SUMMARY: .msgfile corrupting user's incoming mail file

From: Bill Morrow (
Date: Wed Aug 19 1992 - 19:16:06 CDT

Thanks for the quick response, the Europeans/UKites have found the source of my
problem while I was sleeping!

I had complained about a user's mail file getting corrupted with simultaneous
appearance of a mysterious $HOME/.msgfile

Numerous respondents mentioned that .msgfile is used by a screen locking
program (nlock aka xnlock), which we don't have. The probable cause was given by gatech.uucp!!celita (Eli), and others:
The message "I'm out running around." is from a tool called "calentool" and
is just a stupid string it puts out into the .msgfile file (- I think when
there are no appointments or some such case)

A couple of years ago we had some Nfs problems and this file was almost always
involved - I think because alfabetically .appointments (another calentool file
which as far as I remember also gets to hold this string under some
circumstances) file comes first in the list of files for most home directories
of users (.a*).
We *do* use calentool, and this particular user uses the appointment feature.
My suspicion is that he has an appointment running amok. This still doesn't
explain the difference in his mail file, between the server and its incarnation
on his local machine, but I'm willing to chalk that up to automounter/exported/linked file problems or conflicts between mailtool and
calentool. If I'm wrong, I'll re-summarize.

Thanks again,
My original post:
> Hello all,
> One of my users has a very strange problem. He works on a 386i running 4.0.2
> and uses Sunview.
> /var/spool/mail on this machine is mounted from our mail server
> ( SS1 running 4.1.1) as follows, according to mount:
> server:/export/var/localhost/spool/mail on /var/spool/mail type nfs (rw,intr,bg,noquota)
> The problem is, when he reads mail using the Sunview mailtool, sporadically
> a few of his mail messages are gone. About the same time a .msgfile appears
> in his home directory, containing the text "I'm out running around".
> When he alerted me of this, I checked /var/spool/mail/user_name
> on the server and it was OK, it contained the missing messages. However,
> on his local machine, /var/spool/mail/user_name was missing the "deleted"
> files, and contains, at the beginning of the file "I'm out running around".
> Killing and restarting his mailtool seems to have fixed his mail file on the
> local machine.
Thanks to -- (Brett Lymn) (Birger A. Wathne)
gatech.uucp!!celita (Eli)
David Tock <> (Torsten Lif) (Max Lanfranconi - R and D) (Donald McLachlan) (Gary Richardson) (Bill Randle)

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