[Mailman-Users] Downgrade/migration problem

Stephen Gran steve at lobefin.net
Tue Dec 2 03:46:04 CET 2003

Hello all,

I am having a little bit of a hard time with what is essentially a
downgrade.  Some background:  the company I work for recently took over
the backend sysadmin work for an ISP that runs about 50 mailman lists on
one of their servers.  After some looking around and getting accustomed
to things in their set-up, we noticed a lot of exim and mailman errors.
It turned out there was a very strange set-up, based loosely around
mailman 2.1b2+ and exim 4.0x, but with lots of bits still left from
older versions.  There were exim cron jobs calling exim v.3 binaries,
cronjobs calling other mailman paths, so on.  A total mess of
misinstallation, and unlikely to be sorted out any time soon.

So, we decided that the easiest path might be to migrate the whole thing
over to another box, running Debian Woody.  This has exim 3.35 and
mailman 2.0.11, so it is in effect a downgrade for both.  The transition
was made with a combination of rsync'ing the various directories under
mailman/ and some scripts to dump the config's and memberships on the
old machine and import them on the new machine (not for all the lists,
though - only those that didn't have config.db, but only a config.pck -
that is, only the lists added since the last admin upgraded mailman).
We expected some problems, but most were resolvable.  I'm stumped over
this last one, and I'm hoping somebody might be able to shed some light
on it.

Mail coming in to the lists and going out to users works just fine.
Mail going to admins is accepted by exim, and passed to mailman, but
mailman never delivers list-admin mail.  I see this in logs/error:

Dec 01 21:38:06 2003 (15951) Delivery exception: bad marshal data
Dec 01 21:38:06 2003 (15951) Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/lib/mailman/Mailman/Handlers/HandlerAPI.py", line 82, in do_pipeline
    func(mlist, msg, msgdata)
  File "/usr/lib/mailman/Mailman/Handlers/Hold.py", line 152, in process
    hold_for_approval(mlist, msg, msgdata, NonMemberPost)
  File "/usr/lib/mailman/Mailman/Handlers/Hold.py", line 218, in hold_for_approval
    mlist.HoldMessage(msg, reason, msgdata)
  File "/usr/lib/mailman/Mailman/ListAdmin.py", line 145, in HoldMessage
  File "/usr/lib/mailman/Mailman/ListAdmin.py", line 69, in __opendb
    self.__db = marshal.load(fp)
ValueError: bad marshal data

I'm guessing that something is wrong with the data in a config.db, but I
see no way to tell which one, or what's the matter with it.  config_list
and dumpdb don't show any error messages, so it seems that it can read
the various files.  I have no idea how to proceed further, so if anyone
has any ideas, I would appreciate it.

|  Stephen Gran                  | It's the Magic that counts.             |
|  steve at lobefin.net             | -- Larry Wall on Perl's apparent        |
|  http://www.lobefin.net/~steve | ugliness                                |
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