clientmqueue filling up

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Sat Feb 21 05:33:22 PST 2004

On Sat, Feb 21, 2004 at 12:20:19PM +0000, Jonathon McKitrick wrote:
> I've turned off all my sendmail options, IIRC, but /var/spool/clientmqueue
> keeps getting filled up with messages about undelivered mail.  How can I
> stop this?
> NOTE: Please CC me, as I am not currently subscribed.  Thanks.

Are there any sendmail processes running?

If you've got:


in /etc/rc.conf no sendmail processes should be started at reboot.

However, this doesn't prevent processes attempting to send e-mail by
piping messages into the standard input of /usr/sbin/sendmail -- which
will result in the messages being queued up in /var/spool/clientmqueue
as you've discovered.

What processes try and do this?  Two contenders I can think of
immediately are the periodic(8) scripts, and cron(8).

To stop the periodic scripts sending e-mail, you need to tell the
scripts to log their output to a file rather than e-mailing it to
root.  Do that by adding:


to /etc/periodic.conf -- just create that file if it doesn't already
exist.  See /etc/defaults/periodic.conf for other options you can use
there.  You can, of course, choose whatever log files you prefer, but
the files shown above are already set up for automatic log cycling in

To prevent cron(8) sending e-mails, you simply need to set the MAILTO
variable to an empty value in all of the various crontabs
(/var/cron/tabs/*, /etc/crontab).  Just add the line


near the top of the various crontab files -- for best results, use the
command 'crontab -e' to edit the stuff under /var/cron/tabs.

There's possibly other commands that try and send e-mail, but I can't
think of any right now.  You should be able to work out what they are
by inspecting the files that end up in /var/spool/clientmqueue.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       26 The Paddocks
                                                      Savill Way
PGP:         Marlow
Tel: +44 1628 476614                                  Bucks., SL7 1TH UK
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