What are the permissions on /var/mail? If it's owned by root and doesn't give your account permission to the directory, you won't get to write to it, even if you have write access to the symlink. Example:
$ mkdir foo foo/bar foo/baz foo/bat
$ cd foo
$ chmod 000 bar
$ ls -al
drwxr-xr-x 5 marco marco 4096 2012-08-18 22:07 .
drwxr-xr-x 4 marco marco 28672 2012-08-18 22:07 ..
d--------- 2 marco marco 4096 2012-08-18 22:07 bar
drwxr-xr-x 2 marco marco 4096 2012-08-18 22:07 bat
drwxr-xr-x 2 marco marco 4096 2012-08-18 22:07 baz
OK, now we have directories bar and bat, identical except that bar has no permissions for anyone. Let's go into baz and make symlinks to bar and bat:
$ cd baz
$ ln -s ../bar bar
$ ln -s ../bat bat
$ ls -al
drwxr-xr-x 2 marco marco 4096 2012-08-18 22:08 .
drwxr-xr-x 5 marco marco 4096 2012-08-18 22:07 ..
lrwxrwxrwx 1 marco marco 6 2012-08-18 22:08 bar -> ../bar
lrwxrwxrwx 1 marco marco 6 2012-08-18 22:08 bat -> ../bat
As you can see, the permissions on the bar symlink are the same as for the bat symlink. Let's create a file and copy it to bar and bat:
$ touch t
$ cp t bat
$ cp t bar
cp: cannot stat `bar/t': Permission denied
$ ls bat
$ ls bar
ls: cannot open directory bar: Permission denied
What happened? You have access to the symlink, but not to the underlying directory. In short, if you're going to write a file to the directory, you'll need write access to the underlying directory.
...roboticusWhen your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like your thumb.
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