[Mailman-Developers] Fwd: Volunteer sought to code Mailman/Plesk integration script for use by African organizations

Tobias Eigen tobias at kabissa.org
Tue Feb 8 04:18:45 CET 2005

Hi Brad,

As regards your two faq questions -

> 	It's funny.  A totally different question regarding integration  
> between Mailman and Plesk finally lead me to create FAQ 6.15 at  
> <http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/faqw-mm.py? 
> req=show&file=faq06.015.htp>.

This FAQ I think is still perfectly adequate, except perhaps you may  
want to refer people to the Plesk Forum at http://forum.sw-soft.com/  
for help. SW-SOFT is notoriously soft (I mean poor) on tech support for  
end users, although folks on the forum are really helpful. There's alot  
of community support archived in there waiting to be searched for using  
the keyword 'mailman'. For us Rackspace (our hosting provider) is also  
very helpful, but we have been nurturing a relationship with them over  
the course of the last couple of years and they know I have been trying  
very hard to solve most Mailman problems on my own and only turn to  
them when I've hit a dead end.

Any version of Plesk higher than Plesk 7 comes with an older version of  
Mailman installed, and enables Plesk clients to add/remove mailman  
lists through their control panel. This is nifty, but does not come  
with the benefits of newer versions of Mailman, and because it seems so  
simple it trips alot of people up since it encourages them to set up  
Mailman lists when really they probably only need something simpler.

It is possible to trick Plesk into recognizing newer versions installed  
manually but it's not for the faint of heart. For me the trick is the  
combination of the qmail-to-mailman script which I've been using  
solidly for years and the new scripts I now have (and will share as  
soon as I'm positive it's working correctly) that scan the maildir  
directories and make sure the .qmail aliases created by Plesk for lists  
are all correctly pointing to the qmail-to-mailman script. Works like a  

> 	Only now that I happen to be looking through my Python-related e-mail  
> for other things, do I come back to this and realize that you're  
> talking about the same sort of thing -- only you're talking about  
> fixing the problem that we cannot (today) fix ourselves.
> 	Of course, when you're talking about simulating the functionality of  
> Yahoo!Groups, there's also FAQ 1.26 at  
> <http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/faqw-mm.py? 
> req=show&file=faq01.026.htp>.

I think this FAQ needs to be updated. I would not recommend m2f which  
has been stuck at beta for a very long time and seems to be going  
nowhere fast. Love the dedication of those guys but really it seems  
they've bitten off more than they can chew. A successful forum/list  
integration is done over at the unfortunately named FUDFORUM -  
http://www.fudforum.org. We use it very actively for two discussion  
lists and it has perfect bidirectional communication between the  
Mailman lists and forums. I am incredibly impressed by what the single  
developer of FUD has been able to achieve with this forum. Very much to  
be recommended. He also helped me personally to make it work with  
Mailman by making it possible to put the list name  on the command line  
so that I could set up FUD's maillist.php script as a drop-in  
replacement for mhonarc/pipermail archiving. Wow.

Unfortunately for us, FUD only has one developer and also does not  
integrate well with Mambo Open Source, the CMS we have chosen for our  
own Website. We are looking at developing open source Mambo components  
to connect Mailman lists with existing components in Mambo. This would  
include synchronizing subscriber lists with the user database and some  
sort of Mambo frontend for managing subscriptions. For discussions, it  
would provide bidirectional posting via either email or a fully-fledged  
web forum. For newsletters, it would provide an archive.

For what it's worth, and for the record: for a few years now, to no  
avail so far, I've been probing the community forums for various  
promising forums about mailing list/forum/CMS integration:

FUD Forum: http://www.fudforum.org
PHPBB: http://www.phpbb.com
M2F for phpbb: http://m2f.sourceforge.net
Simple Machines Forum: http://www.simplemachines.org
Mambo Simpleboard: http://tsmf.jigsnet.com/

> 	Speaking only for myself, I would very much like to see us get to a  
> situation where we can eliminate these two FAQ entries, and basically  
> "just make it work".  I think this would be a huge benefit to the  
> entire Mailman community.

Well, I think I addressed this above in part - the problem really is  
that Plesk makes it very easy to do alot of very powerful things. Like  
with the mysql databases you can set up, for example, people have an  
expectation that Mailman will be turnkey, which it really is not. I'm  
not sure it ever should be, though I do think (as I discussed above  
too) it would be helpful to have an easier frontend for subscribers and  
even for basic moderator functions. This would make Mailman more ready  
for wide adoption, even by regular everyday people who just want to set  
up a newsletter or discussion group and aren't interested in the  
technical aspects.

> 	I can't help you with the Python coding, and I don't know squat about  
> Plesk, but if you need help with Mailman administration, please let me  
> know.

Super - would be grateful for help here too, actually.

> 	I'm willing to step up and do what I can to help towards this goal,  
> and I hope that other people on this list are willing and able to do  
> the same.

Great - would be happy to talk with anyone about this!



Tobias Eigen
Executive Director

Kabissa - Space for Change in Africa

* Kabissa's vision is for a socially, economically, politically, and  
environmentally vibrant Africa, supported by a strong network of  
effective civil society organizations. *

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