SUMMARY: yp mail alias problems

From: Henrik Schmiediche (henrik@PICARD.TAMU.EDU)
Date: Thu Sep 30 1993 - 04:05:53 CDT

thanks to everyone who responded to my query concerning my mail aliases
not updating properly. This was my question:

> Help! Some of the users in my alias file are not receiving their mail
> and I am stumped as to how to continue. I make sure the NIS file is
> properly updated using ypmake (I deleted the NIS files and completely
> recontructed them) and still certain users do not receive any mail
> though sending mail to them directly causes no problem. Some of these
> users receive mail through other aliases without problem. Here is the
> strangest part. If I change the alias name completely and "ypmake" all
> users in the new alias get the mail. When I change the alias back to
> what it was the users that where not receiving mail still do not
> receive it???
> Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly welcome. Even if you do not
> know the solution, ideas as to what to try are welcome.
> I am using SunOS 4.1.3 on a Sparc 10 with several security patches
> installed.

The solution to my problem was to type "ypmake" by itself was not
sufficient to update the alias file - I had to type "newaliases" first
and then "ypmake". Thanks for everyone who pointed that out to me.
Also, several people gave helpfull suggestions and comments and I am
including them for people that may have alias problems and need some
pointers as to what might be wrong and things to try.

    - Henrik


I've also had this problem, and worked around it by not maintaining
aliases with NIS, and instead using rdist to send it around. Dumb, I
know, but I just didn't have the time to go research it. You might
check /etc/aliases for the old alias definition. If it's the old
definition, at least you've got someplace to start.

It's look like you made mistake in your aliases file. Check two things~
1. line must start in first position ( no space in front of alias
2. Alias cant' loop - if you have in the list other alias , all people
in both aliases will not receive mail.~

totally weird question: do the users in question
have the letter "f" as the second letter of their
logins? if so, this is a bug in sendmail, and
is fixed with a patch (sendmail thinks that xfxx
is the same as -fxx and tries t oread from a file,
not deliver mail)

You don't use "strange" characters in the aliases in qestion ?
Like _ % ^ $ or & ? "." should work though ...

Sounds as if some other Translation Mechanism has usurpated the Alias Names.
Do you have any Users with a Uname equal to the Alias Name, or have those who
send the Mail private Aliases set in their Mailtool? Are there any Nodes
relaying the Mails, if yes, do THEY have Aliases set? If there are any
Spool Files affected, are the Permissions set properly? And, most important,
do the undelivered Mails bounce and, if yes, what's the reported Error?

You may also try whether all affected Hosts have their /var/spool/mail
mounted OK; If not, they may spool Mail into a File which is never read
by your Users.

You could first try and see if there are any typos in aliases, if you
haven't already. Try running newaliases and then cd /var/yp and do a
make. If you have done all that then you may try and use mconnect to
your mailhost to see what your system thinks the alias is.

mconnect mailhost

helo anotherhost

vrfy alias

The vrfy should show you who the alias you type equates to. If it is
a real user then you will see the real user's GCOS field, if it's a non
existant user you will get user unknown.

Check that in your /etc/aliases file you don't have the same
alias you are trying to use for another group of people.

Is it possible that the alias is defined twice and the second declaration is
incorrect? Check for a duplicate alias. That's all I can come up with.

There's a bug in /bin/mail that sends mail to a deep, dark hole when there's
and "f" in the second character of the second user (or mailgroup name).

Get patch number 100224-06 from, /pub/sun-info/sun-fixes.!ups!!glenn:

Have you run pwck(8) on your local and nis passwd files to check for a
possible typo in there?

I have a couple of dozen aliases with 300 different email address and I have
not been having any problems. Are you putting a space at the start of the
continuation lines of your aliases? When I update my NIS database, I just
move into /var/yp and just type "make".

Check whether the alias is being recognized properly by sendmail:

% mconnect <mailhost>
... Sendmail ... ready ...
expn ALIAS

(Replace ALIAS with the alias you are checking.)

If the users not getting the mail are not shown, it is likely your lines
in the alias file are too long - try using an "include" file.

If all are shown, then the problem is in delivering the mail - check
/var/log/syslog to see if the mail is shown as delivered.

Have you done a 'man' on /usr/lib/sendmail? There is an option to give
sendmail when run from the command line which will cause it to update
the mail alias file. Until this is done, your ypmakes are using info
that is no longer valid.

Henrik Schmiediche, Dept. of Statistics, Texas A&M, College Station, TX 77843
E-mail:  |  Tel: (409) 845-9447   |  Fax: (409) 845-3144

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