My fedora started crashing recently (Gnome shell goes black screen). I don't know if the cause could be sendmail, but when running ps I can see sendmail processes piling up

ps -ef | grep sendmail
pavel     5900     1  0 23:25 ?        00:00:00 /bin/bash /usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f pavel
pavel     6748     1  0 23:26 ?        00:00:00 /bin/bash /usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f pavel
pavel     7502     1  0 23:27 ?        00:00:00 /bin/bash /usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f pavel
pavel     8382     1  0 23:28 ?        00:00:00 /bin/bash /usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f pavel
pavel     9806     1  0 23:29 ?        00:00:00 /bin/bash /usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f pavel
pavel    11162     1  0 23:31 ?        00:00:00 /bin/bash /usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f pavel
pavel    12212     1  0 23:32 ?        00:00:00 /bin/bash /usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f pavel
pavel    13221     1  0 23:33 ?        00:00:00 /bin/bash /usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f pavel
pavel    14277     1  0 23:34 ?        00:00:00 /bin/bash /usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f pavel
pavel    15479     1  0 23:35 ?        00:00:00 /bin/bash /usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f pavel
pavel    16662     1  2 23:36 ?        00:00:00 /bin/bash /usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f pavel

I don't use sendmail, so first think coming up into my mind is to uninstall it, but I don't know how to find it's package:

dnf list installed | grep sendmail

does not return anything, but the sendmail binaries is present

  • rpm -qf /usr/sbin/sendmail
    – Jakuje
    Aug 24 '16 at 10:12

Mail functionality in the form of /bin/mailx, /usr/lib/sendmail and /usr/sbin/sendmail (whether actually provided by the classical sendmail MTA or a more lightweight replacement such exim or postfix) is a core part of a Linux system and part of the Linux Standards Base and the POSIX requirements and should be present in any standards compliant Linux distribution.

There should be no reason to uninstall it.

One of the reasons (send)mail must be present ties in quite well with the problem you're seeing, mail is for instance needed by cron to send output from batch jobs. /usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon implies that the messages originate from scheduled Cron Jobs.

You might want to check your cron jobs if something is failing there.

Normally though sendmail jobs as found in your ps output are very transient and you only see a large number of them is somebody is doing a mass mailing or your system is being abused to send spam. Check you maillog.

I have also seen similar behaviour when a disk became read-only. ( Check in /proc/mounts and/or with dmesg. Maybe the same happens with a full disk, df?) That was in combination with postfix looked more like this though:

/usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f root
/usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f root
/usr/sbin/postdrop -r
/usr/sbin/postdrop -r
/usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f root
/usr/sbin/postdrop -r
/usr/sbin/sendmail -FCronDaemon -i -odi -oem -oi -t -f root
/usr/sbin/postdrop -r
  • All my filesystems are rw, I don't send any emails (no net traffic), my cron is empty, root cron is empty, I don't see any mail.log anywhere in /var/logs, journalctl _COMM=sendmail does not output anything. Aug 23 '16 at 22:56

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