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sendmail unknown user error

James Oxley
Occasional Visitor

sendmail unknown user error

I am having a Sendmail problem on a HP9000 running HP-UX 11.0. The HP9000 is not our email server, we are using a SBS as our email server and the SBS is setup not to relay email.

When I try to send email to a local user I receive the following error: User unknown
/dead.letter... Saved message in /dead.letter

I can send email from the HP9000 to external people OK. I have the /etc/mail/ 'Dj' set to 'Dj$', without this setting my external people do not get their email.

I think part of our problem is that my logon name is jimo but my email address is joxley.

All I what to do is send email to our internet email server. It looks like our HP9000 is trying to lookup my email address as a local user. I tried setting up an aliases and adding my email address to the /etc/passwd file but with both I was not able to send email to our internet email server.

Is there anyway to disable the user lookup of local users and just send the email?

Joseph Loo
Honored Contributor

Re: sendmail unknown user error

hi james,

refer to this:

(p.s. please remember to assign points.)
what you do not see does not mean you should not believe
James Oxley
Occasional Visitor

Re: sendmail unknown user error

Thanks for the help.

As I said above in the file
/etc/mail/ 'Dj' set to 'Dj$' and 'DS' is null

I do not want to relay the email, I just want to send it to the person I'm sending it to.

If I send an email to someone not on the email gets sent without any problems.

The host that I am sending the email from is not ''.
Steven E. Protter
Exalted Contributor

Re: sendmail unknown user error

For the HP-UX server to send mail to the internal user it needs to know who that user is.

There are a few ways to do it.

1) There can be a local user on the Unix machine. The problem there is that won't get it off the Unix machine.

2) You can in essence forward the mail with the virtuertable


this will actually push the mail off the unix server onto the hostname in the right hand entry, separated by a tab.

The receiving server must be explicitly set up to allow relay from the Unix box.

You need not relay everything with the DS directive, though this would be effective.

Basically when your sendmail picks up it will push the mail to

Try it with one user


sendmail -v -d8.99 -d38.99

You will see in verbose format the mail being pushed out of the queue to the target server.

Any errors should be obvious to see and correct.

virtusertables can be generated with by script even from the Windows SBS server if it uses LDAP or ADS.

example for your user


I can become more verbose, ask anyone, but will stop here.

For more see

If you post back, I'll follow if you wish.

Steven E Protter
Owner of ISN Corporation
James Oxley
Occasional Visitor

Re: sendmail unknown user error

Adding my local username in front of my email address did not work and when I tried
sendmail -v -d8.99 -d38.99 myname
I received an error saying 8.99 Unknown User, 38.99 Unknown User.

Should I chasnge the domain name I have in
/etc/mail/ 'Dj' to something else. I have tried some other domains but they did not work.


Is there a domin I can enter to the 'DS' setting that will relay my email.
Mark Greene_1
Honored Contributor

Re: sendmail unknown user error

"Is there a domin I can enter to the 'DS' setting that will relay my email."

No, DS will only accept the name of a relay server. So unless you have an in-house mail server you can forward to, you'll not be able to send mail to any address, and you'll only be able to send mail to users Login IDs that have been setup on the HP box.

the future will be a lot like now, only later
Honored Contributor

Re: sendmail unknown user error

By defining only Dj macro to
you are the defining it as a local domain and I guess the SBS comes under the same domain. That's why you could able to send mails to domain users through DNS.
Dj macro should have been 'Dj$'

You are trying to send mail to a user on the domain which the system couldn't find its reference either from DNS or in /etc/hosts ( if defined ). In this case , sendmail will attempt local delivery of the mail. But there has to be an account for the user on the system. In you case , even you have local account user account , it is still unknown to sendmail and it giving error with dead letter ( maybe problem with alias "joxley"). You should either test this with actual user name ( or proper alias) and define your domain in the /etc/hosts file or in DNS . Be aware you need to check for nsswitch.conf file to use /etc/hosts file.

There is a way to define local domain '' using Dm and Dj macro which send every mail in that domain directly ( without relaying ) and then you can define a DS macro for the SBS which would get relayed mails other than your local domain.

James Oxley
Occasional Visitor

Re: sendmail unknown user error

When I changed the /etc/mail/ 'Dj' my domin users where able to receive email sent from our domin but noone else received their email.

If I have /etc/mail/ 'Dj' set to anything other then 'Dj$' anyone not in our domain do not receive their email.