Subject: Re: /var/mail permissions...
To: Erik E. Fair <>
From: Jonathan Stone <jonathan@DSG.Stanford.EDU>
List: current-users
Date: 05/24/1997 12:37:29
At 9:44 -0700 5/24/97, Peter Seebach wrote:

>AFAICT, if you install NetBSD from scratch, non-root users can no
>longer run mail correctly, because mail will always fail to lock
>the mailbox, because /var/mail is not writeable by it.
>While the security problem here is obvious, is there any reason
>mail isn't being changed to adapt?

On Sat, 24 May 1997 12:19:36 -0700, Erik Fair replied:

> Just using flock(2) will
>mean that locking won't work on NFS'd /var/mail partitions, but NFS-based
>locks never did work anyway, so only very foolish people actually NFS their
>/var/mail partitions...


Ad-hominem like that may be a good debating tactic, but it's not
useful technical discussion.

I've used NFS-mounted /var/spool/mail for about a decade.  All MUAs on
the systems sharing the NFS mail spool are required to honour Bellmail
(dot) locking.  Sure, when you can't guarantee that all clients use
dot-locking (or you can't mandate it by fiat :) then *this* is
foodllish.  But if you can, there's nothing foolish about it at all.

>I personally recommend that we just use flock(2), and DOCUMENT that we do so=

Judging from the last flamewar about this, there are enough people who
disagree with you, and use NetBSD in environments where that breaks
their e-mail setup, that this isn't going to happen.

>Either way, Mail(1) needs to be fixed.

Yup, no argument there.