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Procmail works on one system but not on another

1996-06-17 00:19:41
I successfully implemented procmail on my account at the
university in Hawaii to forward all my mail, since their
dial-up lines are always busy.

I did this by creating .forward and .procmailrc files and
then going to the unix % prompt and issuing the commands:

chmod g+r .forward
chmod o+r .forward

to make my .foward file group and world readable, and

chmod g+x .
chmod o+x .

to make my directory group and world executable.

In my other account I attempted to implement procmail using
an identical (except for substituting appropriate directory
names for that account) .forward and .procmailrc files, and
issuing the same commands at the available "mini-prompt"
available on that system.

I discovered to my horror, after leaving for ten days in
Manila and telnetting from there to my ISP in Hawai, that there was no mail in 
my mail directory, although there was
a large file in my $MAILDIR/from directory which appeared
to be composed of the headers of mail which had arrived
during that period.  Thinking that this meant that all my 
mail was bouncing, I deleted the .forward and .procmailrc
files, and everything went back to normal.

Apparently the mail was not bouncing, but simply disappearing,
since I did not get a flurry of flames from the listservs I
am subscribed to about the bounced mail.

Later, I was told by someone at this ISP (who may or may not
know what he was talking about) that the reason it didn't
work on their system was that on their system (which allows
access to what they call a "mini-prompt" but is not a full
shell account so that they don't have to support users
who aren't familiar with unix) I didn't have the ability
to issue "chmod" commands.  I figured that if the command
didn't work, that I would have got an error message, but
according to the person I spoke with, the command did not
work but I would not get an error message either.

Given this background, my questions are: 

1.   Is this a feasible explanation as to why it didn't
     work?  In other words if these chmod commands aren't
     issued will that cause the behavior of disappearing
     mail that I experienced?

2.   If the answer is "Yes" to the question above, if
     I were to be able to get some administrator on that
     system to issue those chmod commands for me *once*
     (by giving him my password) could I then modify
     the .forward file from time to time (by substituting
     different content, even including a blank .forward file
     or a .forward file with the name of the same ISP that
     the .forward file is located at when I don't want my
     mail forwarded) and still have the .forward file
     group and world readable, as long as I never actually
     *deleted* the .forward file?

     The reaon I ask this is that it seems that if I ever
     deleted the .forward file, then when I created a new 
     one I would have to issue the chmod commands again,
     and I know that will not be feasible to get them to
     issue these commands for me each time, but if I can
     just modify the .forward file and have the group and
     world readable attribute for that file remain intact,
     then maybe I can make this work.

     I do travel frequently, and for this reason where to
     forward my mail and *if* I want it forwarded is not
     something that will ever remain static.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

Dave Martin

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