[Mailman-Users] Bad error message

Dwight Tovey dwight at dtovey.net
Tue Nov 1 00:33:27 CET 2005

I just spent the day fixing what turned out to be a bad qmail install, but
was compounded by a bad error message in mailman.  I don't expect any help
with the qmail issue, but I thought people might want to know about the
bad error message from mailman.

Basically, when a message came in from the Internet that was bound for a
mailman list, I was seeing the following message in my qmail logs:
delivery 13: deferral:

It was driving me nuts because the 'nofiles' group does exist in
/etc/group and was being used by some of the qmail processes.  After much
digging around, I finally found that the message was coming from the
'mailman' program itself.  In src/common.c, line 142, there is a fatal()
call in 'check_caller()' if the caller's GID fails to resolve to a name
(getgrgid() returns a NULL).  The error message though is misleading.  I
thought that it had a group name (nofiles) and couldn't resolve it to a
GID.  Since there was a 'nofiles' group, I didn't know what was going on. 
As it turned out, the qmail delivery program was running under a GID that
didn't have a group entry and was thus triggering the error.

I think a better error message would be something like:
"Failure to find group name for GID %d:...".  Once I changed the message
to that, it was easy to see what was going on.


Dwight N. Tovey
email: dwight at dtovey.net
web: http://www.dtovey.net/~dwight
dd if=/dev/zero of=/Win95

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