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cron job output no longer in systemd journal (or sSMTP barges in)

asked 2014-04-26 19:00:51 -0500

pgueckel gravatar image

updated 2014-04-27 01:00:07 -0500

In Fedora 20, we no longer have an MTA, such as sendmail. Yay!

I have been running a nightly backup script as a user cron job. Everything has been going fine, until last night, when I noticed that the backup script is still running fine, but that there is now a dead.letter file (owned by mail:me) in my home directory.

I recall that shortly after installing Fedora 20 a few months ago, I checked the systemd journal and the cron messages were showing up there. I assumed that this was the default and this is what I want. I just checked the journal and it now shows:

Apr 26 17:15:12 desk.home sSMTP[18062]: Unable to locate mail
Apr 26 17:15:12 desk.home sSMTP[18062]: Cannot open mail:25
Apr 26 17:15:12 desk.home CROND[18058]: (me) MAIL (mailed 613 bytes of output but got status 0x0001

Why is this suddenly happening? How can I go back to the former behaviour?

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Thanks to both of you!

pgueckel gravatar imagepgueckel ( 2014-04-27 00:48:10 -0500 )edit

Sure thing; don't forget to upvote the answers and comments you found helpful!

bitwiseoperator gravatar imagebitwiseoperator ( 2014-04-27 15:39:22 -0500 )edit

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answered 2014-04-27 00:13:12 -0500

Ahmad Samir gravatar image

As far as I know there no MTA is installed by default now in Fedora. ssmtp was probably pulled as a dependency of a smartmontools update (that was the case on my system). So I can uninstall it but smartmontools will go with it.

What I ended up doing was edit /etc/sysconfig/crond and change the CRONDARGS value to:

CRONDARGS=-s -m off

-s send the job output to the system log

-m off disables sending mail of job output

then restart the crond service with systemctl restart crond.service.

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For what it's worth, after reading your original post I tested adding a MAILTO="" line to /etc/sysconfig/crond (and reverted the changes I did in the CRONDARGS line) but that didn't seem to work.

Ahmad Samir gravatar imageAhmad Samir ( 2014-04-27 00:14:49 -0500 )edit

I erased ssmtp and smartmontools (I don't use either). I also edited /etc/sysconfig/crond and now the output shows up in the systemd journal and there is no more ~/dead.letter. I am not sure if the last step is essential, but it is all back to how I want it.

pgueckel gravatar imagepgueckel ( 2014-04-27 00:53:59 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-04-26 22:01:04 -0500

updated 2014-04-26 22:03:34 -0500

So your title is a little misleading since you're not asking about how to redirect cron job output to the systemd journal, but rather how to resolve a problem which seems to manifest in the journal as an sSMTP issue. For that, we'll need more information. What is in the dead.letter file? Is it a message your cron job is generating and attempting to send under some circumstance(s)? You say the job is running well, so I suspect it is not an error message.

Anyway, what I would try is installing tcpdump (you can get it from the Fedora repositories, just use "sudo yum install tcpdump"). Scan for interfaces on your machine available to monitor (sudo tcpdump -D), choose the appropriate interface and monitor port 25 to watch the SMTP conversation (sudo tcpdump -i p20p1 -A port 25). The error reported by the mailhub you are using will likely tell you exactly what's going wrong.

Let me know how it goes; if you post any of the output you generate, be very careful not to include any identifying information.

P.S. You should check your /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf file and make sure your authentication information and mailhub information is still valid.

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Asked: 2014-04-26 19:00:51 -0500

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Last updated: Apr 27 '14