[Mailman-Users] Setting up lists on a replacement list server w/different name

John Dennis jdennis at redhat.com
Fri Nov 18 17:25:36 CET 2005

On Fri, 2005-11-18 at 06:58 -0800, Greg Earle wrote:
> Turning off the old machine and creating the lists on the new,
> renamed-to-be-the-old machine would then mean that the new
> lists would have to work straight out of the box, with no
> downtime.  Given my unfamiliarity with the software, this isn't
> too likely (in fact, I can't even get the "crontab.in" cron jobs
> working; why do the default entries in that file contain entries
> that say "mailman /var/mailman/mail/<program>" instead of just
> "/var/mailman/mail/<program>"?  It results in the not-unexpected
> error "/bin/sh: line 1: mailman: command not found"), so I was
> looking at possible alternatives - surely I'm not the first
> person to install Mailman on a new system that is designed to
> replace an old one (with the new one being renamed to take over
> the old one's name)?

The reason the cron entries have mailman in front of them is because
that's the user the job is supposed to run under. Cron has been
evolving, there are multiple ways to specify cron jobs with different
syntax. If at all possible I recommend you install a mailman package
prepared by your vendor as all this issues have been worked out. I see
that your new system is RHEL, the Red Hat RPM has been pre-configured to
integrate with the rest of the system, installation questions can be
answered by reading /usr/share/doc/mailman-*/INSTALL.REDHAT. Also note
starting about 1.5 years ago we modified the mailman RPM so that the
cron jobs are only run if you are running the mailman service, it used
to be that installing the RPM, something many people did without ever
running mailman, would then also install the mailman cron jobs which was
a drag on system resources and filled the log files with pointless
messages. Now the cron job only run when you start the mailman service,
once again, this is all explained in INSTALL.REDHAT.

With respect to your host name change. What you are in effect doing is
trying to create a virtual host (you want one host to respond as if it
were another). Both mailman and apache have mechanisms to support
virtual domain, extensive documentation can be found in the mailman FAQ
and at apache.org. So does postfix, I don't know about the other MTA's.
However, you're going to have a problem if you don't "turn off" the old
name, you can't have two machines trying to answer service requests for
the same name without a very complex scheme which is probably far beyond
what you want to get involved with. Mailman's involvement with the name
change is minimal, it effects all internet services. The short answer is
for all practical purposes there can only be one machine who answers to
that name.

John Dennis <jdennis at redhat.com>

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