[Mailman-Users] Trimming archives

Mark Sapiro msapiro at value.net
Mon Oct 31 16:40:40 CET 2005

Darren G Pifer wrote:
>       In reviewing posts to this mailing list, I found that it is not
>possible to prune the archives.

I don't know what gave you that idea. Perhaps you saw my post at
but that only said "There is no option within Mailman to prune old
messages from the archives." It meant an automatic process. There are
lots of ways to do it manually.

>However, we will need to do something
>shortly because the filesystem that we have mailman on is now 84% full,
>mostly due to the growing archives. We are using LVM under Linux and I
>can increase the space but I would like to see if we can compress any
>older files in the archive directory first. For instance, we have one
>mbox, ./archives/private/opr.mbox/opr.mbox that is 700MB is growing
>everyday. It is our operators list. Can I gzip it and create a new
>opr.mbox by touching it?

You can gzip it and Mailman will create a new one automatically for the
next message.

If you don't need the old archives online, you can do much more, but
there is a CAVEAT which may or may not be important. If you do the
following, the URLs of the remaining individual archive messages will
change and any saved links to these messages will break or return the
wrong message.

Here's the process.

Back up archives/private/opr.mbox/opr.mbox off line. Edit the file and
delete all but the recent entries that you want to keep. Then do

bin/arch --wipe opr

This will rebuild the entire archive with only the recent messages.

If preserving the message numbers and recent URLs is important, you
have a couple of choices. Instead of deleting the old messages from
the .mbox, you could edit them to replace the message body with
something like "Message archived off line." and then rebuild. Or you
could just gzip or backup off line the .mbox and let Mailman create a
new one starting with the next message. This way, the HTML archive
will still be complete, but if you ever need to rebuild it, you have a
more complex process. You will have to recreate the full .mbox at
least temporarily and rebuild the archive from that or you can do it
in pieces like

bin/arch --wipe opr archived_opr.mbox
bin/arch opr

which recreates the archive with the old messages and then adds the
current messages.

Also see Brad's reply in this thread

Mark Sapiro <msapiro at value.net>       The highway is for gamblers,
San Francisco Bay Area, California    better use your sense - B. Dylan

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