[Mailman-Users] question about strange Mailman glitch

Mark Sapiro msapiro at value.net
Tue Jun 27 03:16:24 CEST 2006

Eric Evans wrote:
>Then, we had an unexpected power outage in our 
>building.  The Sun that was running the Mailman server lost power 
>unexpectedly.  When it came back up, Mailman would no longer send out 
>mail.  All attempts to send mail to mailing lists through Mailman resulted 
>in the sendmail error message "name or service not known" showing up in the 
>smtp error log file.  However I was able to send messages directly through 
>sendmail, so I know that sendmail was working properly.  I talked to a 
>Mailman expert who suggested looking at the my mm_cfg.py file.  The only 
>statement that I had in there was a LOCALHOST statement, with the IP 
>address of the local host, i.e. the Mailman server.

Are you sure you don't mean

SMTPHOST = 'nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn'

rather than

LOCALHOST = 'nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn'

The latter would do nothing because mm_cfg.LOCALHOST is not referenced
in Mailman.

>My correspondent the 
>Mailman expert recommended deleting this statement from the mm_cfg.py, so I 
>did, and then Mailman started working again!  But what's very puzzling is 
>that Mailman was working for us for a long time with this LOCALHOST 
>statement in there, and we didn't have any problems with it.  So why is it 
>that this LOCALHOST statement was not causing a problem for us before the 
>power outage but DID cause a problem after the power outage?  Anyone have 
>any thoughts on this?

There are several possibilities. First, maybe someone added

SMTPHOST = 'nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn'

to mm_cfg.py but never restarted Mailman (bin/mailmanctl restart).
Thus, the outgoing queue runner continued to use the previous setting
(perhaps the default SMTPHOST = 'localhost') until something else (the
power outage and restart) caused it to reload mm_cfg.

Possibly some change was made elswhere in the system that wasn't
effective until the power outage and restart caused that changed
information to finally be read.

If you want to actually do some small tests to find out why 

SMTPHOST = 'nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn'

doesn't work, see
for some debugging techniques.

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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