Lock problems with /bin/mail over NFS from DEC

Lock problems with /bin/mail over NFS from DEC

Post by Mark C Fav » Wed, 25 Jun 1997 04:00:00



I have a problem with /bin/mail on 3 HP's running 9.01 where /usr/mail
is NFS-mounted. The previous NFS server was a Sun, running SunOS 4.1.1.
No problems existed with this configuration. The mail spool directory is
now mounted from a DEC Alpha running Digital Unix 4.0B. When /bin/mail is
run, the process sits around for a while, and then reports the following:
mail: can not lock on /usr/mail/mark after 10 tries
/usr/mail/mark: Interrupted system call
In fact it can (and does) create the lock file, /usr/mail/mark.lock (I can
see it while it tries 10 times to do whatever it is trying to do to it),
and removes it when it exits. There is no problem with root having read/write
access to the NFS-mounted mail spool directory. Can anyone tell me just what
HP-UX's /bin/mail is trying to do when it tries to lock the mail file,
or offer a suggestion that might fix this problem (apart from don't do it,
or go back to the Sun).
        TIA,
                Mark
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Lock problems with /bin/mail over NFS from DEC

Post by Horst Michael Meissne » Tue, 01 Jul 1997 04:00:00



> I have a problem with /bin/mail on 3 HP's running 9.01 where /usr/mail
> is NFS-mounted. The previous NFS server was a Sun, running SunOS 4.1.1.
> No problems existed with this configuration. The mail spool directory is
> now mounted from a DEC Alpha running Digital Unix 4.0B. When /bin/mail is
> run, the process sits around for a while, and then reports the following:
> mail: can not lock on /usr/mail/mark after 10 tries
> /usr/mail/mark: Interrupted system call
> In fact it can (and does) create the lock file, /usr/mail/mark.lock (I can
> see it while it tries 10 times to do whatever it is trying to do to it),
> and removes it when it exits. There is no problem with root having read/write
> access to the NFS-mounted mail spool directory. Can anyone tell me just what
> HP-UX's /bin/mail is trying to do when it tries to lock the mail file,
> or offer a suggestion that might fix this problem (apart from don't do

The problem is the filelocking over nfs.
You can try to install the nfs megapatch PHKL_9148  and the mail patch
PHNE_6830 on the HPUX box.
And remove the files in /etc/sm .
I hope the DEC nfs filelocking works correct :)

Horst  

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 --------------------------------------------------

 
 
 

1. Frequency of NFS lock problems w/ NFS mounted mail spool

For several years, I have run small networks with /var/spool/mail
NFS-mounted from a single server to a bunch of workstations.  I have
yet to have a problem doing this.  Most of these machines have been
Sun's running a recent version of SunOS.

However, as I understand it, due to various bugs in various vendors'
rpc.lockds, this is running the risk of getting one's mailbox
thoroughly hosed if more than one process tries to write the mailbox
at once.

I am now working with a network of Sun SPARC's running SunOS 4.1.2 as
well a few DECstations runing Ultrix 4.2a.  We are using IDA Sendmail
5.65c.

I'd be curious to know how many folks have actually had this kind of
problem -- if it turns out to be very few, NFS seems like it would be
worth the convenience.  Specific experience about the reliability of
the SunOS and Ultrix lockd's would also be interesting.

Also, where do the Elm lockfiles fit into all this?  Would they
prevent this problem (if everyone were to use Elm, that is), or do
they merely keep multiple copies of Elm from manipulating the same
mailbox simultaneously.

All discussion, thoughts, and email are welcome...

Thanks in advance,
Dan Mosedale


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