[Mailman-Users] does arch interpret mbox files or read them literally?

Adam Lipson adaml at jbase.com
Wed Jun 4 17:11:54 CEST 2003

Sorry for being dense, but when I run 

$prefix/bin/arch --wipe <listname> it comes up with 

option --wipe not recognized

Is this just a function of the version of arch I have?  2.0.13 of mailman.

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Barrett [mailto:r.barrett at openinfo.co.uk]
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2003 11:00 AM
To: Adam Lipson
Cc: Mailman-Users at python.org
Subject: RE: [Mailman-Users] does arch interpret mbox files or read them

At 14:10 04/06/2003, Adam Lipson wrote:
>Thank you that is very interesting and well worth knowing.  So, if one has 
>an mbox file not created by mailman that they wish to create an archive 
>file they must strip out all encoding somehow and make it into a txt only 
>version if I follow your posting correctly.  If this is the case then 
>there are a few options as I see it for those of us that wish to convert 
>an archive of historical emails from a previous list:

I always figure if I explain the background people will find it easier to 
understand the point I getting at. I have obviously failed in this endeavour.

Unix malbox (mbox) format _IS_ a text file format "a classic Unix-style 
mailbox, where all messages are contained in a single file and separated by 
"From "(a.k.a. "From_") lines." By definition mail travels as text using 
mime encoding to things that cannot survive be handled as text.

$prefix/bin/arch processes such UNIX mailbox files and generates HTML 
archives from them.

Just do what I said in my last response.

1. Prepend any historical mail you have in mbox format to the list's 
$prefix/archives/private/<listname>.mbox/<listname>.mbox) file; just glue 
the old and new together. That will give a "complete" mbox archive for the 

2. Then run $prefix/bin/arch --wipe <listname>. This will generate the HTML 
archive for the list.

That is all you should need to do.

Subsequent postings to the list will be automatically added to the list's 
mbox file and its HTML archive by MM's builin archiver.

>1) find some sort of parser that will scrub out the mime encoding

You should not need to do that. MM 2.1.2 will deal with mime encoded 
attachments in the list's mbox archive file in just the same way as it 
handles them in new postings to a list.

>2) use an alternative program for the archives.  My guess is this is the 
>best way to go and to use something like MHonArc that is designed for this 
>and let the list server do a great job at being a list server and an 
>archive management program do the archiving.

I have nothing against MHonArc but without trying it how can you conclude 
that Mailman's builtin pipermail archiver cannot meet your needs. The 
process of MM ingesting existing mbox format archives is really quite 
straightforward. It should be quicker than installing and setting up 
MHonArc to work properly.

>Please let me know if I did not get your message straight.

See above.

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Richard Barrett [mailto:r.barrett at openinfo.co.uk]
>Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2003 2:53 AM
>To: Adam Lipson; Mailman-Users at python.org
>Subject: Re: [Mailman-Users] does arch interpret mbox files or read them
>At 00:17 04/06/2003, Adam Lipson wrote:
> >When I run arch I get a different format than I do from pine or elm IE
> >does arch interpret the mbox file and post the messages in the archive as
> >formatted text or does it just litteraly look for the divisions of the
> >messages and post the messages into the archive?  The reason I ask is I
> >have been struggling to convert 4000+ messages from outlook, outlook
> >express, eudora, mozilla you name it to an mbox (and this I can do easily)
> >and then import that mbox into the archives or move the messages via
> >IMAP.  My unix mail programs read the mbox easily and the messages appear
> >properly formatted, but when arch parses them and posts them on the web
> >page everything looks like html encoded text ie
>Talking MM 2.1.2 but same principle in MM 2.0.x, just some of the detail
>Assuming you have the normal default config variable of ARCHIVE_TO_MBOX = 2
>set then Mailman will append a verbatim copy of each post to a list to that
>list's mbox archive (in
>$prefix/archives/private/<listname>.mbox/listname>.mbox) and generate an
>HTML version of the post (in  a subdirectory
>of  $prefix/archives/private/<listname>).
>If you have a bunch of historical stuff in mbox format then prepend it to
>the list's mbox archive before running $prefix/bin/arch with the --wipe
>option to generate the initial HTML archives, including the historical stuff.
>The HTML archive pages are constructed using a template for which the
>English language default is $prefix/templates/en/article.html The raw email
>content (as appended to the mbox file) is massaged by MM's internal
>archiver to give an HTML page and this massaging discards most of the
>headers and may alos extract attachments and such.
>You cannot fully reconstruct the raw email from the Mailman HTML archive
>version of an email; that is why it is default of ARCHIVE_TO_MBOX = 2 to
>have both mbox and HTML archives retained.
> ><font = soemthing> <size= somethign> text here </font> </size> or
> >something to that effect.
> >
> >is there a flag that I am missing?  I can't find it anywhere ./arch -h
> >tells me to just give the filename and man arch just tells me about my
> >system architecture.  Is there something I have done wrong?
>There isn't a man page for MM's arch script; you are seeing the man page
>for the system's arch command.
>$prefix/bin/arch wants a list name and a UNIX mailbox file to work off and
>it constructs/reconstructs the list's HTML archives. If you do not nominate
>the mbox file then arch looks for the lists' mbox archive file in the
>default location described above.
>Is something missing? Depends on what you are you looking for.
> >TIA,
> >Adam
>Richard Barrett                                      http://www.openinfo.co.uk
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Richard Barrett                                      http://www.openinfo.co.uk

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