[Bug 266317] Re: attachments archived even when archiving disabled

James Ralston 266317 at bugs.launchpad.net
Thu Sep 30 22:09:09 CEST 2010

We're affected by this issue as well.

Let's be clear what's happening here: ToDigest.send_i18n_digests() needs
to scrub attachments from the RFC1153 version of the digest. To do that,
it calls Handlers.Scrubber.process(), which saves the scrubbed
attachments to disk (in the list's archive directory)—regardless of
whether the list is configured to archive.

Thus, I must respectfully disagree that this behavior is "expected". The
fact that ToDigest.send_i18n_digests() silently fills up the list's
archive directory with scrubbed attachments (as a side-effect of
producing the RFC1153 version of each digest) may be "expected" behavior
from the point of view of the Mailman developers, but it is NOT expected
behavior from the point of view of Mailman administrators. Side-effects
are bugs, regardless of whether they are unintended, unwanted, or
undocumented—and this bug hits at least 2 out of 3.

Another way to look at this issue is that Mailman is dropping temporary
files that are never referenced again and never removed. If any other
program did that, the behavior would be properly described as a bug.

Even worse, there is no way to stop this behavior. We've configured our
lists not to archive, but we cannot configure our lists not to permit
digests, as we have subscribers who prefer digest mode. As the code
stands right now, If I want to stop Mailman from continually trying to
fill up my /var filesystem, I'm going to have to write a cron job to go
clean up after Mailman. But that will be very challenging to do
correctly for lists that were configured to archive at any point in the

We've been pleased with Mailman, and we're grateful to all of the
developers who work on it. But come on, guys... this behavior is a bug.
Handlers.Scrubber.process() shouldn't leave temporary scrubbed
attachments on disk when it is called by ToDigest.send_i18n_digests().
Please fix this.

attachments archived even when archiving disabled
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