Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When sending mail to an alias, I am getting the following error:

mail.err shows:

Jan 26 13:02:44 sm-mta[4816]: p0QD2fZW004812: SYSERR(root): Cannot exec /etc/mail/smrsh: Permission denied
Jan 26 13:02:44 sm-mta[4815]: p0QD2fZW004812: to="|/usr/bin/dspam --user global --class=spam --source=error", ctladdr=<spam@domain.com> (8/0), delay=00:00:01, xdelay=00:00:00, mailer=prog, pri=38439, dsn=4.0.0, stat=Operating system error

My /etc/mail/aliases shows:

spam:                   "|/usr/bin/dspam --user global --class=spam --source=error"

I am sure this is a permissions issue, but I don't really know where to begin looking. I've tried various things, but nothing seems to solve the problem. What other info can I look at to figure out what the problem is?

Unfortunately this is not one of those simple questions/problems so my question may be a bit vague.

Update with: ls -la /etc/mail/smrsh

total 8
drwxr-sr-x 2 root  root  4096 2011-01-24 14:14 .
drwxr-sr-x 9 smmta smmsp 4096 2011-01-26 14:54 ..
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root  mail    14 2011-01-24 14:14 dspam -> /usr/bin/dspam
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root  mail    26 2011-01-19 19:54 mail.local -> /usr/lib/sm.bin/mail.local
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root  mail    17 2011-01-19 19:54 procmail -> /usr/bin/procmail
share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer

In order for a binary to be able to be executed by sendmail with smrsh activated you need to add a link in the smrsh directory (at least in RedHat)

So you should do the following

cd /etc/smrsh
ln -s /usr/bin/dspam dspam

And then change your aliases to

spam:                   "|dspam --user global --class=spam --source=error"

Otherwise you can always disable the smrsh functionality from sendmail, but I do not recommend that option

share|improve this answer
Incidentally, I moved from Redhat (and that's how I had it configured there). Now on Ubuntu, I notice that smrsh is in /etc/mail/smrsh. Within that folder I have: lrwxrwxrwx 1 root mail dspam -> /usr/bin/dspam. Wondering if it's not a perm issue on the link or the folder. –  Steve Jan 26 '11 at 14:56
Hm could be, check that the mail user can both get in that dir and execute that script without issues, I normally check with su - mail -c "command goes here" –  lynxman Jan 26 '11 at 16:25
add comment

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.