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I'm getting regular errors in my syslog (they're occurring exactly every 10 minutes, to the second):

Feb 22 13:01:24 computer sm-mta[5747]: q1MBVO6B003778: SYSERR(root): hash map "Alias0": missing map file /etc/mail/aliases.db: No such file or directory

I don't know how to interpret these errors, but am I right in guessing that the sm-mta[5747]   part of of the error is the application name and process ID? If so, this would seem odd to me as I do not have sm-mta installed and System Monitor does not have a process ID with that number. I'm probably being stupid as usual!

How can I find out what's causing these errors and stop them from occuring, please?

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Welcome to askubuntu! If Oli's answer answered your question you can just check the checkmark by his answer, that marks it solved, thanks! – Jorge Castro Feb 22 '12 at 18:47
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I read sm-mta as sendmail MTA (Message transfer agent). That seems to make sense based on the error message.

sendmail is a program that relays email messages around, either letting applications send email through it, or accepting email and routing it towards mailboxes.

So a couple of things:

  • You've got sendmail installed! It's a horrible application so unless you've got a good reason for it to be installed, I suggest you nuke it.

    sudo apt-get remove sendmail

    If this moans about wanting to remove other applications which are dependent on the sendmail package, weigh it up. If those applications just need something to provide default-mta or mail-transport-agent, consider using postfix which provides those roles.

  • If you need a local MTA (to handle email), I suggest postfix. Nice, fairly simple and very capable.

    sudo apt-get install postfix
  • If you need sendmail (ie something has a hard dependency on it that you can't replace), then you want to look at fixing this specific error. Something like this might work:

    makemap hash /etc/mail/aliases.db < /etc/mail/aliases
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Thanks Oli, but I had already nuked sendmail (by removing it in Synaptic) which is another reason why this error is baffling me. (I wish I'd never installed the blasted software but a program I thought I needed insisted on installing sendmail as well. I've since nuked both.) I don't need postfix either and ideally I'd like to track down the culprit that's causing this error and nuke that too, but I don't know how. – dunderhead Feb 22 '12 at 18:03

Bah! Although I had removed sendmail I had not restarted my computer. I didn't realise that some vestiges of the program would still run after Synaptic had uninstalled it! Checking now, after a restart, I'm not getting those errors any more. Sorry to have troubled everyone! (Should I delete this question? And if so, how?)

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