[Mailman-Users] Sendmail vs. envelope sender

Greg Connor gconnor at nekodojo.org
Tue May 25 07:10:22 CEST 1999

arety at bigfoot.com:
>> Well, now I'm stuck at the message approval. The problem is that the
>> message is always held for approval even if the config say it should not
>> and the list is restricted to members. 

You know, it looks like a LOT of people have this error, from looking at my
mailbox over the last month or so!  I have some ideas about why that is.

At 11:40 AM 5/24/99 -0500, Christopher Lindsey wrote:
>Take a look at
>   http://www.python.org/pipermail/mailman-users/1999-March/000754.html
which reads (in part):
>>   b)  Grab the latest CVS sources and define USE_ENVELOPE_SENDER = 0
>>       in $prefix/Mailman/mm_cfg.py
Chris continues:
>   Note that the second methond is only available in 1.0b10 or 
>   greater.

I have found from talking to a few people off-line, and from my experience
on the old Listproc user's list, this is a recurring problem for Sendmail
users who have some kind of mailing list program.

Chris described this before as:
>From http://www.python.org/pipermail/mailman-users/1999-March/000699.html
On Mon Mar 8, Christopher Lindsey wrote
>I sent mail to Barry about this, but I'll share it for those
>interested.  On my system (Linux 2.0.x, sendmail 8.9.3, 
>procmail 3.12, and mailman 1.0b9), 
>   sender = msg.GetEnvelopeSender()
>sets sender to 'listname-admin at example.com'.  So something 
>somewhere is changing the envelope address prematurely 

It turns out that this is a Sendmail "feature".  Sendmail thinks that
because you defined "owner-xxxx" that makes the alias "xxxx" special
(perhaps its a distribution list done with sendmail "include" files).
Sendmail munges the "From " line to match the value of owner-xxxx (so that
if any of the addresses bounce, they will bounce back to the owner, not the
original sender).  This is a nice feature for complicated email alias
"lists", but plays hell with "real" mailing list managers.

Barry wrote that he couldn't reproduce it on his machine, so perhaps they
have turned it off in later versions... I am still on 8.8.7... Anyway, this
is the Sendmail that comes on the RedHat distribution... I think at least a
few people will have it.

This is further explained on sendmail.org at the following URL:

The quick explanation is that if your message waiting to be approved has
"From listname-admin" as its first line, that means you have to remove
owner-listname from your aliases file.  I recommend the following:
  - Remove any aliases of the form "owner-*" (mailman doesn't use these anyway)
  - Run "newaliases"

A few people reported that this fixed their problem.  One other person
reported that it didn't help, but wrote later to say that the problem
magically went away on its own (maybe he didn't run newaliases at the time?)

So, I still have this question:  Why does mailman ask the user to install
"owner-listname" type aliases?  Are these used anywhere in the software
itself?  Why should Mailman recommend aliases it doesn't really need and
may cause problems with some mailers?  I think Mailman should be modified
so that owner-* aliases aren't produced.

(Yes, I filed a bug on this but it seems to have been filed as
"unreproducible".  This Sendmail behavior is documented on
http://www.sendmail.org/faq/section3.html#3.15 )

If the default behavior is left alone, at the very least this info should
make it into the documentation (under "Troubleshooting" in the "Why doesn't
member_posting_only work?").  If you go to the trouble of instructing
people how to turn off the envelope sender option, why not educate them
about the problem they're likely to be having first? 

I have removed all my owner-* aliases (actually, having learned my lesson
from the listproc days, I never put them in) and envelope sender works fine.

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