[Mailman-Developers] observation from a bystander :) [long and boring]

Peter Gervai grin@tolna.net
Wed, 28 Oct 1998 01:23:15 +0100


As half of this day was spent exclusively with mailman I thought I finally
enter this list and submit some comments. 

I am really disappointed that nobody reads the mailman-user list who is able
to answer so complex questions that "what this and that error means". (The
volume isn't THAT high there.)

Since I do not know Python, don't work with it, I had almost no chance to
find bugs. Since nobody helped (as later turned out: very basic!) my
problems I had to waste almost a day learning Python basics, realising that
I have to change code, figure out syntax, etc etc You know the story. Then
inserting debug points into the program (it's hard to debug when you don't
know how, remember?), and to find the problems (most of them), and realizing
that it was almost the same as the one was mentioned as 'duplicate mails' at
the beginning this month (apart from lots of permission problems). This
could be solved in 2 minutes by someone who at least had the idea what
Python is... khm.

Anyway, this got solved, so excuse me my rants. However my mail on
mailman-user list contained maybe some hints or ideas would have been nice
to be read by at least one developer to decide whether it worths
mentioning... I still hope SOMEONE will take that 2 minutes.

So I realized that Scott fixed that race problem around processQueue (see?
I'm a mailman pro in less than 8 hours :-)), but I don't really see why
anyone would use sticky (or any special) bits for locking. Why don't use
lockfiles? A simple queue.LOCKED would do fine.

And this reminds me to mention that I hope that other files are locked
as well, including list and subscription databases. Locking is easy.
And if anyone needs ideas I could advice to see Exim mailer's locking which
is rock stable even when deliveries were aborted by system freeze...
Worths an inspection, if anyone needs multiple-record-locking.

Oh, and for those who won't read that mail of mine out there I mention that
I asked about which files and directories should be writable by cgi uid,
mailman uid or both. I welcome the idea of a script checking directory and
file ownership, permissions (and setting them, actually). 

The whole problem of mine started as I want to use mailman with Exim, and
more-or-less I solved the problem, and even put a little howto on users
mailing list (though nobody seem to care). This means I don't use wrappers
but I'm very picky about permissions and ownerships, and things tend to die
horribly when I don't figure out which dir and file should be owned who and
with what permissions (unless of course I let 0666 files and 0777 dirs all
over the place - which I don't).

Especially rude to create a mailman.root owned rw-rw-r-- file which
needs to be modified/deleted by the cgi.cgi user. I loved the permissions
of the logs or the lists directory, for example. :-)

Oh, and why didn't I want to write the mail here? Because I ain't no
developer (um, I wasn't so far), and because I don't know Python
(didn't know so far). 

Um, that's all. Sorry if it was too long. And I even kept it short. :)


ps: constructive criticism welcome, and flames as well by PERSONAL
email. I fear that the effect will be the same as on mailman-users: