[Mailman-Users] Importing data from an external source.

Mark Sapiro msapiro at value.net
Sat Feb 10 00:43:33 CET 2007

Alan Meyer wrote:
>I'm using mailman as the list manager for a club with about
>150 members.  We have an online roster system that members
>use to update their names, addresses, email addresses, and 
>some club specific stuff.  However the roster software (home
>grown stuff that I wrote in Perl) can't do the sophisticated
>mailing service that mailman handles, so we use both programs.
>What I'm hoping for is a way to update the mailman database
>from my online roster.  One approach might be an API call I
>could use to update the mailman database (I could write my
>end in Python if necessary).  Another approach might be an
>import function that allows me to specify a file containing
>names and email addresses to import.

There are command line tools bin/add_members and bin/sync_members.
add_members will add members from a file of (names and) addresses.
sync_members will add and delete members to mage the membership match
a file of (names and) addresses. You may or may not be given access to
use these.

There is a Python API like interface, but you almost certainly won't be
given access to use it.

>I did find a tantalizing hint in the FAQ at 5.1.  It looks
>like if I create a file in mbox format I might be able to
>import it.  It said to place the list as follows:
> archives/private/<list>.mbox/<list>.mbox
>  (where <list> is your list name)
>and then run:
> bin/arch <list> archives/private/<list>.mbox/<list>.mbox
>Will that help me?

No. It is talking only about importing list archives. It has nothing to
do with membership.

>I may not actually be able to do it even if it will because
>I'm using the computer in a hosted environment that provides
>me a Linux user login but it's running mailman under the 
>mailman account using cpanel.  I'd have to convince someone
>to let me do this - which might be possible if it's a secure
>thing to do, but not if it could affect other accounts on the
>I can't find any mailman files in my account tree and I'm 
>assuming they're kept separately somewhere that I can't 
>read much less update.

That's probably correct (that you can't even read them). The host also
probably won't give you access to any of the command line tools since
they can be used installation-wide. Also, see
for the 'standard cPanel disclaimer'.

I suggest you investigate using the web admin Mass subscription and
Mass removal interface to add and remove members. You can send the
appropriate HTTP POST (HTTP GET with the post data works too) using
wget or perhaps tools available Perl or a Python script you might

See the thread beginning at
for more information.

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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