Why spamassassin fails to start after upgrade

I decided that it was time to upgrade our spam filters today. It runs on 4 virtual gentoo installations, and it’s based on postfix and amavisd-new.

Most of the time, I find gentoo is really as beautiful as a distro can get. They try to do TheRightThing, and don’t fail as bad as the debian gang does most of the time.

Perl with CPAN is of course never going to be “compatible” with a package-based distro, but in Gentoo the developers are clever and caring, and they make tools like perl-cleaner that actually does a remarkable job.

As always, I’m employing the lazy upgrade methodology, (also known as ad-hoc patching, or on-demand upgrading, or more bluntly: I upgrade whenever I feel like it and have the time). This approach and gentoo is not always the best combination, but because gentoo is as good as it is, things usually work out very well for me, even when upgrading gblic, or, as recently, the init/baselayout. Gentoo is amazing. I still love it.

Anyway… After upgrading perl, spamassassin, and some other dependencies, spamassassin wouldn’t start, and the error message was a very cryptic:

child process [1234] exited or timed out without signaling production of a PID file: exit 25 at /usr/local/bin/spamd line 3334.

The solution? Just run “sa-update” to download new rules. Then it started just fine.

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