[Mailman-Users] Newbie requesting basic how-to

Jon Roland jon.roland at the-spa.com
Wed Sep 22 05:55:49 CEST 2004

Thanks, Mark, for taking the time to respond.

Mark Sapiro wrote:
> It is unclear to me where you are at this point. Have you read the
> INSTALL file in the top level of the source distribution and done all
> of that?

I have now. It was not in the /var/mailman directory tree, but in the 
/usr/share/doc/mailman-2.1.5/ directory, along with several README* files. The 
file I needed to read is INSTALL.REDHAT. It would be helpful if the site.org 
website had a *prominent* link to those files, with captions explaining what 
each is for. One needs to be able to read them before they become available as a 
result of installation, and know where to look for them.

> Are you ready to create a list? If so, you can do pretty much
> everything via the GUI list creation/administration pages. See the
> README file in the top level of the source distribution.

Not yet. It tells me I have to configure my web server and start it, but not 
much of a clue how to do that. The INSTALL.REDHAT file says:

"The RPM has installed a mailman config file (mailman.conf) in 
/etc/httpd/conf.d. You should edit the file to set your domain, see the 
instructions in the config file."

What "config file"? Presumably one of the several files ending in .conf, but it 
seems there should be a GUI for setting up the web server, which could in turn 
be launched by the GUI for setting up Mailman for the first time.

It seems like overkill to have to run the web server just to serve 1? list admin 
page, when all I want to do is send email to lists.

It next says:

"RedHat does not ship RPM's that enable services as part of package 
installation. You will need to enable the mailman service if you want mailman to 

And although it provides the usual cryptic instructions for doing that, it is 
not clear how to get all this to work when I want it to, and not when I don't. I 
would like to add an icon to my desktop that would launch a script to start the 
web server, start the mailman daemon, launch the admin GUI, and turn off all 
those things when I finish using them. (Because system resources are limited, 
and I don't want more overhead than necessary.)

> There is a list administrator GUI but not a site administrator GUI.
> However once Mailman is actually installed, the site defaults may well
> be fine for you.

If a site administrator GUI is not in the current wish list, I would appreciate 
it if someone would add it and work on it. Call it "mailman-site-admin" or 
something. Make it a python program so it doesn't require the web server to be 
running. But how does one launch that list admin GUI?

> If you are installing from source, you have to do the steps in the
> INSTALL document and there's no GUI for that.

The binaries and doc files are pre-installed, apparently as part of the Fedora 
Core 2 distribution. (I don't remember installing it later.)

> Basically, you create a list through the list create/admin GUI and
> subscribe your recipients (or they subscribe themselves). The
> Reply-To: is a list option. Most if not all of the rest is
> accomplished by sending the desired e-mail to the Mailman list, and
> Mailman in turn sends the mail to the list members.

It is not obvious how I send the desired email to a Mailman list when everything 
is on one local machine and the domain is localhost.localdomain. Does it have a 
user account name that I can send to the way I would send to another user on the 

Again, thanks for your help, and please visit http://www.constitution.org , 
where some day this listserv might be installed when it is fully developed and I 
am confident I know how to administer it (without having a shell account with 
the ISP that hosts it, so that I will have to direct the ISP's sysadmin how to 
launch it, probably as a cron job -- the host at the ISP is also running Linux).

-- Jon

Starflight Corporation    7793 Burnet Road #37, Austin, TX 78757
512/374-9585 www.the-spa.com/jon.roland/  jon.roland at the-spa.com
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