MacOS X Server Security Update 2009-001 Screwed Up My amavisd

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After updating my MacOS X Server 10.5.6 with Security Update 2009-001, I rebooted and noticed that everything had gone to hell in the proverbial handbasket. Perl is updated to version 5.8.8 (with some local patches! Whee!) and—long story short—it seems that some modules just don’t like that.

Short story, longer:

This is what was appearing in the logs, over and over and over again:

Feb 12 19:02:00 shr-g5 org.amavis.amavisd[600]: ERROR: MISSING REQUIRED BASIC MODULES:
Feb 12 19:02:00 shr-g5 org.amavis.amavisd[600]:   Compress::Zlib
Feb 12 19:02:00 shr-g5 org.amavis.amavisd[600]: BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at /usr/bin/amavisd line 166.
Feb 12 19:02:00 shr-g5[1] (org.amavis.amavisd[600]): Exited with exit code: 255
Feb 12 19:02:00 shr-g5[1] (org.amavis.amavisd): Throttling respawn: Will start in 10 seconds

And if you Google the error, you’ll come up with nothing related to MacOS X Server. Crap.

Well, let’s try reinstalling ZLib.

And if you do that, you end up with a mess of error messages. Sorry! Try again!

But if you look at some old stuff and ignore the fact that this is a Mac, such as this reference to the same error, but on a Linux (eww!) distro, you’ll discover that the real error is not ZLib, but it might be something called Scalar::Util. (Well, it truly won’t load, but because Scalar::Util won’t work and ZLib depends on it.)

So, you figure you’ll just follow the advice of the post and reinstall Scalar::Util.

admin$ sudo perl -MCPAN -e shell
CPAN: File::HomeDir loaded ok (v0.82)

cpan shell -- CPAN exploration and modules installation (v1.9205)
ReadLine support enabled

cpan[1]> install Scalar::Util                                                                                                                                     
CPAN: Storable loaded ok (v2.15)
Going to read /Users/admin/.cpan/Metadata
  Database was generated on Thu, 12 Feb 2009 18:26:51 GMT
Scalar::Util is up to date (1.19).


Crap. Crappity, crappity, CRAP!

Asking CPAN shell for help is useless. So… Google again!

The missing link here is the word force.

All you have to do is

cpan[2]> force install Scalar::Util

and that fixes Scalar::Util so that ZLib can load so that amavisd can load, too. The errors go away, amavisd loads, and the best thing you can do at this point is restart your server to see if your system log comes up clean(ish).


I filed my first-ever bug report! (How exciting!) It’s bug 6584649 in case you want to follow it.

Another Update

I’m running a PowerMac Dual 2GHz G5. That makes a difference in the architecture of things. Maybe things are all hunky-dory in Intel-land?


Rob said:

Dude, thanks for saving me hours and hours of hair pulling and potential management displeasure. Applied this same patch to fix f---ed AFP server (high CPU load), and encountered exactly what you described. I however, have nothing against Linux, it's PERL that creeps me out. I remembered enough CPAN to check the ZLIB (and found it OK) but didn't know about the Scalar and totally forgot you could force install.

Funny thing, about a week ago something happened where my mail server on 10.5.6 wouldn't restart the postfix portion right without running the configure wizard, (another issue...) whenthe wizard failed tonight that had me look at my logs and say wtf.

Anyhow, thanks much for being visible on Google. I'd sign in to Moveable Type to write this, but it says I have the wrong password for making a new account.



Bill Eccles said:

Hey, Rob, glad to have been of service. It really made my day to see that I had helped someone out, especially since I was totally frustrated after yesterday's many failures (of every kind, most unrelated to computers).

Apparently, you're not alone. As I tell Apple in the bug report, I've seen about 60 hits on this page (in less than 12 hours--that's a lot for this blog) and many different search strings being used which look like "amavisd macos x server security update 2009-001" or similar.

Others have had problems with the MT login--dunno' what's up with that. I'll play with it a bit. (Yay! Something else to fix!)

Larry said:

Another person saying "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!". I tried to reinstall Zlib and when it was no help, then google'd and got your page as the first hit. Force installed Scalar::Util and on the next attempt, amavisd was up and running.

It's getting to the point where for some of us, the Security Updates break more than they fix. Besides this, there's Apple's idea (that they try to fix every update now) that postfix listening externally is a bug. Uh, it's a mail server! It's suppose to listen to the outside world!

Greg said:

Thank you! I am running OS X on the same G5 you describe and your directions worked for my server.

Bill Eccles said:

Hey, guys, glad to have been of help. You guys don't know how cool it is for me that somebody actually used this info. Interestingly, this page has seen 116 hits now, so it's something of a big deal for at least a few people in the world.

Aitor said:

Are you serious!? Somebody? I think every single person who uses OS X Server and applied this security update awakened the next morning with a big headache and blaming Apple about this, and you came to the rescue dude! For some reason the mail server was working until the day before yesterday (I think a part of me don't install these updates knowing these kind of things definitely happend in the new-Apple-era) and, well, the rest is history... Your post should be pinned somehow at Apple's Dev site. And this guys should learn that fixing some things at expense of others it is a bad practice. Apple is lowering standards here for a while. So sad... A BIG THANKS!