[Mailman-Users] Stupid newbie request

Bob Landman rlandman at hlinstruments.com
Sun Aug 27 19:51:20 CEST 2006


I was very happy running qmail on my own Linux server until my dear sweet cable provider declared that it didn't like me doing that so I had to move to a commercial webhost.  I run several lists, most are a public service (not related to my business) as I'm a volunteer planning commissioner for my town. The State of NH (where I live) was censoring their Mailman planning list so a bunch of us bolted and started our own planning list.

Mailman is, as you know, very popular.  The fact is that many lists are run by people such as myself who don't know much about software.  We appreciate what others do and we use the software for the good of others.  Is that so bad?  If the intent was to make a useful product for people to use for the fun and education of doing it as a collaborative effort (that is what GNU is all about isn't it?), then I'd expect the writers of such code to cut those of us who use the program just a bit of slack when we offer honest suggestions as to what we would like to see in the product.  Please note we are not saying it's easy or hard, just that it's desireable. I understand the advice of running scripts here and we'll try that.


As to what happened when I sent in the request, here's what I know...

The host is running version 2.1.7.cp2

I sent mail to "PlanningNews-NH-request at hlinstruments.net" with who password in the body of the mail (my password that I retrieved via the usual way) after I had set the list to allow all list members to get the subscriber list.  This is what came back (I replaced my password with the word "password"):

The results of your email command are provided below. Attached is your original message.

- Results:
    who password [address=<address>]
        See everyone who is on this mailing list.  The roster is limited to
        list members only, and you must supply your membership password to
        retrieve it.  If you're posting from an address other than your
        membership address, specify your membership address with
        `address=<address>' (no brackets around the email address, and no

- Unprocessed:
    who password 

- Done.

Attached was my original mail to the list.

I'm stumped. I wrote the list from my subscribed address and it replied to me via the bounces address and that's all it said.


-----Original Message-----
From: Brad Knowles [mailto:brad at stop.mail-abuse.org] 
Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2006 1:07 PM
To: rlandman at hlinstruments.com;mailman-users at python.org
Subject: Re: [Mailman-Users] Stupid newbie request

At 11:42 AM -0400 2006-08-27, Bob Landman wrote:

>  I think this is "the" problem.  The writers must have assumed that  
> everyone has access to command line.  I don't as I use a commercial  
> website which hosts Mailman as a service.

Mailman was never intended to be run as a commercial service, or underneath a virtual hosting system, etc....  It was always intended to be a program that you ran for yourself on your own mailing list management server(s), and where you would have full privileged command-line access to the machine in question.

We know that this is not how Mailman is being used today, but you're talking about making fundamental changes at the core of the system, and it's going to take a while to get all these kinds of things updated.

We know that the solutions outlined in the FAQ are not as good as they should be, but they're the best we can do at the moment.

>  Groan - they aren't kidding.  I think that's very telling.  And a 
> very  ugly solution when you have hundreds of subscribers as I do AND 
> when the  list crashes at the website provider (and of course their 
> backup was  corrupted as the script wasn't backing up the Mailman subscriber list).
>  Murphy's Law you know.

Well, Mailman was not intended to be used as a hosted service.  And you should have good backups for everything you do.  If you were using Mailman at a hosting provider that was responsive and doing their job correctly, then even these issues should not have impacted you and your list members.

So, you're paying someone else to use a rented hammer to drive in screws, and they apparently don't know how to properly use a hammer. 
Something has gone wrong, and now you're blaming the hammer manufacturer for your problems.

Do you see something wrong with this picture?

>  Please, won't someone provide this feature?  It's basic to list  
> administration.

We're working on it, but there's a lot more stuff that has to be changed behind the scenes than you realize.  There's some stuff that is higher priority.  And since this is an open-source project, people work on the stuff they like/want/need, and not necessarily what other people like/want/need.

You could help fix that problem by developing and contributing Python code to resolve this matter, or by getting someone else to develop and contribute that for you.  Otherwise, it's an open-source project, and you have to wait for the developers to decide that this is now at the top of their heap.

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

  Founding Individual Sponsor of LOPSA.  See <http://www.lopsa.org/>.

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