MailScanner defunct processes

Julian Field MailScanner at
Thu Apr 24 18:01:43 IST 2008

Dave Jones wrote:
>>>> [root at server2 MailScanner]# MailScanner --debug
>>>> In Debugging mode, not forking...
>>>> Trying to setlogsock(unix)
>>>> SpamAssassin temp dir = /mnt/ramdisk/SpamAssassin-Temp
>>>> Use of uninitialized value in concatenation (.) or string at
>>>> /usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl/5.8.8/Mail/ line 1088.
>>>> Use of uninitialized value in concatenation (.) or string at
>>>> /usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl/5.8.8/Mail/ line 1090.
>>>> Building a message batch to scan...
>>>> Have a batch of 30 messages.
>>>> Error PPS:0
>>> There's your problem. I don't know what is generating "Error PPS:0" but
>>> that's certainly the problem. Do a
>>>   grep -rl 'Error PPS' /usr/lib/perl5
>>> and see what it says.
>>> Jules
>> [root at server2 MailScanner]# grep -rl 'Error PPS' /usr/lib/perl5
>> /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.8.8/OLE/
>> [root at server2 MailScanner]#
> Update:  The files are identical on the 2 servers.  I
> tried rpmbuild'ing the module but it looks the same.  How do I
> troubleshoot what is using this Perl module and can this functionality
> be disabled by a MailScanner.conf setting?  I don't think we use any
> OLE document processing.
> Our Nagios monitoring is now alerting us on some mail loop checks we
> have in place for the problem server.  Further investigating shows the
> we had a period of around 1 hour and 20 minutes early this morning
> that MailScanner did not move any messages from the inbound queue to
> the outbound queue.  The maillog shows 276 "is whitelisted" messages
> for a single message ID but that MailScanner process never goes on to
> the next step.  During this time period, we had almost all (if not
> all) of the MailScanner processes in a defunct state.  I am pretty
> sure that the normal MailScanner restart "woke up" the email flow
> based on the maillog.
Any chance you could find the problem message and send me a zipped-up 
copy of it for me to work with?
The only way to disable the Storage_Lite code is to comment out the 
calls to sub "ExtractOle" in (in 
/usr/lib/MailScanner/MailScanner). Otherwise it is automatically used 
whenever it sees an attachment which starts with the "magic" strings 
that define a Microsoft Office document.

If we can narrow down the problem to a particular call in Storage_Lite, 
then I can post a bugfix to the maintainer. Without it, there's little I 
can do.


Julian Field MEng CITP CEng
Buy the MailScanner book at

MailScanner customisation, or any advanced system administration help?
Contact me at Jules at Jules.FM

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