procmail: Renaming bogus mailbox

One of my web hosting customers reported that emails sent from his account were returned with the following error message:

can’t create user output file. Command output: procmail: Renaming bogus mailbox

What was going on?

In order to troubleshoot this issue, I performed the following:

  • Checked /var/log/maillog for errors – only saw the error messages reported
  • Ensured the hard drive had enough free space – it did
  • Ensured permissions were set correctly on the appropriate directories – they were
  • Ensured DNS was working properly – it was
  • Ensure procmail rules were not causing problems – they were not
  • Checked procmail logs – they reported out of space – ?

Why would procmail report out of space when the hard drive had plenty of available space?
Quotas! Turned out the customer had exceeded their storage quota and as such mail could not be written to disc. I had the customer delete some old data and mail started working as expected. The error message was helpful, but the ‘renaming bogus mailbox’ can really throw you off.

© 2011, Steve Flanders. All rights reserved.

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