List Server

Some Mailman admin tasks need to be performed on the actual machine where Mailman is installed, while others, such as changing the password for a list, can be done via the web interface and the site-wide admin mailman password. See MailSystem for architecture details.

In order to do this you need to have shell access to the machine that runs the master Mailman installation.

Once your ssh public key has been added, you can log in as the user 'list'. You will be greeted with the bash prompt:

[mailman@lists list]$

From here you can perform all sorts of Mailman administrative tasks, such as those discussed below. See also: ResetListPassword.

On lists.gnu.org, there is a symlink ~list/mailman which must point to the active mailman installation (maintained by FSF sysadmin), or nothing will work right.

Mailman home page: http://www.gnu.org/software/mailman.

List creation

Project admins can create their own mailing lists through the normal web interface. (What that web interface does is ssh to the list server and run newlist; see the MailSystem page.)

For lists whose names do not follow an allowed pattern, savannah-hackers must manually run ~/mycreate_list.pl on lists, and then attach the list to the given project using infra/maintenance/ml.pl:

infra/maintenance/ml.pl -a yourlogin -g project -l listname
# check if there's no error
infra/maintenance/ml.pl -a yourlogin -g project -l listname | mysql savane

Well, the pipe doesn't actually work. You have to run ml.pl on vcs, save the sqlcmd that is output, and then, on internal, run:

echo "sqlcmd" | mysql savane

Simple aliases, as opposed to mailman lists, can be created in fp.gnu.org:/com/mailer/aliases.

Switch from nongnu to gnu

You need to edit the list configuration, and the FSF-specific virtual domain support (the domains/ subdirectory from the list directory).

Here are the commands, on list.gnu.org:

newdomain=gnu  # or nongnu
withlist -l -r fix_url $list_name -u lists.$newdomain.org
go $list_name
cd domains
mv nongnu.org gnu.org
# or 'mv gnu.org nongnu.org' if going the other way
# or 'touch gnu.org nongnu.org' to accept mail at both domains

There is an hourly cron job that collects the "domains" information, so changes are not instantaneous.

List deletion

We do not remove list archives when it was a public archive. Instead, we deactivate a list, while keeping archives and status. On lists.gnu.org:

cd /home/list/mailman/lists/listname/domains
mv gnu.org gnu.org.disabled-yourname
# mv nongnu.org nongnu.org.blah ...

Then, in the Privacy form in the mailman interface, set the "advertised" variable to "no". TODO: use config_list as with ~/mm-configs/norespond.txt.

Then, remove any heldmsg-listname* pending messages from ~list/mailman/data.

If we really want to delete a list, then to tell Mailman to delete a list and its settings:

rmlist listname

... with archives:

 listname=LISTNAME
 rmlist -a $listname
 # purge pending requests
 ls -U /home/list/mailman/data | grep '^heldmsg-$listname-[0-9]+.pck$' | xargs rm
 # Note: with a live list, purging should be followed by this, so Mailman take the removals into account:
 # curl http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/admindb/testlist -F adminpw=******
 # (ToDo: backup the archives somewhere for a little while)

 # with mharc, for public archives
 mv ~/mbox/$listname ~/archive/mbox
 mv ~/html/$listname ~/archive/html

'listname' doesn't contain the @domain.tld part. Some mailing lists
contain both private and public archives.

Renaming a mailing list

See RenamingProjectGroup.

Message deletion from archives

Sometimes people ask to remove a message from the archives, because they don't want their address harvested, or for some legality, or whatever.

As a policy, we do not have to implement all such requests; deletion for spam purposes is typically useless since it's already been mirrored in many places.

If you do delete a message, it is usually better to edit it to make the body/headers/whatever empty, instead of actually deleting it. Deletion will change all the existing url's. Here's the procedure:

  • become user mharc on lists.gnu.org (ssh in or su if you can)
  • cd mbox/listname
  • edit file ('mutt -f 200X-YZ' might help)
  • cd ../bin
  • ./web-archive -rebuild listname

It's CRUCIAL to run web-archive as the mharc user.