When I do this

% mail -s "test" me@icloud.com < mail-text

it takes a few seconds, then it comes back with this error message:

/home/zach/dead.letter... Saved message in /home/zach/dead.letter

Still, the recipient (me, in this case) does receive the mail just fine. I am puzzled by this and would like to send the mail without the error message.

Also, I have just the same line in cron bash script, but I have not seen any error messages or dead.letter's from that. Any ideas, what might be the difference?

Another funny thing is that if I use mailx instead of mail, everything works just fine.

My Unix is: SunOS login 5.10 Generic_150401-06

Thanks a lot in advance for all kinds of insights or pointers.

PS: yes, I have already googled, but the only reasons for a dead.letter I have found is when mail could not finish sending, which it does in my case, apparently.


Have you looked at the mail log entries in /var/log/syslog? You should find lines with the words '... User unknown'

The default mail program does not accept -s "test" and therefor treats "test" as recipient. The dead.letter is saved for the non-mailable recipient called test. Try to add -t to the mail command to see "To: test" appearing in the dead.letter.

Finally omit -s "test" from your mail command to run it successful without creating/appending to the dead.letter file.

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