Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have an internet facing postfix mail filter (debian lenny) that sits in front of all our other mailservers on our network, and scans our mail using amavisd-new, clamav, spamassassin, and policy-weightd.

This server was set up and configured using the document found here: (I also set up the bayesean and AWL lists with MySQL, and installed policy-weightd as described on the same site)

These servers (I have 2) have been running great for a couple of years now (on Debian Etch), but this latest install locks up about once per day (at different times) somehow, and I can't figure out why.

Details of problem

  1. The mail queues up on the server, and running mailq lists a bunch of items with (delivery temporarily suspended: conversation with[] timed out while receiving the initial server greeting)
  2. Running amavisd-nanny freezes, and I have to log out of the ssh session. Running amavisd-nanny on a working system will show me the state of each amavisd process, and occasionally find stuck processes (what causes these stuck proccesses??) and terminate them. (I have set up a cron job to run amavisd-nanny hourly to clear these stuck processes, however, even that isn't enough to keep things running)
  3. ps -ef|grep amavisd lists all of my amavisd processes (12 of them) with (ch#-accept) after them. On a working system these say either (virgin child) or (ch#-avail)
  4. Memory, Diskspace, or number of postfix processes do not appear to be the problem.

What should I be doing to further diagnose my problem? I am not looking for a workaround, I want to determine what is going wrong and fix it.

share|improve this question

strace one of the stuck processes. It might give you a hint what's wrong.



share|improve this answer
Thank you, I will try that the next time it crashes. I tried "lsof -p PID", which gave me a great list of things I didn't know what to do with. Hopefully strace will be more helpful! – Brent Jul 23 '09 at 15:52

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.