[Mailman-Users] Mail getting stuck in queue

Laura Conrad sunny at laymusic.org
Fri Jun 6 20:21:17 CEST 2008

Intermittently, but increasingly frequently, the mailman I'm running
is getting into a state where messages are received and archived, but
not logged in the "posts" file or sent out by smtp.  

This situation usually resolves itself after I kick it enough.  Maybe
it would resolve itself if I didn't kick it at all.  I would like to
understand what's happening, so I can either stop it happening, or
kick it more efficiently.

This is on a mailman 2.1.10 installed from source on ubuntu 7.10.  The
machine is running postfix.  The mail log indicates that postfix has
passed the stuck mails to mailman:

    Jun  6 12:12:47 serpent postfix/local[12334]: 8139F240324:
     to=<bonnienews at serpent.laymusic.org>, relay=local, delay=0.31,
     delays=0.05/0.01/0/0.25, dsn=2.0.0, status=sent (delivered to command:
     /home/mailman/mail/mailman post bonnienews)

I've checked all the things in
At one point, there was a second (old) OutgoingRunner process after I
had stopped and started mailmanctl several times, which I had to kill
by hand, but usually this isn't the case.  

Here's my kick_mailman.sh script; I also reboot the system when I've
tried this and it hasn't worked.  When the queue gets unclogged, it
isn't ever immediately after any of these things, including the

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There are errors in the error log:

Jun 05 13:38:41 2008 (7364) Failed to unlink/preserve backup file: /home/mailman/qfiles/out/1212668722.1033101+99ec79fd321b54afb77e0ef5c8b0f5d2625e6aea.bak
Jun 06 13:07:58 2008 (12803) Failed to unlink/preserve backup file: /home/mailman/qfiles/out/1212763581.350471+f1f22720a6342cd0ce99e4d29a21251f7440d973.bak

and in the smtp-failure log:

Jun 06 13:11:29 2008 (16109) Low level smtp error: (4, 'Interrupted system call'), msgid: <53c661160806060746y3372989ctf142728bc035ff4d at mail.gmail.com>
Jun 06 13:56:33 2008 (5154) SMTP session failure: 250, ok, msgid: <53c661160806060746y3372989ctf142728bc035ff4d at mail.gmail.com>
Jun 06 13:56:33 2008 (5154) delivery to <redacted>@gmail.com failed with code -1: (4, 'Interrupted system call')

What is happening between when mailman gets my mail and when it
finally agrees to disgorge it via smtp?  It is in the stuck state
right at the moment, if someone can walk me through more debugging.

Laura   (mailto:lconrad at laymusic.org http://www.laymusic.org/ )
(617) 661-8097	233 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139   

I value kindness to human beings first of all, and kindness to
animals. I don't respect the law; I have a total irreverence for
anything connected with society except that which makes the roads
safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper, and old men and women
warmer in the winter, and happier in the summer.

Brendan Behan (1923 - 1964)

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