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I just installed Mutt and I'm currently unable to delete mail from my mailbox. Mutt will give a message saying it is unable to do this because the mailbox is ready-only. I can send and receive messages fine.

I searched for a solution and the advice is to set group id for the file mutt_dotlock. Following the instructions I ran the command:

ls -lF `which mutt` `which mutt_dotlock`

which gave the following result:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root    22 May  6 12:36 /usr/bin/mutt -> /etc/alternatives/mutt*
-rwxr-sr-x 1 root mail 10600 Aug 24  2012 /usr/bin/mutt_dotlock*

I then ran sudo chmod g+s /usr/bin/mutt_dotlock but the mailbox is still read-only. Permissions for mutt-dotlock are now:

-rwxrwsr-x 1 root mail 10600 Aug 24  2012 /usr/bin/mutt_dotlock

Next I checked the permissions on my mail file in /var/mail using ls -l /var/mail/steve:

-rw------- 1 steve vmail 10457 Aug 11 19:29 steve

So, following the advice on the web I ran chmod 700 on /var/mail/steve and the permissions are currently:

-rwx------ 1 steve   vmail 10457 Aug 11 19:29 steve

This still did not allow me to delete email in Mutt. Finally, someone suggested running chmod 2775 on /usr/bin/mutt_dotlock, which I did and the permissions are now:

-rwxrwsr-x 1 root mail 10600 Aug 24  2012 /usr/bin/mutt_dotlock

I still can't delete mail and I don't know where to go from here. The permissions all look OK. Is there a way to verify that the dot lock is being created in /var/mail? This is a basic mail gateway that I set up on a Debian server using Postfix with unix system accounts. No POP3 or imap and I'd rather not bother.

I'm not very familiar with Mutt but I would like to keep using it as a way to check my mail from the command line but eventually will need to delete messages. :) I know Mutt is still in use so if anyone has seen this before or can offer any advice I would really appreciate the help. Thanks.

share|improve this question
What does ls -ld /var/mail show? If the group on that directory matches the group on your mailbox the mutt_dotlock command will actually need to be changed to belong to the vmail group. – qqx Aug 12 '13 at 17:12
Good catch. ls -ld /var/mail is showing: drwxrwsr-x 2 vmail vmail 4096 Aug 11 19:29 /var/mail. I guess chown root:vmail /usr/bin/mutt_dotlock eh? – Steve Aug 12 '13 at 17:16
Yes, I believe that would fix it. – qqx Aug 12 '13 at 17:17
No, I thought it would as well but same problem. I also verified that I can delete mail using system mail command but not Mutt. – Steve Aug 12 '13 at 17:23

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