Permission problem in message command with guest ftp user

Joel Hammer Joel at
Thu Nov 8 16:52:02 GMT 2001

I haven't seen this posted so I will add one more reason why the message
command may not work: Permissions.
I have this in my [global]:
message command = /bin/bash -c 'cat %s | mutt -s You_logged_on jlh;rm %s' &  
This never would work and I never could figure out why.
Turns out that I have guest user ftp, who for security reasons doesn't have
much in the way of write privileges in my /var/spool/mail/jlh file:
-rwxrwxr-x jlh  mail  Nov  8 19:26 jlh 
All my logons are as a guest.
I couldn't find any errors in any logs, and other commands would work, just
not mutt (for example, echo Message sent > /tmp/message).
So, here is the clue:
ls -al `which mutt`
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  /usr/local/bin/mutt 
However, here is ls -al `which mail`
-rwxr-sr-x 1 root mail /bin/mail 
Here is the from address of the mail that samba sends me:
From: FTP user <ftp at  
So, keeping things simple, I just changed mutt to mail in my message
command, and now all it fine. I could have changed permission and ownership
on mutt, but, it it working fine, so, why mess with it.
At least I now know why the mail boxes must be in group mail!
I suspect that a command like kedit %s would fail too, because ftp wouldn't
have permissions, unless added by xhost +ftp, to write to the xserver.
I think I just posted to a "newbie" that permissions are 1/3 of the grief of
linux. Maybe I should have said 80%.
I JUST WISH I could have found this error reflected in some log somewhere!

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