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VMSMAIL_PROFILE issues

 
Richard W Hunt
Valued Contributor

VMSMAIL_PROFILE issues

Site: U.S. Dept. of Defense
System: Alpha ES40 running OpenVMS 8.3, patched through October's patches.

Problem: Our security team requires me to run certain reports for system inconsistencies. I do not get to "critique" the sanity of the required reports. (You may read whatever you wish between the lines on that one.)

One of the call-outs is that a user's new-mail count is wrong. I know this because I know how to read the MAIL.MAI file to count the "NEWMAIL" headers and I also know how to read the VMSMAIL_PROFILE.DATA file to find the mail count field in the user's mail profile record.

I am not sure how the counts became divergent but recall that user premature logouts can have a bad effect on this sort of thing. I know that if our users would just use the READ/NEW command at the MAIL> prompt, they would fix the counts themselves. But many of the worst cases are users who log in less than once per month to pick up reports. Getting them to log in at all, much less do the correct commands, is often like pulling teeth.

Dealing with a U.S. Government security bureaucrat makes it impossible for me to tell the guy that it is a benign finding. They don't appear to understand "benign." (Sorta like that line in "Men in Black"... "Ma'am, we don't have a sense of humor."

This leaves me with the problem of how to force a reset of the VMSMAIL_PROFILE count to match reality. I've searched the HP site, ask-the-wizard topics, and documentation in general, but I can't seem to find any way to unilaterally reset that counter without involving the user.

Did I miss a command that could be issued from the SYSTEM account? Is there a utility somewhere that would reset the counter?
Sr. Systems Janitor
3 REPLIES 3
Richard W Hunt
Valued Contributor

Re: VMSMAIL_PROFILE issues

Sorry, forgot that I had posted this before and (believe it or not) it didn't show up on a forum search. I'll close this one and leave the other one open.

Sr. Systems Janitor
Jon Pinkley
Honored Contributor

Re: VMSMAIL_PROFILE issues

Here's a link to the original thread.

http://forums.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/questionanswer.do?threadId=1375030

To me it seems about as much as can be said has been said. And it seems that you have rejected the proposed solutions due to limits of using software that has disclaimers of liability.

Seriously, Hoff's suggestion of just disabling mail is probably the best solution.

The other is to ask the security team what the proper solution is, in other words put the monkey back on their back.

Good luck,

Jon
it depends
Richard W Hunt
Valued Contributor

Re: VMSMAIL_PROFILE issues

Actually, no, I didn't reject the idea of using the callable mail routines to reset this counter, I honestly just forgot that I had posted.

Sometimes here we get, as the government likes to call it, "Overwhelmed by events." Between that post and my return to addressing the issue, I just totally had a brain cramp due to being pummelled by an "emergency upgrade" (also caused by the security wonks), who suddenly were no longer satisfied with our previous version of OpenVMS.

Had to propagate that upgrade among four servers on opposite sides of the country. Typical last-minute government scramble. You'd think I'd get used to it by now and just make good notes whenever one of these "flaps" get started. But I guess I didn't.
Sr. Systems Janitor