why do I have 2 aliases.db files?

Jeremy Chadwick koitsu at FreeBSD.org
Sun Nov 9 04:30:27 PST 2008

On Sun, Nov 09, 2008 at 07:19:05AM -0500, Michael P. Soulier wrote:
> I just noticed that I have one in /etc/mail and one in /etc, and
> postfix is reading the one in /etc which the newaliases command hasn't
> touched in ages 'cause it's been updating the one in /etc/mail.

It sounds like your machine has survived many upgrades of sendmail.  At
one point, /etc/aliases (and /etc/aliases.db) were the common path for
sendmail.  That has since changed to /etc/mail/aliases and

Note that /etc/aliases today is a symlink to /etc/mail/aliases.  AFAIK,
this is for "ease of transition".

> /etc/mail looks like a sendmail thing. Should I just symlink
> /etc/aliases.db to /etc/mail/aliases.db if I'm running postfix?

Absolutely not.  Postfix should not be using /etc/mail **at all**.
If you have your postfix configuration using that directory, you
probably shouldn't have.

The only piece of /etc/mail which is even remotely related to postfix is
/etc/mail/mailer.conf, which tells mailwrapper(1) what actual binaries
to run when using things like "newaliases" in /usr/bin, etc.

The aliases and aliases.db files in a default postfix installation are
in /usr/local/etc/postfix.  As I said, if you've changed these around in
your own postfix configuration, that's your own fault/doing.  :-)

Depending upon what you've done with your own postfix configuration, you
should delete /etc/aliases.db, and ensure /etc/aliases is a symlink to
mail/aliases (e.g. /etc/mail/aliases).

If there's any question about this, re-read what I've written a couple
times; I know that seeing the word "aliases" 50 times in a row can throw
people into confusion (I speak from experience).

| Jeremy Chadwick                                jdc at parodius.com |
| Parodius Networking                       http://www.parodius.com/ |
| UNIX Systems Administrator                  Mountain View, CA, USA |
| Making life hard for others since 1977.              PGP: 4BD6C0CB |

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