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I'm using a very plain Ubuntu Server 9.04, and cron isn't delivering any mail to my /var/mail/USER (the file hasn't even been created). Here's my full crontab:

# m h  dom mon dow   command
 15 *  *   *   *     $HOME/.cron/sync-bookmarks.bash

If I add

# m h  dom mon dow   command
 15 *  *   *   *     $HOME/.cron/sync-bookmarks.bash >& /tmp/log

then I see the stdout and stderr in /tmp/log. I'm not (yet) interested in actual remote email delivery, just local delivery to the mail spool file. Why isn't mail working? Thanks in advance for any tips.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

cron calls /usr/sbin/sendmail to deliver the mail.

Did you install and configure a mail server (sendmail, exim, postfix, ...)?

--- EDIT ---

For the security aspect, all mail servers can be configured to accept only local mail and to deliver only local mail.

If you need a mail server, probably the easiest option to install postfix. The installation process will ask you how you want it configured, and I think one of the options it offers is to handle local mail only.

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No, and I read that it should not be necessary to install a real mail server to have this local mail spool written to. Is this incorrect? I'd rather not install a mail server if possible (security, etc.), but if I have to, what exactly is required? Is just installing sendmail enough? – Yang Apr 30 '10 at 16:03
@Yang: added info in the response. – Dan Andreatta Apr 30 '10 at 16:31

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