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Fri, Sep 26, 2008 12:51 pm

Maillog Not Rotating

The maillog file in /var/log had been rotated every night to produce maillog.1, maillog.2, etc. on a CentOS Linux server. But the log file rotation stopped at some point and the maillog file has been growning huge. The file contains entries related to messages processed by sendmail on the system.

In email from the Cron Daemon to the root account, I found messages with the following within them:


error: syslog:1 duplicate log entry for /var/log/maillog

I checked /etc/logrotate.conf, but didn't find any references to rotation of the maillog file there.

Contents of /etc/logrotate.conf:

# see "man logrotate" for details
# rotate log files weekly

# keep 4 weeks worth of backlogs
rotate 4

# create new (empty) log files after rotating old ones

# uncomment this if you want your log files compressed

# RPM packages drop log rotation information into this directory
include /etc/logrotate.d

# no packages own wtmp -- we'll rotate them here
/var/log/wtmp {
    minsize 1M
    create 0664 root utmp
    rotate 1

# system-specific logs may be also be configured here.

I then checked the /etc/logrotate.d directory. I found maillogrotate there.

Contents of /etc/logrotate.d/maillogrotate:

# Begin maillogrotate control file
/var/log/maillog {
   rotate 14
   create 0600 root root
   /bin/kill -HUP `cat /var/run/ 2> /dev/null` 2> /dev/null || true
# End maillogrotate control file

I also checked the /etc/logrotate.d/syslog file, since syslog may rotate the file.

Contents of /etc/logrotate.d/syslog:

/var/log/messages /var/log/secure /var/log/maillog /var/log/spooler /var/log/boot.log /var/log/cron {
        /bin/kill -HUP `cat /var/run/ 2> /dev/null` 2> /dev/null || true
        /bin/kill -HUP `cat /var/run/ 2> /dev/null` 2> /dev/null || true

So it appears that both the /etc/logrotate.d/maillogrotate and the /etc/logrotate.d/syslog files were attempting to rotate the maillog file on a daily basis.

Checking notes posted on my blog, I found I resolved the problem on another email server, a Redhat Linux server, on Friday, September 17 of 2004, almost exactly 4 years ago, and had posted my notes in Daily Rotation of Mail Logs. In that case, I had removed the /var/log/maillog reference from /etc/logrotate.d/syslog, so I did the same thing in this case as well. But this time, I decided to leave the maillogrotate file in /etc/logrotate.d.

Checking my notes for the CentOS email server, I see that I had in the past removed the /var/log/maillog reference from /etc/logrotate.d/syslog. Some installation or upgrade must of led to the version of the file I created then being overwritten.


  1. [Rocks-Discuss] /var/log/maillog in syslog.conf vs. /var/log/mail in logrotate.d/rocks
    Date: September 13, 2006
    SDSC Mailing List Server
  2. Pflogsumm issues
    Date: July 16, 2008
    HowtoForge - Linux Howtos and Tutorials
  3. Configuration: centos50
    System Configuration Collector (SCC)
  4. What the hell is rotating my mail.log?
    Date: February 23, 2007
    Stephan Paukner
  5. Rotating Linux Log Files - Part 1: syslog
    Date: Nisan 22, 2007
  6. Logging, Log File Rotation, and Syslog Tutorial
    Wayne Pollock's Home Page
  7. Daily Rotation of Mail Logs
    Date: September 17, 2004
    MoonPoint Support

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