[Mailman-Developers] Virtual Domains Redux (w proposal)

Hans Ulrich Niedermann hun at n-dimensional.de
Fri Mar 3 14:23:06 CET 2006

Rich Johnson <rjohnson at dogstar-interactive.com> writes:

> AKA, "The Perennial Issue" (TPI)

Hehe. Right, we have run into this here again and again as well. :)

> I've been looking at this for a while; I've scanned the archives; and  
> I've perused the code (well a chunk of it anyway).
> I realize that mailman _sort of_ supports virtual domains, but  
> doesn't _really_ support virtual domains.
> As I look at the situation from the perspective of a sysadmin or ISP,  
> there are two aspects that really bother me:
>   - comingling of data from separate virtual domains

There are two aspects to that:

 1. On a filesystem level, the data from different virtual domains
    will always be thrown in some places under the same system user
    id, so this is something which cannot be solved without becoming
    root and doing some setuid magic.

 2. Mailman's internal namespace for mailing lists does not include
    the virtual domain, so there are name clashes between the lists
    "foo", "foo at domain1.com" and "foo at domain2.com".

I am currently working on the "internal namespace" problem for a
certain installation, and I'm not overly concerned with the "same
system user" issue.

As far as I can tell, the "internal namespace" problem itself is not
very difficult to solve. However, some of its consequences may be, and
I'll solve those problems as they come.

I had not really planned to go public with that branch of mine yet,
but I think it makes sense in with respect to this discussion:

      Project description

      GNU-style patches

      git repository, forked off the Mailman 2.1.7 release.

bawue.net is currently using Mailman 2.1.7, and we require a solution
which allows three different lists named "foo", "foo at bar.com" and
"foo at bla.org" on the same mailman installation. Thus we have started
adapting Mailman accordingly mid-2006-02, naming it our "vhost branch".

The general idea is to have use the "foo", "foo at bar.com" and
"foo at bla.org" strings as the internal list identifiers, and then
successively solve or work around all the issues this change implies.

For more details, read http://nix.lauft.net/mailman/README.VHOST (the
code itself is not of practical use yet).

Our goal is to give this branch to the Mailman project if they want
it. If they do not for any reason, we'll have to maintain our vhost
branch until Mailman 3 with all the necessary features has been
released. :)

>   - ''site'' password shared between virtual domains

According to some "Mailman 3" documents I've stumbled upon, that issue
is going to be addressed in Mailman 3's user database. However, I
have not seen anything looking like a timeframe :)

This is obviously a problem which will need to be addressed in some
way. I have not gotten that far yet, though, so I have not yet worked
out any solution options.

>  From my perusals I think what I'm really asking for is a per-domain  
> assignment of VAR_PREFIX to segregate the domain's data.  If so, the  
> question becomes how to achieve it.

That sounds suspiciously similar to "one mailman installation per
domain" :) 

> Here's the proposal:
>   -- add a configfile option to the mailman utilities.

Indeed. Then you have one software installation (binaries, programs,
libraries) and all the rest is duplicated per virtual domain. OK, that
may fix your problem, but not mine :)


Hans Ulrich Niedermann

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