majordomo problems and solutions

majordomo problems and solutions

This article will be appended to from time to time as I encounter new and
wonderful problems with majordomo.  Actually, to be fair, majordomo
works well for me.  It’s only when I start changing things, like directory
permissions that I get into trouble.

Note, when you see on this page, it was probably until
I changed it because I was getting spam.

MAJORDOMO ABORT (mj_digest)!!

If you find this message:

Date sent:      	Sun, 7 May 2000 12:24:33 +1200 (NZST)
Subject:        	MAJORDOMO ABORT (mj_digest)
Send reply to:


MAJORDOMO ABORT (mj_digest)!!

open(MSG, ">/usr/local/majordomo/lists/
                     freshports-digest/001"): Permission denied

…then I have the solution for you.

The directory in question (freshports-digests) needs execute permission.  So make
sure that directory is chmod u+x.

directory permissions must be correct (added on 20 May 2000)

Today I found that the FreeBSD Diary Announce
mailing list
was not working.  In fact, the last message didn’t even make it out
to the list members.  And no error message bounced back to me.  After much
searching and comparisons to working mailing lists, I found the error to be directory

The breakthough occurred when I tried to verify one of the mailing list

# sendmail -bv freebsddiary-announce-freebsddiary-org-outgoing  
 ... Cannot open 
 Permission denied

OK.  That’s pretty clear.  Then I compared the directory permissions on the directory with the directory:

drwxr--r-- 4 majordom majordom 1024 May 20 15:10
drwxr-xr-x 5 majordom majordom  512 May 20 14:43

As you can see, had +x on group and other.  And I’m pretty sure
sendmail came under other.  So I did this:

chmod g+x

I tried again.  Same error.  OK.  One more chmod:

chmod o+x

This time, the "sendmail -bv" took a long time to complete (I assume it was
resolving all the email addresses on the mailing list) but it did succeed.

list owner not found (added on 12 May 2003)

I was moving some lists from one box to another and actually changing domains. In fact, I was
moving the announcement list for this website from
to The goal was simplification of background administration tasks.
I struggled with this error for about an hour (note that I have changed the domain name to
and the list name to mylist):

postfix/local[16648]: CEB6AAE4A7: to=<<, relay=local, delay=1, status=bounced (unknown user: "owner-mylist")

I looked everywere in my aliases and virtualuser files for the problem. I found nothing. Then I decided
to manually issue the command which Postfix was running:

postfix/local[16648]: D4885AE4A0: to=<>, relay=local, delay=2, status=sent
("|/usr/local/majordomo/wrapper resend -l mylist -C /usr/local/majordomo/ -h mylist-lists-exampleorg-outgoing")

So I did this from the command line:

cat ~/msg |/usr/local/majordomo/wrapper resend -l mylist -C /usr/local/majordomo/ -h mylist-lists-exampleorg-outgoing

Where ~/msg contained sample text which I wanted to send to the list. The
error became obvious immediately. A quick modification of
/usr/local/majordomo/ For those curious, I had
to change this line from:

$listdir = "$homedir/lists/";


$listdir = "$homedir/lists/";

The lesson: when it’s not doing what you want, do it yourself. And find the error.

MAJORDOMO WARNING (mj_majordomo) (added on 4 November 2005)

I started getting floods emails like this:

Subject: MAJORDOMO WARNING (mj_majordomo)
Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri,  4 Nov 2005 10:34:28 -0800 (PST)
X-Virus-Scanned: by amavisd-new at
X-Virus-Scanned: by amavisd-new at
X-PM-PLACEHOLDER:                                          .


MAJORDOMO WARNING (mj_majordomo)!!

open of temp file '/usr/local/majordomo/lists/' failed: Permission denied

In all, I got about 1160 of these messages within an 8 hour period. That’s about 5 every two minutes. It was not pleasant.
I also noticed that the Majordomo perl script was running:

majordom 91814 0.0 0.7 4012 3428 ?? Ss 10:24AM 0:00.74 /usr/bin/perl /usr/local/majordomo/majordomo -C /usr/local/majordomo/ (perl5.8.7)
majordom 91811 0.0 0.7 4012 3428 ?? Ss 10:24AM 0:00.70 /usr/bin/perl /usr/local/majordomo/majordomo -C /usr/local/majordomo/ (perl5.8.7)

I wrote a script to remove the queued up entries. This assumes you are using postfix:

mailq | grep |cut -c 1-9 | xargs -n 1 -J {} postsuper -d {}

It took me quite a while to find the cause of the problem. I did the usual things of checking for permission on the majordomo-related
alias and mapping files. They need to be chown majordom (no, that’s not a typo, the Majordomo user in FreeBSD is majordom;
just eight characters).

The solution was chmod u+x for the directories in which my majordomo files resided. For example:

[root@nezlok:/usr/local/majordomo/lists] # ls -ld lists.*
drwxr--r--   4 majordom  majordom   512 Oct 28 03:00
drwxr--r--   4 majordom  majordom   512 Nov  4 11:24
drwxr--r--  11 majordom  majordom  1024 Oct 10 17:27
drwxr--r--   6 majordom  majordom   512 Sep  5 17:14
drwxr--r--   3 majordom  majordom   512 Nov  4 11:25
drwxr--r--   5 majordom  majordom   512 Jul 11  2003
[root@nezlok:/usr/local/majordomo/lists] #

For what it’s worth, each of those directories contain the files for that virtual Majordomo domain:

[root@nezlok:/usr/local/majordomo/lists/] # ls -l
-rw-r--r-- 1 majordom majordom 2664 Oct 24 07:28 freebsddiary-announce
drw-r--r-- 2 majordom majordom 2560 Jun 4 2004 freebsddiary-announce.archive
-rw-r--r-- 1 majordom majordom 16389 Aug 24 06:30 freebsddiary-announce.config
-rw-r--r-- 1 majordom majordom 121 Dec 27 1999
[root@nezlok:/usr/local/majordomo/lists/] #

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