[Mailman-Users] Private archives with Mhonarc

Steve Lay S.W.Lay at ucles-red.cam.ac.uk
Thu Feb 1 12:40:23 CET 2001

I'm looking into the possibility of using Mhonarc as an archiving solution
for mailman lists.  For public lists I can see three basic approaches:

(i) Setting the PUBLIC_EXTERNAL_ARCHIVER with a suitable script (with
PUBLIC_ARCHIVE_URL pointing to the appropriate place).  Can be a bit tricky
to set up by the looks of it.

(ii) Using a separate cron job - but I worry that this will execute while
the mbox is being added to and that some messages will become truncated (or
worse).  (Can you lock/unlock a mailman list from a non-python script?)

(iii) Subscribing a special archiver program to each list (something I've
seen mentioned by others).

Although I haven't done any of the above yet I think I can see how to.

The big problem seems to be the private list archives.  The "private"
program used by mailman looks like it could be fooled into using archives
generated by mhonarc but it would break where attachments are concerned
because the "content_type" function in prrivate.py will only return
"text/plain" or "text/html" (plus the auto-gzip logic which just doesn't
seem to work for me anyway).

Here are my ideas:

(A) Fix up private.py to return the correct content type, either by adding
a bunch more statements to the "content_type" function (to take care of the
obvious ones: pdf, doc, etc..) or by searching an external mime
configuration file (such as my Apache mime.types file).

(B) Extract the member list (with passwords!) and build a .htaccess file
from a cron job to allow web-server authentication.  (Messy for larger
lists but arguably these are not "private" anyway.)  Don't know how to do
the fist bit though, list_members doesn't output passwords does it?

(C) Randomly assign a password for the whole list which changes on some
fixed period and is distributed automatically to the list.  This is
possibly the simplest but people have enough passwords to remember already
so it may not be popular with users.

If anybody has done this, or something like it, I'd be very interested to
hear.  I've seen the examples on www.kanga.nu, and very good it looks too,
but these are all public.

Thanks for your help.


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