Dovecot-common Install Error

Bug #611226 reported by Ian Barton
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
dovecot (Ubuntu)
Won't Fix

Bug Description

Binary package hint: dovecot-common

I am trying to install dovecot-imapd on a computer runming the following kernel: 2.6.32-305-ec2. I get the following errors:

root@xenmail:~# dpkg --configure dovecot-common
Setting up dovecot-common (1:1.2.9-1ubuntu6.1) ...
Creating generic self-signed certificate: /etc/ssl/certs/dovecot.pem
(replace with hand-crafted or authorized one if needed).
hostname: Name or service not known
dpkg: error processing dovecot-common (--configure):
 subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 1
Errors were encountered while processing:

I have in /etc/hosts. It looks as though the postinst script is failing somehow.

Running dpkg --reconfigure dovecot-common gives the same error.

After a bit of googling I found that I can install without errors if I first add the Dovecot security certificates to /etc/ssl/certs and /etc/private/ssl manually.


Revision history for this message
Antonis Kanouras (akanouras) wrote :

Hello Ian!

The revealing message here is "hostname: Name or service not known" which means there is a DNS issue on your system.
"hostname -i" and "hostname -d" should get you going on debugging this. Also take a look at /etc/nsswitch.conf.

Of course the package installation shouldn't have barfed that badly, but you'll be running into trouble all the time if your mail server has DNS issues.


Revision history for this message
Ian Barton (ian-manor-farm) wrote :


It is a DNS error. Let me explain what I have done. I am using a pre-built xen image from

Download stacklet for Ubuntu lucid X64. Create a xen instance using the image and login:

root@ubuntu:~# hostname
root@ubuntu:~# hostname -f

OK so that works as expected.

Now do a apt-get update and apt-get dist-upgrade, which installs a new EC2 kernel.

root@ubuntu:~# hostname
root@ubuntu:~# hostname -f
hostname: Name or service not known

In /etc/hostname I have just ubuntu. This happens using either DHCP, or a static IP. I am running bind9 on one of my servers and I am pretty confident that my DNS is OK. Note that hostname -f works fine on all other computers in my network.

So it looks as though it's something to do with the kernel which is:

root@ubuntu:~# uname -r


Revision history for this message
Antonis Kanouras (akanouras) wrote :

This is evolving to a subject better discussed at the forums by the way, as this seems to be a misconfiguration in the "stacklet".

The hostname is kept by the kernel in /proc/sys/kernel/hostname. In your case, it is "ubuntu".

What hostname -f does, is the equivalent of running

getent hosts `hostname` | awk '{print $2}'

on the command line. If that command doesn't work, "hostname -f" won't work either.

Please attach your /etc/resolv.conf, /etc/nsswitch.conf and /etc/hosts so I can see what's wrong with the NSS resolver on your system.


Revision history for this message
Ian Barton (ian-manor-farm) wrote :


Thanks for the feedback. Attached is the information you requested. The computer has a static ip address of It has bind9 installed, which is configured the same as my primary DNS server, which it will eventually replace. The computer is my secondary DNS. As far as I can tell bind is working correctly.




::1 localhost ip6-localhost ip6-loopback
fe00::0 ip6-localnet
ff00::0 ip6-mcastprefix
ff02::1 ip6-allnodes
ff02::2 ip6-allrouters

# /etc/nsswitch.conf
# Example configuration of GNU Name Service Switch functionality.
# If you have the `glibc-doc-reference' and `info' packages installed, try:
# `info libc "Name Service Switch"' for information about this file.

passwd: compat
group: compat
shadow: compat

hosts: files dns
networks: files

protocols: db files
services: db files
ethers: db files
rpc: db files

netgroup: nis

Revision history for this message
Ante Karamatić (ivoks) wrote : Re: [Bug 611226] Re: Dovecot-common Install Error

On 31.07.2010 14:29, Ian Barton wrote:


This is terribly wrong. Should be: localhost.localdomain localhost

Revision history for this message
Mathias Gug (mathiaz) wrote :

Thank you for taking the time to report this issue and helping to make Ubuntu better. Examining the information you have given us, this does not appear to be a bug report so we are closing it and converting it to a question in the support tracker. We appreciate the difficulties you are facing, but it would make more sense to raise problems you are having in the support tracker at if you are uncertain if they are bugs. For help on reporting bugs, see .

Changed in dovecot (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Won't Fix
Revision history for this message
Bill Mills (wmills) wrote :

I also had this issue. I saw a good number of questions but no answers so I am linking to my resolution in the forum.

It may not be a bug but hostname -f is definitely picker in 10.04 than it was in 9.10. I duplicated the same config in both (via a script using the official cononical EC2 AMIs for each) and the simple setup works in 9.10 and not in 10.04. editing /etc/hosts and /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf gets me to a working solution in 10.04.

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