[Mailman-Users] Problems with Mailman on Fedora Core 3 system

John Dennis jdennis at redhat.com
Tue Jul 5 23:43:11 CEST 2005

On Fri, 2005-07-01 at 12:37 -0400, Matt Singerman wrote:
> Hi Mark,
> Thanks for posting this - I didn't even know this filed existed!  I
> think I've located the problem - mailmanctl isn't running.  However,
> when I try to start it (with "/usr/lib/mailman/bin/mailmanctl start"),
> nothing happens.  I tried to su as user mailman to check the crontab
> and try and run it from there, but when I do, I get the following
> error:
> [root at list ~]# su - mailman
> This account is currently not available.
> The user definitely exists, but it has no login.  Any ideas here?

Sorry I didn't respond sooner, I've been on vacation and just returned
with the typical 3,000+ emails in my inbox after a week of absence :-(

The doc in /usr/share/doc/mailman-* is your friend, in particular the
file INSTALL.REDHAT. In there is information on starting the mailman

FWIW, the install of the mailman RPM does not do the following for good

* It does not start the service
* It does not add mailman to the list of services
* It does not create a mailman login account.

Why? Because it is common practice for people to just install a bunch of
RPM's because they want them available. The installation of an RPM is
independent of wanting to run the service (if the rpm is a system
service which mailman is). Red Hat policy is if you want to run a
service you must make a conscious decision to run the service, this has
a lot to do with security issues (the INSTALL.REDHAT doc will tell you
how to run the service).

When the rpm installs it creates a mailman user and group, this is
necessary for mailman to run. It is not necessary for a mailman login
account to exist to run mailman (it is sometimes a convenience). Along
the same lines as why we don't start a service when a package is
installed we don't create login accounts. This too is a security issue.
What password would be given to the account? It would have to be the
same for every installed mailman RPM on Red Hat systems, and this is a
security hole wide enough to drive a truck through :-) If you want a
mailman login account it's very easy using system-config-users to edit
the mailman user and give mailman a login account.

Finally, you do not want to be running mailmanctl directly. You do want
to use the interface established for controlling system services (e.g.
init scripts in /etc/init.d). The init script does important things you
won't want to bypass. This also makes the mailman service on Red Hat
consistent with every other system service, once again this is covered
in the doc.

Also, please note that as of mailman 2.1 cron is not necessary to run
basic mailman, as of 2.1 mailman is a service (e.g. daemon). Also, the
init.d script plays an integral role in managing cron usage for the
parts of mailman that still depend on cron.

HTH, if you still have problems feel free contact me.

John Dennis <jdennis at redhat.com>

More information about the Mailman-Users mailing list