Configuring sendmail on Jaguar
Subject:   Full system crash when receiving mail via IMAP
Date:   2002-09-19 09:16:14
From:   gavintiplady
First let me say how great these articles are. I'm a long (long!) Mac user and have been a non-sysadminy-type Unix user for some years, and you guys are really helping me understand how to get more out of Mac OS X.

I followed both articles (setting up site server, and configuring sendmail) very carefully and for a week or more have been sending mail directly from sendmail on my localhost (i.e. instead of via mail account at the ISP). Everything has been stable so far so I recently decided to take the plunge and fully mail-host my domain name.

I have a domain already and will be using (-Custom- DNS) to perform naming services, and have already been able to test that I will be able to receive mail when the cutover happens shortly, first by sending direct to my current IP address, i.e. user@x.x.x.x, and also by sending to a (different) -Dynamic- DNS which already points to my machine (this will make sense to people familiar with DynDNS). Both and Entourage work fine with the IMAP server.

The problem is that my Mac can quite reliably be made to crash, apparently when it physically receives email messages. By crash I mean a greyed out page (that may be the new way kernel panics are displayed in Jaguar - not sure) with the following message in English, French, German and Japanese: "You need to restart your computer. Hold down the power button for several seconds or press the Restart button. FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF - those are hex digits not my reaction :-)

The crash is apparently triggered when the sendmail/IMAP software receives mail behind the scenes. It's not related to or Entourage getting mail from the local IMAP server, because it can happen when either, both, or NEITHER, are running. Once it even happened the very moment I logged in to my userid - the only userid on the machine as yet with an mbox - after a restart

My set up:

- NETGEAR router, with ports 80, 25 (and a couple of others not relevant) open and forwarded to Mac.
- Airport serving Mac.
- Mac Powerbook G3/400 with 1Gb RAM running 10.2 with sendmail and IMAP operational
- WinTel box on local network running WinXP

What I've tried:

Send series of emails from hotmail web page to achieve "outside in" message sending

Configure WinTel to use Mac's mail server, send series of mails from it internally to mac (only tried this AFTER I noticed the problem - it cannot be the cause)

What I see:

When I "know" emails are arriving, from either of the above two sources, there seems about a 25% chance per email (i.e. VERY HIGH!) the crash will occur. Irrelevant whether mail clients are actually accessing the IMAP server or not.

Any ideas would be very welcome.

(Please forgive the long post, thought it might be a better idea than just saying "my mac crashes.....")

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  • Fixed now
    2002-09-21 22:32:46  gavintiplady [View]

    Tried scanning for disk problems, none found. Installed clean Jaguar on another disk, set up sendmail, worked OK.

    Contemplated migrating established environment from main partitions to new, shuddered at disruption and work involved..

    Had one further thought, turned off Norton Antivirus and Filesaver, rebooted, tried again, and now working fine.
    • James Duncan Davidson photo Fixed now
      2002-09-24 12:09:30  James Duncan Davidson | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

      Interesting. I'm glad that you followed up with the solution as I couldn't see anything that would cause the symptoms you were reporting.

      Yep, the new grey screen is how kernel panics are reported.

      Interesting that Norton's stuff causes such a problem. That's really scary and make me question what Norton is doing to the system.