[Mailman-Developers] PHP Wrappers?

Kevin McCann kmccann at cruciverb.com
Wed Nov 16 22:30:39 CET 2005

slave at codegrunt.com wrote:

>>Hello.  How might one configure Mailman (version 2.1.6) list settings
>>using PHP scripts?  
>The quick answer would be to not bother and wait until version 3 of Mailman which will use a MySQL backend and instead manipulate that directly (if I have been reading past discussions correctly). 

I don't mean to be a pessimist, but I don't think this will ever happen. 
There are a few realities when it comes to Mailman 3.0 / Mailman 
Integration issues:

-  Barry is considered to be the lead MM developer but he's a very busy 
guy. This is not a criticism at all, just a point of fact.

-  The Mailman project is not as open as it could be. There is too much 
control over who can contribute code, how they can do it, when they can 
do it. I understand wanting to maintain quality and stability, but 
effort and goodwill are going to waste.

-  Not everyone sees the need for a highly integratable MLM, despite the 
fact that people have been begging for it for half a decade. They beg 
for it on the Mailman list. They beg for it on the Sympa list. But MLM 
developers apparently do not work with organizations or people who see 
the need to integrate MLM's with other collaborative tools. MLM 
developers do not buy into the concept of making the three main data 
stores available in SQL (those being list config, member and message 
archives) so that one can easily get and update this data from within a 
Drupal, Mambo or Xaraya CMS. "Why on God's Green Earth would you want to 
do that?" they wonder, despite the fact that many, many people have been 
drooling over the thought of being able to do so for a long time now.

-  Backward compatability is an issue and puts the kebosh on dramatic 
departures from exisitng MLM versions. It sounded like Sympa was finally 
moving forward with SQL offerings, but when you look behind the scenes 
you see that they haven't made the departure, only applied patchy 
add-ons that simulate new behaviour but keep the old mechanisms intact. 
They just couldn't cut ties to "the old way."  With a Mailman 3, radical 
changes would be needed, in my opinion, but are developers willing to 
have MM3 be a new, different, separate beast than MM2? I have a feeling 
that there is not enough wilingness to let MM3 be a fresh, new start.

Personally, I think a new MLM is needed, built from the ground up, and 
taking into account today's wants and needs. An MLM built for the 21st 
century. Completely open source and well-managed by people who have the 
time and the inclination to do it. New Project with New Ideas and Eager 
People. Either MM3 needs to start happening or a new MLM project needs 
to be created. If some people don't have time, fine, but then loosen the 
reins. Let it happen. And if it comes down to money, well, some people 
may be surprised at the amount of funding that is available for these 
kinds of projects. But the projects need to be able to move forward, 
unencumbered by control and competing commitments. Otherwise nobody will 
fund it. 

Again, I'm not trying to throw out criticisms, just stating realities.

Do developers here have any comments? Is there interest to move forward 
with MM3 now, one way or another? Is there interest among other parties 
to start a new project? Who wants to see a highly integratable MLM, and 
are you willing to contribute in any of these areas:  design, coding, 
project management, documentation, funding?

- Kevin


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