procmail keeps dieing on freebsd 5.4 with postfix

Greg Maruszeczka greg at
Wed Jun 15 17:27:24 GMT 2005

Matt Juszczak wrote:
> Hi all,
> We had a mail server running with FreeBSD 5.4, about 3,000 accounts, and
> postfix.  Recently, I turned procmail on in postfix
> (mailbox_command=/usr/....procmail) and the machine has been locking up
> weekly ever since.  And when this machines crashes, it crashes hard ...
> and "procmail" is always on the screen as the error causer when it happens.

Patient: Doctor, my arm hurts when I do this.
Doctor: Then stop doing that.

Seriously though, you need to provide some more detailed information if
you want anyone here to be able to help you. Start with explaining why
you decided to change MDAs in the first place since I'm sure I'm not the
only one thinking you must be nuts to make such a major change on a
production system with a potential 3000-user lynch mob waiting in the
wings. What were you using for local delivery before this? Was there a
problem with it or were you looking for new features, etc.?

> I know you all want messages, but I never seem to be here and my co
> workers reboot the box on me to fix it.  Both times; however, we've had
> to run fsck from single user mode and also refresh the postfix queue.

If you're not around to see the console messages how do you know
"procmail is always the error causer"? Perhaps this is conveyed to you
by your co-workers but if so, why don't they tell you the complete error
message so you can convey it to us? Leaving that aside, however, what
about the logs? Certainly /var/log/maillog should provide some clues if
the problem is really your MDA (more on this below). Also we'd need to
know something about your configuration (i.e. contents of and for starters) to help you with a MTA/MDA problem.

> Does anyone have any ideas why procmail could be causing my system to
> completely hard lock every other couple of days?  I disabled procmail
> for now and I know (knock on wood) the machine should be fine like it
> used to be ... but all these hard locks could eventually drive the
> freebsd box mad, and I wouldn't want to do a reinstall.

FWIW this doesn't sound like a software issue (except maybe a massive
memory leak(??)) but then again, I'm saying this with very little useful
information provided by you. Have you done any basic hardware checks
(e.g. memtest, case and cpu cooling, power supply integrity, etc.)?

You've stated that these lock-ups occur every week at the beginning of
your post then you say later it's every couple of days. Which is it?
Also, please try to precisely define "locking up" and "crashes". It's
unclear to me based on your description and the (possibly misleading)
subject line what portions of the system are affected. Precision matters


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