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EXIWHAT(8) System Manager's Manual EXIWHAT(8)


exiwhat - Finding out what Exim processes are doing




On operating systems that can restart a system call after receiving a signal (most modern OS), an Exim process responds to the SIGUSR1 signal by writing a line describing what it is doing to the file in the Exim spool directory. The exiwhat script sends the signal to all Exim processes it can find, having first emptied the file. It then waits for one second to allow the Exim processes to react before displaying the results. In order to run exiwhat successfully you have to have sufficient privilege to send the signal to the Exim processes, so it is normally run as root.

Unfortunately, the ps command which exiwhat uses to find Exim processes varies in different operating systems. Not only are different options used, but the format of the output is different. For this reason, there are some system configuration options that configure exactly how exiwhat works. If it doesn't seem to be working for you, check the following compile-time options:

the command for running “ps”
the argument for “ps”
the argument for “egrep” to select from “ps” output
the argument for the “kill” command

An example of typical output from exiwhat is

164 daemon: -q1h, listening on port 25 10483 running queue: waiting for 0tAycK-0002ij-00 (10492) 10492 delivering 0tAycK-0002ij-00 to mail.ref.example []
(editor@ref.example) 10592 handling incoming call from [] 10628 accepting a local non-SMTP message

The first number in the output line is the process number. The third line has been split here, in order to fit it on the page.


This manual page needs a major re-work. If somebody knows better groff than us and has more experience in writing manual pages, any patches would be greatly appreciated.


exim(8), /usr/share/doc/exim4-base/


This manual page was stitched together from spec.txt by Andreas Metzler <ametzler at>, for the Debian GNU/Linux system (but may be used by others).

March 26, 2003