Request Tracking System (contacting root)

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The systems staff group (aka "") should be contacted using the Request Tracker system via email to Please do not email individual staff members directly, even if you are addressing the request to a particular staff member (this is fine). Using the request tracker system allows all of us to see the request (in the event a particular staff member is not working) in order to keep up to date on the status of various requests; it also helps us manage our work flow.Thank you!

Reporting Problems

A short set of guidelines for asking for help - the more information you give us initially, the faster we can address your problem (the less email back and forth gathering information).

Who, What & Where

Who: Please give us as much user information as possible; most of the time you're just reporting something about your own account, and we can infer this, but if your problem involves anyone else, please give us as much identifying information as possible (email address, userid, etc.).

What: Please be as specific as possible about what the problem is - what exactly you were trying to do when you encountered the problem. For example, "the web is down" is not as helpful as "I was trying to load this URL and it timed out".

Where: Please let us know what computer you were using when you had the problem, and whether you were on the wired network or WiFi.

Diagnostic information

Please include as much diagnostic information as possible when you send a request to root or report a problem. The more information you give us, the easier it is for us to quickly respond to your problem. Please include the command you were executing, the directory and or files you were reading|writing to, and the error reported.

Ideally, if you can cut-and-paste a copy of what is in your terminal window, or attach a screenshot, this will convey a huge amount of information to us. This helps us *duplicate your problem*, which is critical to being able to diagnose and correct it.


These are some common error messages that you may encounter when sending mail to the request system, and how to address them (if at all).

Error: "Extended mailgate error"

Sometimes when sending mail to root, you may receive this response from the system.

The RT program|system has the ability to react to commands embedded in email message bodies.

The parser looks at the first line of the body of the message to see if the first word ends in a colon; from your original message (below are examples from a full message body):

>> --001a1143d5e476f322051fdf95a1
>> content-type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>> X-RT-Original-Encoding: utf-8
>> lg5bt@power1:~/.ssh$ ssh-keygen

if RT does find a colon at the end of the first "word" (non-whitespace characters), then it tries to interpret the word as an RT command; in this case it doesn't understand the command "lg5bt@power1":

>> Failed command 'lg5bt@power1: ~/.ssh$ ssh-keygen'
>> Error message: Command 'lg5bt@power1' is unknown