[Mailman-Users] Mailman on Solaris-based web server

Richard Barrett r.barrett at openinfo.co.uk
Thu Oct 21 20:08:25 CEST 2004

On 20 Oct 2004, at 17:04, Mauricio Tavares wrote:

> John Wheaton wrote:
>> Hello,
>> I am curious whether Mailman will work on Solaris, and how best to  
>> integrate it with our current web site. Our school maintains an  
>> informational website at www.stfrancishighschool.com, hosted by IgLou 
>> in  Louisville. We have been discussing with a few alumni the 
>> possibility of  creating mailing lists for the alums, and Mailman 
>> seems like a good  solution. We have also looked into Majordomo, 
>> which IgLou will administer  for additional monthly charges. We would 
>> like to save money.
>> Can Mailman be installed alongside our website? In other words, is it 
>> self  contained? Can its bin and lib files, for example, be installed 
>> in our web  directory, and still allow Mailman to function?
>    What you are asking is exactly what I am planning on doing here.  
> We have a mail server (Solaris 8 box) which is currently being used as 
> mailman's website.  What we are going to do is to NFS mount the 
> mailman directory in our webserver (a Solaris 9 box) so it can be 
> accessed there. Probably, the best way to do it is kinda like what you 
> infered: install mailman in the webserver and then automount the data 
> directories. I'll be playing with that and keep you all posted with my 
> adventures.

If it helps, I have been running Mailman on Linux from NFS mounts, with 
the actual storage on a high-reliability UNIX server, for over 3 years 
now. In my case it was to provide a more reliable service; I use a 
primary Mailman server and a warm standby secondary server which takes 
over the primary server's identity via some DHCP trickery if the 
primary fails. Worked well a week back when the the local SCSI drive on 
the primary server died. Switchover in a couple of minutes, no loss of 
service or data or access to data (mail and archives). Second time that 
drive failure has happened; once on each of the two machines.

I have been warned by experts that NFS locking could be a problem with 
this way of working but thus far it has not proven to be a problem.

I would like to achieve automatic failover and being able to load share 
would be great but that is a more serious challenge for a Mailman 
configuration and would test the NFS lock issues more strenuously.

The only problems I have had with Linux and NFS is due to what I 
believe to be a kernel lock handling problem on Linux. The only 
solution I found for this was to limit the transfer size used for the 
NFS mounts to 8k. I concluded that left to their own devices (no pun 
intended) the Linux NFS client negotiated too large a transfer size 
with the NFS server and then tripped over its own feet by releasing 
some internal kernel lock prematurely, which then caused a process to 
hang indefinitely (and also be unkillable; reboot being the only way to 
dispose of them) if they performed large data transfer to/from NFS 

As an aside I am about to move these Mailmen from Linux on x86 to 
Solaris on Sparc having had no bad experience with another 
Solaris/Sparc installation I set up for another domain.

>> Our other possible solution is to host the mailing lists on one of 
>> our own  Linux servers, if the app cannot be installed on our host's 
>> server. Since  we run Exchange Server, I am trying to simplify 
>> matters by hosting the  mailing lists offsite, though.
>> Thanks for your help.
>> John Wheaton,
>> Technology Coordinator
>> St. Francis High School
>> 233 W. Broadway
>> Louisville, KY 40202

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