[Mailman-Users] NEWBIE Seeking Reference Materials/Developers

Brad Knowles brad at stop.mail-abuse.org
Wed Oct 5 20:32:20 CEST 2005

At 12:47 PM -0400 2005-10-05, Drew Tenenholz wrote:

>  I hope you can help me find books, reading materials, and possibly
>  developers in my area that can help me customize Mailman for one of
>  my clients.  I previously posted to one of the language specific
>  Mailman lists, but got no replies.

	So far as I know, there are no books on Mailman.  There are some 
developers, but most of the ones I know are totally overwhelmed with 
their existing work and I don't know if they would be able to provide 
any assistance.

>  The situation:
>  I am a FileMaker Pro developer in the Boston area.
>  My client is the International Society for Infectious Diseases
>  <http://www.isid.org> and I have become their de facto IT department.
>  Prior to my arrival, they were running a collection of carefully
>  moderated mailing lists with majordomo on a Sun 250 machine (Solaris
>  8)  <http://www.promedmail.org> with about 32,000 subscribers.  They
>  still do so today.

	That's a pretty decent size Majordomo installation, but there are 
a number of Mailman mailing list sites that are considerably larger.

>  They have purchased a Mac OS XServe (dual 1.25GHz), running OS X 10.3
>  (Panther), Apache 1.3 and Mailman 2.1.4 and want to take advantage of
>  the pre-installed Mailman

	Ouch.  First off, take a look at 

	Then, with regards to running large mailing list servers, see the 
entries returned by searching the FAQ Wizard for the word 
"performance" at 
Pay special attention to FAQ entry 1.15 and 1.24.

	Secondly, note that while lists.apple.com now uses XServe 
hardware themselves, they do not use the Apple-provided Mailman 
installation.  Instead, they built and installed the standard Mailman 
software.  Re-read FAQ 1.21 to understand why they chose this route.

	As for the rest, I'm not entirely sure that Mailman can help you. 
At least, not anything like it exists today.  Normally, we would 
refer you to FAQs 3.37, and 3.40 (and perhaps 3.18).

	But you should talk to someone who knows more about Mailman 
development than I do.  I'm just one of the guys who helps to run the 
python.org site and the mailman-related mailing lists on python.org, 
and I've helped to clarify or create many of the FAQ entries.

>  Is it possible to create our own customized subscription pages that
>  issue the required Python commands AND some additional
>  FileMaker/Lasso/XML commands to update the subscriber database used
>  by the office staff?

	Sure, you can write Python scripts to do most anything you want.

>  We need to gather more information than simply an email address.  We
>  ask list members for contributions and use aggregate statistics in
>  grant proposals, so email addresses alone are not sufficient.  If
>  there is a seamless way to integrate the systems, that would be
>  preferable.

	Mailman has no facilities for doing this kind of thing.  If you 
want/need this, you'll need to write your own code or find code that 
someone else has written.  In this case, we would normally refer you 
to FAQ 1.30.

Brad Knowles, <brad at stop.mail-abuse.org>

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

     -- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania
     Assembly to the Governor, November 11, 1755

   SAGE member since 1995.  See <http://www.sage.org/> for more info.

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