SUMMARY - MAIL process pig

From: Dan A. Zambon (
Date: Tue Mar 16 1993 - 22:02:11 CST

Hi Netters,

My original post was:
Is there a reason that mail on a 630mp (which is our server,
mail router, etc) should be using up 63% of the cpu time as
shown by the ps aux command?

Some thoughts come to mind (and it hurts...:>))
-a packet(s) that is caught in a loop, being sent/received
 over and over again
-some mail process that has not completed, possibly waiting
 for some needed resource (socket, etc).

I'm not sure how to intrepret the results of the ps command as
far as our 4 cpu 630 is concerned. Is the % TOTAL cpu usage,
or just for ONE of the cpu's?

Any idea as to why mail might be chewing up the cpu cycles?
I don't remember noticing this before. And mail has acted
a little flaky lately.....

As always, your time and efforts toward providing information
for this post is very much appreciated.

And the solution was:

Just a simple mail process that had gone south for the winter,
eh, got caught in a loop, it looks like. Andrew Rakowski
pointed me to the command

        trace -p <process id>

which showed what the errant process was doing. From that info,
I could tell what was going on and just killed the process. Thanks,

Other contributers noted:
-The latest version of the "top" gives a better representation as to
 what the server is doing with it's processes. It is available from
-Check to see if there are multiple sendmail processes running.
-A couple of users mentioned similar difficulties with corrupted
 password files. One helpful netter even sent me a script which
 checks the passwd file for problems.
-One user said the mail daemon could create large percentages in a
 short time under normal conditions. I have seen this as well.
-Another said he had trouble with listserv creating mail headers that
 caused senmail to peg the meter.
-More than one user said to check the /usr/spool/mqueue directory
 for files that seem odd, don't disappear, etc.

By the way, the command

        /usr/kvm/mps -aux

does a good job of showing which cpu is doing what on a multiple cpu
system. Thanks to Peter Sivo for showing me that.

My thanks to all the contributors:
(Alain Brossard EPFL-SIC/SII)" <>
Ian Lumb <> (Andrew Rakowski - USU - RS/GIS Lab)
Tom Leach <>
Paul Lemman <lemmanp@ohsu.EDU> (James Latimer) (Peter Sivo) (Margaret Kapica) (Bill Morrow)

Again, more useful information provided by your net!

Dan Zambon

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