrunner log you will see several 
              warnings about "Could not acquire qrunner lock", these are

              actually normal and are NOT a problem. 

              Every line in the log files is dated so you should be able
              isolate the place in the log files to start looking, based
              when your problem started. 

              8) Qfiles. You may have a malformed email (or one that is
              too big) clogging up the flow of mail to your lists. Mail 
              that is queued up by Mailman is stored in the directory: 

              Move any files out of the directory and into a temporary 
              directory, then send a new test message to your list. If
              works, then you can move some of the old queued up files
              and let those process. If it stops working again then you 
              have a bad message in that batch - delete them or copy
them to 
              a different temporary directory. 


              Please feel free to critic and expand on this. I'm hoping
that it 
              proves useful as a starting point for folks having
mail-flow problems. 

              -- Jon Carnes 

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