[Mailman-Users] Postfix help

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Fri Aug 9 08:27:08 CEST 2002

On Thu, 08 Aug 2002 16:27:41 -0500 
Nathan A McQuillen <nathan at lakesidepress.org> wrote:

> Hey all.  Seems I've stepped into the middle of some sort of sniping
> match -- I assume it's all right to ask a simple question?

Sure.  We're merely suffering an attach of the clue free.

> I've been attempting to set up Mailman with Postfix, and things are
> not going well. Typical gid problems, and alias issues.

Mailman under Postfix is one of the simpler installs.

> Is there, anywhere on the entire Web, a FAQ or HOWTO about doing this?

README.postfix in your Mailman tarball is one place the start.  Its
largely not needed tho.

> 1. Determining the *real* necessary GID for the --with-mail-gid
> flag. I get one GID reported by Postfix in the maillog error message,
> and another entirely when I run the Python query code reported
> elsewhere. They're one digit off, incidentally... I have read that
> Postfix does not need the Mailman wrapper, but have found no coherent
> instructions on how to disable it without hand-editing the aliases
> file with every list added.

Setting up Mailman under Postfix to not need an alias file can be done,
but is an inelegant process thru the vhost setups of Postfix.  In the
general case, and especially in your case, I'd recommend against the
effort.  Unless you are going to be creating and removing significant
quantities of lists the change in work load is quite negligible.

Now, on the reported desired GID variation: not worth worrying about
now.  Its curious, even odd, but incidental.  The GID reported to the
MTA is the one we're interested in as its the one that's failing.  You
should be able to just pick that up, rebuild, and move forward

Use the FAQ as your guide:


> 2. Installing so that new lists are automatically aliased. I am the
> only person who will be working on this system who even knows how to
> log into the server. It would be very nice not to have to edit the
> alias file and run newaliases by hand with every list modification.

First get the system working, then worry about spiffy features like no
alias files.

> 3. Adding lists via the Web. Is the Webmin Mailman module usable? Any
> tips?

No idea.  Again, unless you are going to be adding and removing
significant numbers of lists I wouldn't bother with this.  Get it
working first under v2.0, then, when 2,1 goes gold you can pick up the
automatic list maintenance for free.

> Speaking of frustration, this whole system feels like a house of cards
> -- I build it up to the point where it seems like it will work, then
> suddenly get a GID error, or alias error, or something, and I'm back
> to make clean.

I'd wager that you are unfamiliar with and uncomfortable with mail
systems in general.  This is not to say that mail systems, or even
Mailman are fragile as you describe, they're not, but that they can and
frequently do seem peculiarly fragile when you're not familiar with

Mailman is quite stable, quite predictable, quite well written

General advice:

  1) Get Mailman working under your MTa with no fancy features or
  integration first.

  2) Make sure it also works under your web server second.

  3) Re-test everything, pat yourself on the back and have a beer.
  Acknowledging accomplishment is frequently overlooked.

  4) Work on training your list moderators.  I can't point at much in
  the way of resources I'm afraid; good list moderators are made, not
  born, and the crucible tends to be empirical practice and observation
  rather than received learning.

    This is not to say it can't be taught, just that its not easy to
    teach, and is a field full of (seemingly) special cases.

  5) Run the system for a while, keep it humming.  Watch, observe, take
  notes twice as often if not more than you fiddle.  Get comfortable.
  Mail systems are not hard as a problem class, but they do take
  learning and it takes a while to learn the patterns of this field.

  investigate with the integration features you want, returning to step
  5 as you detect weaknesses in your understanding.

J C Lawrence                
---------(*)                Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas. 
claw at kanga.nu               He lived as a devil, eh?		  
http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/  Evil is a name of a foeman, as I live.

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