We have some sendmail aliases configured to distribute
meeting minutes to a mailing list AND copied to an
archive file for later reference, using the following
lines in /etc/aliases:
computer-minutes: computer, "|/usr/local/sbin/minutes \
The minutes script is as follows:
# minutes - add mail message to a minutes directory
# This script reads the standard input and appends it to a
# the directory specified by the first command line argument
# current year.. The file
# name is always the current year, month, and day in the
# and will be created if it does not already exist. The
purpose of this
# script is to facilitate the automatic archiving of
# sent to a mailing list.
if [ ! -d $1/$year ] ; then
and has permissions
-rwxrwxr-- 1 root mail 607 May 15 15:46
If we send an email to computer-minutes, it bounces back
with error messages:
----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors
----- Transcript of session follows -----
sh: minutes not available for sendmail programs
554 "|/usr/local/sbin/minutes /home/minutes/computer"...
procmail: Lock failure on "/var/spool/mail/gao.lock"
procmail: Lock failure on "/var/spool/mail/gur.lock"
procmail: Lock failure on "/var/spool/mail/macy.lock"
procmail: Lock failure on "/var/spool/mail/brensing.lock"
gao, gur, macy, brensing, and hughett are the names given
in the computer mailing list. Mailing to plain computer
(without the minutes archiving) works without any problems
and produces no complaints about lock files. This same
setup worked fine under RH 5.1.
It's not a bug, it's a feature: The pipes were often abused to launch malicious
Newer versions of sendmail permit you to launch programs only when they're
located in the /etc/smrsh directory, so the admin can make sure only approved
programs can be launched.