See also the Mailman FAQ for more information.
Mailman Frequently Asked QuestionsQ. How do you spell this program?
A. You spell it "Mailman", with a leading capital "M" and a lowercase second "m". It is incorrect to spell it "MailMan" (i.e. you should not use StudlyCaps).
Q. I'm getting really terrible performance for outgoing messages. It
seems that if the MTA has trouble resolving DNS for any recipients,
qrunner just gets really slow clearing the queue. Any ideas?
In Exim, the value to edit is receiver_verify_hosts. Consult the Mailman Installation Manual for details. Other MTAs have (of course) different parameters and defaults that control this. First check the README file for your MTA and then consult your MTA's own documentation.
Q. My list members are complaining about Mailman's List-* headers!
What can I do about this?
Q. Can I put the user's address in the footer that Mailman adds to
OWNERS_CAN_ENABLE_PERSONALIZATION = Yes
Once this is done, list admins can enable personalization for regular delivery members (digest deliveries can't be personalized currently). A personalized list can include the user's address in the footer.
Q. My users hate HTML in their email and for security reasons, I want
to strip out all MIME attachments. How can I do this?
Q. What if I get "document contains no data" from the web server, or
mail isn't getting delivered, or I see "Premature end of script
headers" or "Mailman CGI error!!!"
To fix this you will need to re-configure Mailman using the --with-cgi-gid and --with-mail-gid options. See the INSTALL file for details.
These errors are logged to syslog and they do not show up in the Mailman log files. Problems with the CGI wrapper do get reported in the web browser though (unless STEALTH_MODE is enabled), and include the expected GID, so that should help a lot.
You may want to have syslog running and configured to log the mail.error log class somewhere; on Solaris systems, the line
causes the messages to go to them in /var/log/syslog, for example. (The distributed syslog.conf forwards the message to the loghost, when present. See the syslog man page for more details.)
If your system is set up like this, and you get a failure trying to visit the mailman/listinfo web page, and it's due to a UID or GID mismatch, then you should get an entry at the end of /var/log/syslog identifying the expected and received values.
If you are not getting any log messages in syslog, or in Mailman's own log files, but messages are still not being delivered, then it is likely that qrunner is not running (qrunner is the process that handles all mail in the system). In Mailman 2.0, qrunner was invoked from cron so make sure your crontab entries for the `mailman' user have been installed. In Mailman 2.1, qrunner is started with the bin/mailmanctl script, which can be invoked manually, or merged with your OS's init scripts.
Q. What should I check periodically?
You may want to periodically check the other log files in the logs/ directory, perhaps occasionally rotating them with something like the Linux logrotate script.
Q. I can't access the public archives. Why?
Q. Still having problems? Running QMail?
|preline /home/mailman/mail/mailman post listname
"preline" adds a Unix-style "From " header which the archiver requires. You can fix the archive mbox files by adding:
From somebody Mon Oct 9 12:27:34 MDT 2000
before every message and re-running the archive command "bin/arch listname". The archives should now exist.
Q. I want to get rid of some messages in my archive. How do I do
Q. How secure are the authentication mechanisms used in Mailman's web
However, most Mailman installation run under standard, encryption-unaware servers. There's nothing wrong with that for most applications, but a sufficiently determined cracker *could* get unauthorized access by:
Gaining access to the user's cookie (e.g. by being able to read the user's browser cookie database, or by means of packet sniffing, or maybe even by some broken browser offering all it's cookies to any and all sites the user accesses), and at the same time being able to fulfill the other criteria for using the cookie could result in unauthorized access.
Note that this problem is more easily exploited when users browse the web via proxies -- in that case, the cookie would be valid for any connections made through that proxy, and not just for connections made from the particular machine the user happens to be accessing the proxy from.
Q. I want to backup my lists. What do I need to save?
Q. How do I rename a list?
The biggest problem you have is how to stop mail and web traffic to your list during the transition, and what to do about any mail undelivered to the old list after the move. I don't think there are any foolproof steps, but here's how you can reduce the risk:
- Temporarily disable qrunner. To do this, you need to edit the user `mailman's crontab entry. Execute the following command, commenting out the qrunner line when you're dropped into your editor. Then save the file and quit the editor.
