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Old 04-21-2007, 01:58 PM   #1
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: Thames Valley, UK
Distribution: RedHat from 5 -9, Fedora, Ubuntu, Centos 3 - 7, Puppy Linux
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fetchmail - why does CentOS 5 not like my old cron job?

I have (eventually) got round to upgrading my RH7.1 server. Now I'm using CentOS 5 - which is great and so far everything is doing what it should.

I run a fetchmail cron with multidrop. Before on my RH7.1 I simply had the .fetchmailrc in /root and then had the following lines in my crontab (root's crontab I should add)

0,5,10,15,20,25,30,35,40,45,50,55 7-23 * * 0-6 /usr/bin/fetchmail -E X-Envelope-To -s
0 0-6 * * 0-6 /usr/bin/fetchmail -E X-Envelope-To -s

I've done the same again (ie .fetchmailrc in /root and the same crontab entries), however I am getting mail to root everytime it runs saying:

Subject: Cron <root@catulus> /usr/bin/fetchmail -E X-Envelope-To -s
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
Auto-Submitted: auto-generated
X-Cron-Env: <SHELL=/bin/sh>
X-Cron-Env: <HOME=/root>
X-Cron-Env: <PATH=/usr/bin:/bin>
X-Cron-Env: <LOGNAME=root>
X-Cron-Env: <USER=root>

fetchmail: WARNING: Running as root is discouraged.

Why? I never got messages before with an identical script.

If it shouldn't running as root, how should I run it?
Do user's cron jobs only run when they are logged in?

Old 04-21-2007, 03:12 PM   #2
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Registered: May 2004
Location: In the DC 'burbs
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RH 7.1 is ancient and was probably running an equally ancient version of fetchmail. The don't run as root warning was probably added in a later version of fetchmail. It's good advice, too, if you run fetchmail as root and there is a security flaw in it or you have it con figured badly, then a malicious server or mail message could be used to gain complete control of your system for an attacker.

The solution is to run fetchmail as a nonprivileged user. A user's cron jobs run whenever they are scheduled -- not jsut when the user is logged in.
Old 04-23-2007, 03:02 PM   #3
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: Thames Valley, UK
Distribution: RedHat from 5 -9, Fedora, Ubuntu, Centos 3 - 7, Puppy Linux
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Thanks for that. Will run it as a user instead!


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