% crontab -u mailman -e
- Turn off your mail server. This is mostly harmless since remote MTAs will just keep retrying until you turn it back on, and it's not going to be off for very long.
- Next turn off your web server if possible. This of course means your entire site will be off-line while you make the switch and this may not be acceptable to you. The next best suggestion is to set up your permanent redirects now for the list you're moving. This means that anybody looking for the list under its old name will be redirected to the new name, but they'll get errors until you've completed the move.
Let's say the old name is "oldname" and the new name is "newname". Here are some Apache directives that will do the trick, though YMMV:
Add these to your httpd.conf file and restart Apache.
- Now cd to the directory where you've installed Mailman. Let's say it's /usr/local/mailman:
% cd /usr/local/mailman
and cd to the `lists' subdirectory:
% cd lists
You should now see the directory `oldname'. Move this to `newname':
% mv oldname newname
- Now cd to the private archives directory:
% cd ../archives/private
You will need to move the oldname's .mbox directory, and the .mbox file within that directory. Don't worry about the public archives; the next few steps will take care of them without requiring you to fiddle around in the file system:
% mv oldname.mbox newname.mbox % mv newname.mbox/oldname.mbox newname.mbox/newname.mbox
- You now need to run the `bin/move_list' script to update some of the internal archiver paths. IMPORTANT: Skip this step if you are using Mailman 2.1!
% cd ../.. % bin/move_list newname
- You should now regenerate the public archives:
% bin/arch newname
- You'll likely need to change some of your list's configuration options, especially if you want to accept postings addressed to the old list on the new list. Visit the admin interface for your new list:
o Go to the General options
o Change the "real_name" option to reflect the new list's name, e.g. "Newname"
o Change the subject prefix to reflect the new list's name, e.g. "[Newname] " (yes, that's a trailing space character).
o Optionally, update other configuration fields like info, description, or welcome_msg. YMMV.
o Save your changes
o Go to the Privacy options
o Add the old list's address to acceptable_aliases. E.g. "firstname.lastname@example.org". This way, (after the /etc/aliases changes described below) messages posted to the old list will not be held by the new list for "implicit destination" approval.
o Save your changes
- Now you want to update your /etc/aliases file to include the aliases for the new list, and forwards for the old list to the new list. Note that these instructions are for Sendmail style alias files, adjust to the specifics of how your MTA is set up.
o Find the lines defining the aliases for your old list's name
o Copy and paste them just below the originals.
o Change all the references of "oldname" to "newname" in the pasted stanza.
o Now change the targets of the original aliases to forward to the new aliases. When you're done, you will end up with /etc/aliases entries like the following (YMMV):
XXX This needs updating for MM2.1!
# Forward the oldname list to the newname list oldname: email@example.com oldname-request: firstname.lastname@example.org oldname-admin: email@example.com oldname-owner: firstname.lastname@example.org
newname: "|/usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman post newname" newname-admin: "|/usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman mailowner newname" newname-request: "|/usr/local/mailman/mail/mailman mailcmd newname" newname-owner: newname-admin
o Run newaliases
- Before you restart everything, you want to make one last check. You're looking for files in the qfiles/ directory that may have been addressed to the old list but weren't delivered before you renamed the list. Do something like the following:
% cd /usr/local/mailman/qfiles % grep oldname *.msg
If you get no hits, skip to the next step, you've got nothing to worry about.
If you did get hits, then things get complicated. I warn you that the rest of this step is untested. :(
For each of the .msg files that were destined for the old list, you need to change the corresponding .db file. Unfortunately there's no easy way to do this. Anyway...
Save the following Python code in a file called 'hackdb.py':
-------------------------hackdb.py import sys import marshal fp = open(sys.argv) d = marshal.load(fp) fp.close() d['listname'] = sys.argv fp = open(sys.argv, 'w') marshal.dump(d, fp) fp.close() -------------------------
And then for each file that matched your grep above, do the following:
% python hackdb.py reallylonghexfilenamematch1.db newname
- It's now safe to turn your MTA back on.
- Turn your qrunner back on by running
% crontab -u mailman -e
again and this time uncommenting the qrunner line. Save the file and quit your editor.
- Rejoice, you're done. Send $100,000 in shiny new pennies to the Mailman cabal as your downpayment toward making this easier for the next list you have to rename. :)